Local developer plans to take up Cambria flag with proposed downtown hotel

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The Cambria hotel would be located at 850 S. Meridian St. (Image courtesy of Choice Hotels International)

A new Cambria hotel is planned for the south side of downtown Indianapolis, less than one year after a local developer scrapped plans for a hotel near the same location with the same brand.

News of the project comes amidst a veritable blizzard of downtown hotel proposals in the last few months.

Indianapolis-based MWA LLC plans to build a five-story, 148-room Cambria at 850 S. Meridian St., less than one block north of Interstate 70. The project is expected to be finished by 2021.

Announced Tuesday by Maryland-based Choice Hotels International, the project is part of a larger effort by Choice to expand its presence in Midwestern states. The hotel firm, which owns the Cambria brand, also announced a new Cambria would be built in Kansas City, Missouri, by a different developer.

There are about 45 Cambria hotels across the United States. The downtown Cambria will be the third in Indiana, joining hotels with the same flag in Westfield and Noblesville.

Crystal Kent, a project architect with Prince Alexander, which is doing the design work for the new Cambria, said the developer does not plan to seek incentives for the project.

The development site is comprised of several parcels, all of which are owned or controlled by MWA LLC, she said.

Instead, the development will be among the first new projects in the Near Southside tax-increment financing district, the creation of which was approved in July by City-County Council.

The district designation allows the city to utilize tax revenue to fund infrastructure improvements throughout the corridor.

Kent said the project will target business commuters desiring proximity to the many downtown corporate headquarters in Indianapolis, without being near the nightlife around the Convention Center and Monument Circle.

The hotel is expected to offer a variety of amenities, including spa-style bathrooms, on-site dining, a multi-function meeting space and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Kent declined to share the expected development cost for the project.

Local-based Sun Development & Management Corp. abandoned plans to build a $22 million, 11-story Cambria Hotel & Suites along South Meridian Street—about four blocks south of Monument Circle—in November 2018.

That project—announced in 2015—would have added 150 hotel rooms but was scrapped due to the project being “cost-prohibitive.”

The Cambria project is just the latest in a surge in downtown hotel projects announced in the last year and now in various stages of development.

On Sept. 19, the owner of the Morrison Opera Place announced plans to construct a 22-story addition to add as-yet-unbranded hotel rooms and condos to the building as part of $60 million redevelopment project.

Other recently announced projects on the south side of downtown include an Avid hotel at 324 Wilkins St.; an Even Hotel at 808 S. Meridian; and an unnamed hotel in the King Cole Building just a block south of Monument Circle.

King Cole owner Indy Propco LLC joins a crowded bandwagon of developers planning to convert some of downtown’s oldest office buildings into hotels.

Indianapolis-based developer Loftus Robinson recently was given the green light by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission for alterations it has proposed to the former Odd Fellows Building at 1 N. Pennsylvania St., which will be converted into a Kimpton hotel.

Last year, Everwood Hospitality Partners purchased the vacant, 12-story Stock Yards Bank & Trust Building at 136 E. Market St. and announced plans for a 128-room property in Marriott’s millennial-friendly Aloft brand.

And Keystone Realty Group plans to spend $61 million to transform the mostly vacant historic Illinois Building near Monument Circle into the state’s first Intercontinental Hotel.

Kent said that hotel market data shows there’s demand for a brand like Cambria in its neighborhood.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the developer of the hotel project as Midwest GC LLC. The firm is the builder of the project; the developer is MWA LLC.

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8 thoughts on “Local developer plans to take up Cambria flag with proposed downtown hotel

  1. That’s a fine look for a suburban interstate off-ramp by Bob Evans. It would be great at Shadeland and I-70. But near downtown between Greek Islands and Shapiro’s? (Isn’t Shapiro’s owner part of a development team putting a hotel across the street?)

  2. I don’t know, I’m thinking the proposed design is fine for that location. The massing would fit in with the other buildings in the area and the facade appears more urban than what you’ve described and built to the sidewalk.

  3. With this announcement, there appears to be 17 different downtown hotel projects (just over 3,000 rooms) somewhere in the development pipeline and that doesn’t count the 2nd Pan Am Plaza hotel since it seems questionable at this point. While it is encouraging to see development (would prefer better design with the most recent announcement and some of the others), I am not seeing the level of demand that merits this type of increase in supply. Looking through the announcements to date, it would be great if IBJ could provide status updates on the projects that are not yet under construction:
    1. Bottleworks Hotel (143 rooms) – Under construction
    2. Intercontinental Hotel @ the Illinois Building (180 rooms) – Under construction
    3. Signia Hotel @ Pan Am Plaza (800 rooms) – Announced this summer
    4. Aloft Hotel on East Market (128 rooms) – Under construction
    5. Kimpton Hotel @ Washington & Penn (164 rooms) – Under construction
    6. TownePlace Suites on South Illinois across from Lucas Oil (146 rooms) – Under construction
    7. Tru by Hilton on McCarty across from Lucas Oil (148 rooms) – Under construction??
    8. Even Hotel on South Meridian across from Shapiro’s (118 rooms) – Announced this summer
    9. Avid Hotel @ convenience store at Morris & West Streets (104 rooms) – Announced this summer
    10. Tribute by Marriott @ Riley, Bennett & Egloff bldg. at Washington & Delaware (90 rooms) – Announced this summer
    11. Moxy & AC Hotels by White Lodging on South Meridian (206 rooms) – Announced this summer
    12. Hampton & Homewood Suites Hotels on West St. @ Bethel AME Church site (197 rooms) – Under construction
    13. Unnamed hotel in the King Cole Building (?? Rooms) – Announced this summer
    14. Drury Hotel @ old IBJ HQ at Penn & Washington (350 rooms) – Announced in 2017
    15. Tapestry Hotel @ One Jackson Place (110 rooms)- Announced in 2017; still in the works??
    16. Cambria Hotel @ 850 South Meridian (148 rooms) – Announced today
    17. Tow Yard Brewing site hotel (152 rooms) – Announced in 2016; still in the works??

    1. Well, Bruce White of White Lodging and Jim Dora of General Hotels Corp (both owners of multiple downtown properties) fought to prevent the Pan Am Plaza development basing their argument on the market not being able to handle the increase in rooms. But oddly since it was announced Kite would go ahead with the 800 room Signia Hotel portion of the Pan Am project, both White and General have announced new construction of their own downtown.

  4. Yes, know that, thanks. But Convention & Visitors bureau and the city had a study that showed the opposite. Just curious how Randy J knows anything on the demand. Does he own a hotel? Is he in the convention business? I think there’s plenty of demand for new rooms, based on the study the city commissioned.

  5. Don’t and never claimed to own a hotel. Not in the convention business either. Just curious about tax abatement and incentives handed out to developers when there may not be sufficient demand to support the additional supply of rooms. If we add in the second 600 room Pan Am Plaza hotel, the 220 Morrison Opera Place hotel I forgot to mention and the potential of a 200-300 room at the Murat that was reported by the IBJ in the past, that would bring the total additional rooms in the pipeline to around 4,300. The CBD currently has just over 7,100 rooms and has had a steady occupancy rate of around 72-73% annually. That’s a 60% increase in supply in over just three to four years. The study you claim supports all of the rooms in the pipeline assumed 1,400 rooms at Pan Am Plaza and another 1,237 to be built which included the dual Hyatt property that is already open and not in my count. That study also projected a drop in occupancy for a couple of years with the additional 2,600 rooms. How does the market support another 1,700 rooms on top of that? Again, not opposed to development just skeptical of developers that claim the sky is falling and others claiming their development merits TIF financing or abatement when the demand does not appear to support such claims. Where do you get your demand data Michael G?