Carmel hotel project runs into opposition

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An affordable hotel proposed for Carmel has met opposition from neighbors and city officials, sending the developer back to the drawing board.

Yorktown-based Saamrajya LLC had proposed building a 102-room Avid hotel at 13300 N. Illinois St. in Carmel, near the northeast corner of Illinois and Main streets.

Avid hotels are a brand of the InterContinental Hotels Group that launched in 2018 as midscale—not quite luxury but not a budget hotel either. To date, three Avid hotels have opened. Another 50 are planned or under construction.

Saamrajya proposed building a 50,200-square-foot building with space for up to seven commercial tenants on the first floor. But a plan commission hearing in July, a local business owner and neighbors expressed concerns about Saamrajya’s plan. The concerns included increased traffic and decreased property values. A resident of the Spring Mills neighborhood also worried that guests at Avid would use the amenities in the neighborhood, including a pool and trails, because the hotel does not include plans for those amenities.

A few days later, the board of zoning appeals denied a request to allow hotel operations on the first floor. Saamrajya planned to build a lobby, laundry room, exercise room and a grab-and-go breakfast nook on the first floor. The commercial tenants would have occupied the east side of the first floor.

Carmel’s Unified Development Ordinance prohibits general hotels (defined as hotels that don’t offer full-service restaurants and have no conference space) from operating on the first floor in the Meridian Corridor District.

The project had been slated to be discussed further at the Aug. 6 plan commission commercial meeting, but the developer asked for more time to modify plans to comply with Carmel’s Unified Development Ordinance.

The project was then scheduled for a committee hearing Sept. 3, but the developer has asked for another delay. It’s now expected to be heard Oct. 1.

InterContinental Hotels Group representatives and land use professionals at the law firm Nelson and Frankenberger, which is representing Saamrajya, did not return messages from IBJ concerning plans for the project.

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