Speedway considering legal options for stalled Wilshaw project

The town of Speedway is still considering taking legal action against the developer of the long-stalled Wilshaw hotel project, after the company declined its requests to provide a public update Monday night on the development’s status.

The town’s economic development director, Tim Gropp, told the Speedway Redevelopment Commission during its monthly meeting on Monday that several requests were made to Loftus Robinson to attend the session so the company could share when work on the proposed 126-room hotel at the southeast corner of Main and 16th streets might resume.

But the company declined to attend the meeting or provide a statement that could be read into the public record, he said.

“After multiple requests, Loftus Robinson … opted not to attend this meeting. We are deeply disappointed in this decision,” Gropp told commission members in a written statement. “One of our longstanding issues throughout our engagement with them involves a lack of transparency and communication. Frankly, our town deserves better.”

He said Loftus Robinson’s communication picked up in February, after IBJ reported the town was seriously considering legal action on the Wilshaw—stemming from the company’s failure to complete the development by Jan. 27, the agreed-upon date when the parties signed an economic development agreement in 2017.

Work has been stalled on the site since mid-2019, after the company’s financing plans fell through and left it scrambling to find a partner for the project. The company in May 2020 placed blame for delays on the coronavirus pandemic—a claim the town flatly rejected.

Loftus ultimately signed a partnership deal with local firm MHG Hotels LLC and had been working with the town to renegotiate the development agreement to rectify the situation.

Gropp said Loftus is in the process of finalizing new financing for the Wilshaw, and that the town requested additional information from the firm, including a new construction timeline based on the financing’s closing date.

Gropp indicated legal action could be taken on the matter if the situation is not resolved soon.

A lawsuit or other legal remedy “has always been an option for us,” he said. “However, we recognize that litigation is costly to the town and simply doesn’t move the project forward. We feel there is a better path forward currently. Yet, we have not ruled out resolving this issue in court if necessary.”

Loftus Robinson principal Drew Loftus did not return an email Monday night requesting comment about the status of the project and why the firm opted not to attend the meeting.

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13 thoughts on “Speedway considering legal options for stalled Wilshaw project

  1. I never saw the investment strategy for a hotel in that location. Speedway is becoming a wonderful neighborhood but there’s literally no demand in that location unless there’s a big race going on. It wasn’t surprising to me as a real estate investor the funding dried up. I do hope they finish the project though. It looks terrible from the street and it’s piling on costs to the project I’m sure.

    1. I think the hotel would actually generate a lot of business. Proximity to Downtown is the biggest factor in my opinion, but the Speedway also attracts tourists for the museum and golf course.

    2. Don’t you know Murray that Wesley is from California so that automatically makes him an expert on everything in Indiana.

  2. As a business owner on Main Street we were excited to have this project started and completed. We thought it would be a great addition to the redeveloped portion of Speedway. Have been witness to the eye sore for too long. Get this project started or reconfigure something else. Three years sitting idle has been frustrating to say the least.

    1. Chris, hopefully it’s finished into apartments. Like previous comments mentioned that’s the easiest and best use for the structure at this point. Speedway is fun! I hope business is great for you!

  3. Loftus Robinson will never perform. They have mountains of debt to contractors and think they can ignore and it will all disappear. They are a very shady group.