Drury plans to demolish Caribbean Cove hotel/water park, build new inn

Caribbean Cove
The Caribbean Cove was demolished in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Google)

The Drury Hotels hospitality chain has purchased the abandoned Caribbean Cove water park and hotel near the intersection of Michigan Road and Interstate 465 and has proposed building a seven-story inn in its place.

Drury says it intends to invest $13 million in demolishing the mammoth Caribbean Cove development and building the new hotel, which would contain 180 rooms.

Caribbean Cove Hotel & Conference Center at 3850 DePauw Blvd. shut its doors on Oct. 29, 2017. Drury Development Corp., the development arm of the Drury hotel chain, bought the 10-acre property in January for $4.7 million, according to Marion County Assessor’s records.

Drury Development Corp. has requested a nine-year property tax abatement from the city of Indianapolis on its $13 million demolish-and-build project. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission will consider the request at its meeting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

The new hotel would be finished by 2022, according to Drury’s application with the city. The hotel would create 30 jobs that pay an average wage of $13.22 per hour.

For the last 30 years, Drury has operated the Drury Inn Indianapolis Northwest across the street at 9320 N. Michigan Road. If the project on the former Caribbean Cove property proceeds, Drury plans to spend an additional $400,000 to renovate the older hotel and rebrand it under its Pear Tree Inn flag.

City planning staffers have recommended approval of the tax abatement for the new hotel. The Pear Tree Inn project would not be subject to the abatement.

A Drury representative did not immediately return a call from IBJ on Monday afternoon seeking more details. Founded in 1973, St. Louis-based Drury Hotels is a family-owned chain with more than 150 hotels in 25 states.

Under the terms of the tax abatement for the new hotel, Drury would save about $2.8 million in property taxes over nine years. During that period, it still would pay $2.3 million in property taxes. After the abatement period ends, Drury would pay about $531,000 per year in taxes on the hotel and land.

Drury also has told the city that it intends to develop up to three retail or office outlot buildings on the site, according to filings. City planning staff has recommended that the abatement only cover the portion of the development associated with the hotel.

An entity of Houston-based Allied Hospitality Inc. in September 2011 bought Caribbean Cove from locally based General Hotels Corp. County assessor records show Allied paid $3.4 million for the property.

General Hotels added the 50,000-square-foot water park in 2004 to boost weekend occupancy. But the company said upon the sale in 2011 that business had slipped over the years after other water parks opened in French Lick and Shipshewana, as well as in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

Upon buying the hotel in 2011, Allied said it was “considering options with respect to rebranding and renovating the property.” But the large water park, the main draw for the hotel, ceased operations several months before the whole hotel closed in October.

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