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White Lodging Only Firm to Submit Proposal to City of Fort Wayne, Indiana
 for Hotel Within $160 million Downtown Public/Private Development

By Ryan Lengerich, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind.McClatchy-Tribune Business News

Feb. 20, 2007 - The city has let more information about a downtown hotel proposal trickle out to the public, though full details will not be released for weeks.

White Lodging Services Corp. of Merrillville, along with Acquest Realty Advisors Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., submitted the only proposal for a third downtown hotel. The Marriott-branded hotel is a key component in Harrison Square, a $160 million public and private development that includes a $30 million baseball stadium.

Today, the city released the following specifics of the hotel proposal:

-- $47 million development

-- Eleven-story, 250-room hotel tower

-- Two 1,000-square-foot meeting rooms

-- 4,200-square-foot signature restaurant and bar for hotel patrons and residents

--1,200-square-foot specialty coffee shop

-- Outdoor pool, year-round spa and fitness center

Greg Leatherman, deputy director of community development, said the city will enter into negotiations with the two companies in the next four to six weeks. The full proposal may not be made public until those negotiations have concluded.

The city sent requests for proposals to five developers nationwide, but only one responded. At least one developer decided not to submit a proposal because it deemed the $6 million in Community Revitalization Enhancement District funds the state allocated for the project insufficient.

Leatherman said having only one submission does not leave the city without any leverage during negotiations. If White Lodging and Acquest are not flexible during the discussions with city officials, the city could terminate the negotiation and begin the search for a developer again. But Leatherman said he does not expect that to happen.

"We really don't have our hands tied to the point it looks like to some people," Leatherman said.

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Copyright (c) 2007, The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Ind.

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