First hotel in downtown Marriott complex to open doors

The first of four hotels completed as part of the $450 million Marriott Place project in downtown Indianapolis is scheduled to open Wednesday.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites on West Washington Street features 168 rooms, including 34 suites, as well as the return of a TGI Friday’s restaurant, which will be the chain’s largest. The eatery underwent an extensive remodeling after closing in May 2008.

The 1,600-room Marriott Place includes the flagship J.W. Marriott that is expected to be finished in February 2011. Construction of the 1,005-room anchor was essential to the city’s winning bid to host the 2012 Super Bowl.
Two more hotels that are part of the complex, a Courtyard by Marriott and a SpringHill Suites, both are slated to open late this month.

Among the first guests to stay at the Fairfield will be a group of retired Indianapolis firefighters whom the city is honoring.

“We’re thrilled to be opening for business and welcoming guests into our hotel, and we are particularly happy that we can use this occasion to honor such a deserving group and their families, who’ve given so much to Indianapolis,” Kim Meyerholtz, Fairfield general manager, said in a prepared statement.

Indianapolis-based Wilhelm Construction Co. Inc. served as general contractor on the Fairfield and TGI Friday’s projects.

Merrillville-based White Lodging and locally based REI Investments are developing Marriott Place.

Altogether, downtown Indianapolis boasts more than 5,500 hotel rooms. Adding the 1,600 Marriott Place rooms will increase the total number of rooms by almost 30 percent.

The additional rooms will assist the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association’s efforts to attract more meetings to the Indiana Convention Center. It is undergoing an expansion that should be completed in February 2011.

The $275 million expansion adds 420,000 square feet of space. Including Lucas Oil Stadium, the complex will have 1.2 million square feet of convention space, 65 percent more than it had in the convention center and RCA Dome. That will make the city the 16th largest in the country in terms of convention space, an improvement from 32nd.

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