Canterbury still hosting celebrities after 28 years

February 1, 2012
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Canterbury John GipsonDowntown was practically a ghost town when John Gipson began as a doorman at the Canterbury Hotel 27 years ago. The Mile Square had just a handful of hotels with fewer than 1,000 total rooms, no shopping mall and zero nightlife.

For years after the Canterbury opened in 1984 in a hotel building that had been vacant 15 years, anyone who was anyone visiting Indianapolis would stay there. Not that there were other options.

And as much as Indianapolis has changed—there are now more than 7,000 hotel rooms downtown including newer luxury rooms at the Conrad Indianapolis and JW Marriott—plenty of celebrities still stay at the 12-story hotel built in 1928 and once known as the Lockerbie.

Among its guests for the Super Bowl week: Alec Baldwin, Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood.

When he was a younger man, Gipson said he "never dreamed" Indianapolis would host a Super Bowl.

Now 73 and a front-row witness to a city's transformation, Gipson was feeling a bit more confident on Wednesday as he watched the action from his post at the entrance to the 99-room hotel on Illinois Street.

"I predict we'll get many more Super Bowls here," he said.

  • Thank You
    Grateful that the late F.C. "Bud" Tucker and his partners had the vision to rescue this property from the wrecking ball when there were many reasons to look the other way in the mid-1980s.
  • What about Turner Woodard
    And let's not forget that Turner Woodard had the imagination and financial ability to take this gem to the next level. When he boldly stepped upt and invested what was required to bring the hotel back (again) he made the above "star power" possible. If left in its previous state the Canterbury's future may have been doubtful. Thank you Turner.

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.