New 104-room hotel planned for Old Southside neighborhood

A new hotel planned for the Old Southside neighborhood would be managed by Fishers-based Dora Hospitality and bring a new, fast-growing midscale hospitality brand to Indianapolis.

Local investment group Kaur Properties LLC plans to spend $9 million to $10 million to construct a four-story Avid hotel at 324 Wilkins St., east of South Senate Avenue and just south of the Interstate 70 on-ramp from South Missouri Street. Plans for the 104-room hotel are expected to go before a city board for preliminary approvals next month.

The development would be part of a larger area known as the Kaur Hotel Complex, which includes a new convenience store and Marathon gas station recently built on 1.8 acres directly south of the hotel site, where Emrich Furniture once stood. Kaur is led by Indianapolis business owner Jay Singh.

“The owners see the same opportunity on this side of town” as there was for redevelopment in Fountain Square several years ago, said Ray Basile, a Shelbyville attorney representing Kaur Properties. “With Lucas Oil Stadium right there, it’s a natural attraction for traffic, for people looking for hotels and for people looking for restaurants—it just made sense.”

The proposed 59,320-square-foot hotel would be built on 1.3 acres. Preliminary site plans call for about 75 parking spaces. The neighboring parcel, which is expected to feature a restaurant, would have about 50 to 75 parking spots of its own.

The Avid is an Intercontinental Hotels Group flag started in 2017. It has about a dozen hotels around the United States—many in cities much smaller than Indianapolis. IHG said this week that more than 200 Avid properties are in the pipeline, with at least 60 of those already under construction or approved for construction. In the Indianapolis area, another Avid has been proposed in Carmel.

The chain targets price-conscious leisure and business travelers with modern, minimalist designs, large open communal spaces, free grab-and-go breakfasts. It emphasize technology offerings like 55-inch televisions in each room and industry-leading Wi-Fi service.

Avid room rates range from about $125 to $15o per night in larger cities.

The hotel is expected to be designed in a way that it will “blend in and harmonize” with the convenience store and gas station, according to city filings.

The property is expected to be managed by Dora Hospitality, which manages about 20 IHG and Hilton-brand properties in Indianapolis and around the Midwest.

The Avid is the fourth downtown hotel project to be announced in a two-month span, joining the Moxy/AC Hotel planned for the 100 block of South Meridian Street, an overhaul of the King Cole Building at Meridian and Washington streets, and a six-story hotel planned by Dora and Shapiro on South Meridian.

Several other downtown hotels are also in the works, including the Tru by Hilton, a new Kimpton Hotel at 1 North Pennsylvania St., and the long-lingering Drury project at the former IBJ building along East Washington Street.

Basile said the ownership group believes there “absolutely is a market for this hotel in Indianapolis based on reasonable growth projections.”

Though it sits less than half-a-mile from Lucas Oil Stadium, the hotel would be separated from the rest of downtown by I-70, just a few hundred feet to the north.

The hotel project is expected to be heard by the Metropolitan Development Commission Hearing Examiner on Oct. 10, after the Stadium Village Business Association filed an automatic continuance last week to bump the item from the examiner’s Sept. 12 agenda.

The ownership group is requesting a zoning change that allows the property to support mixed-use developments.

A representative with the SVBA did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Despite the continuance, Baslie said Kaur is confident it will receive support from the SVBA and the Old Southside Neighborhood Association.

“The owners believe that not only will it help satisfy the need for more available hotel rooms, particularly during peak times, but it will obviously also create many jobs and help further the great work being done by the local business and neighborhood associations to re-energize this part of Indianapolis,” he said an email to IBJ.

Kaur plans to secure a tenant for the restaurant space by the end of the year, and pending city approvals, the hotel project is expected to break ground by mid-2020. The Avid is expected to open by late 2021.

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