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Council OKs $625M in bonds to build 800-room downtown hotel

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis council members on Monday night approved a measure to authorize the city to borrow up to $625 million in bonds to pay for an 800-room, four-star hotel on Pan American Plaza, across the street from the Indiana Convention Center.

Officials had announced in May that the city government would assume responsibility for funding the $510 million Signia Hotel construction that was originally supposed to be privately funded by the Kite Realty Group. Kite had told Indianapolis government leaders it could not secure financing in the private sector.

As News 8 has reported, city leaders believe they can borrow money on the bond market at lower rates, so they decided to take over the financing of the project. Profits from owning the hotel will go to paying off the borrowed money.

News 8’s Garrett Bergquist in May reported the Downtown Hotel Owners Coalition sent the council and Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett a letter asking them to pause work on the bond proposal until third-party experts can review the proposed hotel’s financial viability. In the letter, obtained by News 8, the coalition members wrote that the private market already has concluded the hotel is not feasible.

Hogsett, in a statement issued after Monday night’s vote, said the approval will help protect and expand 83,000 hospitality jobs, and increase tourism business.

Republicans on the council also issued a statement, condemning the quickness with which the approval was gained and the lack of transparency in the process.

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Renderings of future hotels at Pan Am Plaza. (Provided Image/Hilton)