|By Tom Spalding and Carrie Ritchie, The
Indianapolis StarMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
July 28, 2010 --The $2 million revamping of a value-priced hotel on the east edge of Downtown is just what Indianapolis needs as it prepares to welcome guests for the 2012 Super Bowl, local tourism experts said Tuesday.
La Quinta Inn & Suites, 401 E. Washington St., opened Friday after being closed about six months. Indianapolis has about a half-dozen of the chain's hotels.
Indianapolis-based RAM Lodging owns the 97-room hotel adjacent to the Indianapolis Heliport. It bought the former Days Inn several years ago, and its upgrade had been delayed. A perk in the new rooms are 32-inch flat-screen TVs.
"Our motivation was, let's give people Downtown a property that is affordable but classy," said Nash Patel, CEO for the Carmel-based Ascent Hospitality property management business.
"We have renovated every aspect of the hotel," Amit Patel, a part-owner who is not related to Nash, said by phone. "The entire rooms, all the bathrooms, have been renovated. Everything is brand new."
Room rates will average less than $100 a night, lower than the city's average of $128.31.
The new La Quinta is one of 37 Downtown hotels offering a combined 5,600 rooms. Leaders have been hoping for catalysts such as the La Quinta to spur development east of Downtown since a new I-65/I-70 interchange was installed nearby, said Jennifer Hanson of Indianapolis Downtown Inc.
"As we get closer to the Super Bowl 2012, it's important to have that hotel open," said Chris Gaul, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association spokesman.
By the time the Super Bowl arrives and the Indiana Convention Center doubles in size, Downtown hotels will have spent more than $70 million on improvements, in part to compete with the 1,005-room JW Marriott, which will open next year.
While the La Quinta opened Friday, a suburban Holiday Inn is set to go up for auction next month.
Owners blamed the economy. They said the 78-room Fishers hotel on the northeast corner of I-69's 96th Street exit remains viable but requires about $2 million in renovations to keep its franchise agreement. Regions Bank, the hotel's current lender, wouldn't finance those improvements, said Tim Dora of Dora Hotel Co., which has owned the hotel since it was built in 1994.
"That's a sign of the times," Dora said. "In normal circumstances, we could've gotten this done relatively easily."
The hotel is worth at least $3 million, said Dan Kincaid of Kincaid Developers, which owns the building with Dora Hotel.
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