Westfield gateway development to include four-story hotel

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A proposed development on the southwest corner of U.S. 31 and State Road 32 in Westfield could include a four-story hotel and several other commercial buildings.

Westfield Community Investors LLC, led by Randy Zents and Birch Dalton, has big plans for the 7.1-acre site. The property is being sold by Waitt Elevator Co. Inc., which has moved its headquarters to Sheridan.

The land is included in Westfield's planned "Grand Junction" area, which is considered the gateway into Westfield. A master plan for Grand Junction calls for hotels, conference centers, apartments and office buildings, with the rooftops being taller than the elevated U.S. 31.

The developer hopes the project, dubbed “Gateway Southwest,” will attract a medical office, a free-standing restaurant and two retail buildings in addition to the hotel.

The most recent assessment values the property at $276,000, according to Hamilton County records.

Initially, the developer's proposal called for a three-story hotel, but city officials are pushing for a taller building, preferably five stories. The developer cited concerns about being unable to secure an operator for a hotel that size, but agreed to a minimum height of four stories along the highway.

The other buildings could be as small as one-story, 7,000-square-foot structures. The hotel will be closest to U.S. 31, with the four other buildings surrounding it. Outdoor space such as plazas and courtyards, with public art, are also encouraged by the master plan.

Nurseries, mortuaries, religious institutions, garden and lawn centers, outdoor theaters, civic clubs, private clubs and fast-food restaurants (unless part of a mixed-use building) are prohibited from the development. Fast-casual restaurants, which are described as more upscale than fast-food restaurants, without drive-through service, would be allowed.

The Westfield Plan Commission gave the project a favorable recommendation earlier this month, and the Westfield City Council could take a final vote Monday night.

Dalton told the Plan Commission he expects the hotel project to be the first part of the development to move forward. Restaurants should follow.

“I think it’s a pretty good product,” Dalton said at the July 6 Plan Commission meeting.

Dalton and Zentz are also leading the $40 million mixed-use development called "The Junction" on the northeast corner of U.S. 31 and S.R. 32. The project could include a medical office building, family entertainment center and a hotel, in addition to retail . The land previously housed Westfield High School's football and junior varsity baseball fields.

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