Dora, Lauth propose hotel, office building on North Meridian corridor

Dora Hospitality Group is eyeing the U.S. 31 corridor in Carmel as the site for one of the first Tru by Hilton hotels in the central Indiana market.

The Fishers-based hotel developer and manager, in partnership with Carmel-based developer Lauth Group, has filed plans to redevelop a 4-acre site at 12166 N. Meridian St. Site plans include the five-story hotel, a three-story office building and a parking garage.

The property sits immediately north of the Ritz Charles hospitality venue at 12156 N. Meridian St., between Illinois Street and Frontage Road on the west side of U.S. 31.

The site, known as the ADT/Backer lot, has been considered for similar proposals before, including one that featured just a hotel. City officials rejected the proposal, saying they wanted to see the site developed for multiple uses.

Now, Dora and Lauth have proposed building the hotel as well as a Class A office building.

The proposed office building would be 60,000 square feet and constructed on the north side of the site, while the Tru by Hilton hotel would be 55,000 square feet with 127 guest rooms and built directly north of the Ritz Charles on the south end of the lot, plans shows. The parking garage would have 352 spaces and be built on the west side of the property.

The only other Tru by Hilton hotel in Indiana is expected to open in Fort Wayne on July 19. Dora is also the developer on that project.

Another Tru by Hilton project has been proposed by a partnership involving Prince/Alexander Architects Inc. on the south side of downtown, not far from Lucas Oil Stadium. It is in early planning stages.

Hilton rolled out the affordable Tru brand in 2016 to compete against Comfort Inn and La Quinta, with average nightly rates in the $90 to $100 range. More than 50 Tru hotels have already opened.

Keeping the Ritz Charles event center in mind, the developers have asked for a development standards variance from Carmel’s Board of Zoning Appeals to scrap conference space required by the site’s zoning district from their plans.

Hotels built along the corridor are required to be full-service hotels and include 40 square feet of conference space for every guest room.

“This development is not desiring to compete with, nor detract from, the existing Ritz Charles business,” the developer wrote in documents filed with Carmel.

The board approved the request this week with an understanding that the current site plans are not set in stone.

The city has asked the developer to include townhouses in the project, and discussions are ongoing.

Dora, a third-generation family business that dates to 1958, manages or owns 21 hotels under multiple brands in Indiana, Illinois, Montana, North Dakota and Ohio, including nine in the Indianapolis area.

Lauth is a 40-year-old real estate firm that offers development, construction, property-management and acquisition services.

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