Indianapolis International Airport seeks to add ‘first class’ terminal hotel

The Indianapolis Airport Authority is considering adding a full-service hotel near the airport’s passenger terminal and is gauging interest from developers.

Responses to a request for expression of interest, which was issued on March 30, are due June 28.

The request document says that a nationally branded or independent first-class hotel that connects to the existing terminal would enhance the airport’s services and would feature an upscale restaurant and meeting space.

“The Airport Hotel design shall be modern, sophisticated and comfortable, with high-end finishes to provide an attractive, welcoming presentation to corporate and leisure guests who expect high-quality accommodations,” the document states.

In the document, the authority notes that the number of visitors to the city has increased from 21.7 million in 2005 to 28.6 million in 2016.

Moreover, the airport continues to break passenger records, bolstering expectations that the market could support an an airport hotel, according to the document. In 2017, the airport served a record 8.7 million passengers.

The authority previously sought a hotel, but the Great Recession scuttled its plans.

In 2007, a year before the new, $1.1 billion terminal opened, the authority tapped Mansur Real Estate Services Inc. to develop a $50 million, 250-room Westin hotel. Also presenting proposals at the time were Merrillville-based White Lodging Corp., which wanted to build a Marriott, and Indianapolis-based KMI Realty Advisors Inc., which pitched a Hilton.

The hotel was supposed to open in 2009. But after lodging vacancies and tight credit markets caused upheaval in the hotel industry, construction never began.

The project also was delayed when Greg Ballard unseated Mayor Bart Peterson and installed a new regime to oversee the authority in early 2008.

The authority has more momentum behind it now to seek proposals for a hotel.

IT consulting giant Infosys Ltd. is scheduled Thursday to announce plans to build a corporate campus on the 125-acre old terminal site that's expected to employ about 3,000 people—1,000 more than the company originally said it would employ in Indianapolis.

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