Bloomington approves $27 million downtown hotel project

The Bloomington City Council has approved giving up some city property for construction of a $27 million Hyatt Hotel near the downtown courthouse square.

Council members voted 8-1 Monday night to vacate an alley in the middle of the project site after a 2-hour-plus discussion of low wages in the hotel industry and whether supporting the project was consistent with Bloomington's "living wage" ordinance.

Jeremy Stephenson, vice president of Indianapolis-based real estate firm REI Real Estate Services LLC, said the hotel operators will pay competitive salaries but won't commit to the city's "living wage" standard of $11.66 an hour, the Herald-Times reported.

Supporters told the council the project will bring needed hotel rooms and visitor revenue to the city.

Stephenson says construction of the 168-room hotel should start next spring and be finished in 2014.

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