White Lodging drops $356M Indiana project after incentives nixed

A hotel developer has dropped plans for a $356 million project near one of northwestern Indiana’s busiest highway interchanges after local officials balked at the company’s incentives request.

Merrillville-based White Lodging pitched its plan last year for a complex including an event center, four hotels, an office building, condos, restaurants, a craft brewery and a 30,000-square-foot horse-riding arena at U.S. 30 and Interstate 65. That came months after the company demolished the Star Plaza Theatre, a hotel and office buildings it had at the site.

White Lodging spokesman Mike Banas told The Times of Northwest Indiana that the company, which was founded by the late billionaire Dean White, doesn’t have other development plans there and is open to selling the 40-acre site.

The project had stalled since November 2018 when the Lake County Council balked at a requested $75 million incentive that would have been paid for with a new 1% food and beverage tax in the county.

Merrillville council member Shawn Pettit said he had hoped the White family would continue with the project after the town approved a tax-increment financing district that could have contributed up to $105 million over 15 years.

White Lodging owns or operates dozens of hotels, including at least seven in the Indianapolis area.

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3 thoughts on “White Lodging drops $356M Indiana project after incentives nixed

  1. This is an old story. It was not “incentives”. The White family offered to put approx $200 million into a new project as a “family legacy”. The town of Merrillville asked them to build a convention center on the site as well. White Lodging said yes, but “you are paying for it”. The County refused. This all happened last Summer.

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