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REI Real Estate Services Building a 136 Hilton
 Garden Inn in Downtown Bloomington, Indiana

By Sarah Morin, Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News

Jun. 8, 2004 - The hotel name has changed, but developers say plans for a downtown Bloomington hotel and restaurant are still on target.

Construction of a Hilton Garden Inn at the southwest corner of Seventh and College is expected to start this fall.

The goal is to have the hotel open in fall 2005.

"We're moving full speed ahead," said Michael Wells, president of REI Real Estate Services of Carmel.

Wells told the city's redevelopment commission Monday that Hilton should soon grant REI a franchise agreement.

The five-story hotel will have 136 rooms, a 5,000-square-foot restaurant and a 3,000-square-foot meeting room that opens onto a landscape courtyard.

In December, REI announced plans to build a 110-suite Residence Inn by Marriott at the same location. There were some concerns, however, about having another Marriott in Bloomington, Wells said. A Courtyard by Marriott is a few blocks south of the downtown site.

Before the Marriott plan, Holiday Inn had also showed interest in the location. While Holiday Inn officials had signed a letter of intent, they instead went with a location off Ind. 37.

Since last year's demolition of the old Regester Garage, the highly visible corner has sat vacant behind fencing.

David Ferguson, project leader of Regester Place, said he's happy that a Hilton brand is coming to Bloomington.

"I'm quite pleased; we had actually hoped it would be Hilton," said Ferguson, who has given Hilton representatives a tour of the site.

The hotel is the third and final portion of the Regester Place project, which is already home to apartments and a parking garage.

Ferguson said overnight hotel guests will have access to the garage's parking spaces.

The Hilton Garden Inn is a full-service mid-price hotel chain. All the hotels feature a fitness center, swimming pool and 24-hour convenience mart.

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