The Holiday Inn
Express at the southwest corner of Indian Boundary Road and Ind. 49 isn’t
likely ever to get past the slab stage.
At the Chesterton
Town Council’s meeting Monday night, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that
the owner of the Holiday Inn Express franchise has canceled its contract
with the developer of the project, Cosmos Hospitality Service LLC.
O’Dell told the
Chesterton Tribune after the meeting that he didn’t know why the
franchise owner canceled the contract. “I’m not sure what the issues were,”
O’Dell said. He did note, however, that Cosmos’ building permit will expire
Ground was broken
on the hotel and a foundation poured late in 2015, four years after Cosmos
first appeared before the Advisory Plan Commission seeking an amendment of
the planned unit development ordinance governing the property, located south
of the Walgreen’s pharmacy. That amendment was granted, a building permit
was issued for an 80-room hotel, and Cosmos duly filed a stormwater
pollution prevention plan. But then nothing happened.
delay--the four years between the issuance of a building permit and the
breaking of ground--Town MS4 Operator Jennifer Gadzala attributed at the
time not to the economy but to the way the franchise owner, Intercontinental
Hotel Group (IHG), does business. For the sake of brand uniformity and
recognizability, Gadzala explained in 2015, IHG sets a franchise-wide design
standard. That look, however, has a lifetime of only 10 to 15 years, at the
end of which IHG sells the existing Holiday Inn Express hotels. Cosmos, she
said, was merely waiting for IHG to release the new design standard so as
not to fall under the old dispensation.
But O’Dell was at a
loss to explain why Cosmos stopped work on the hotel after breaking ground
in 2015. Other hotel franchises have since looked at the foundation but it’s
unlikely any would be willing to build on it as-is, since every franchise
has its own very specific design standards.
“It looks like it’s
just going to be an empty slab,” O’Dell said, noting that it’s private
property and that the foundation doesn’t violate Town Code.
“That slab is
something that somebody ought to pay to remove,” suggested Council President
Jim Ton, R-1st. “But not us.”
Fourth Street RR
In other business,
Town Manager Bernie Doyle reported that he will soon be reaching out to
Norfolk Southern about the condition of the Fourth Street grade-crossing.
It’s getting “pretty bad,” he said, like a wash board, as motorists hit the
has re-conditioned several of the grade-crossings in town in recent years,
including the Eighth Street trackage last year, and Doyle said that he’s
hopeful the railroad will turn its attention to Fourth Street this year.
Drainage Problem on
Doyle also reported
that he’s reached out to the Indiana Department of Transportation about the
drainage problem at the southwest corner of Ind. 49 and East Porter Ave.
Heavy rains tend to leave that piece of property flooded, which at a minimum
Doyle doesn’t know
what’s causing runoff to pool there, nor does he know how it would be
remedied, but he has asked INDOT to take a look at the problem. “But I don’t
know what will come of it,” he said.
voted unanimously to renew the town’s contract with the Coffee Creek Farmers
Market, which debuted last year on the east side of Village Point in Coffee
Creek Center, adjacent to the Phillips Pond water feature.
provides for a three-week extension of last year’s run, the not-for-profit
market’s organizer, Damian Appel told the council. The plan now is for the
market to run into the third week of October, late every Wednesday
Staff did express a
concern, namely, that at some point during the season the Lake Erie Land
Company is going to be removing Village Point’s brick-pavers and replacing
them with an asphalted road surface.
Appel said in
response that he’s aware of the project and has received permission from the
Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve to re-locate the market--for as long as
Village Point is being paved--to the parking lot on the south side of
Sidewalk Road, just across the street from the former Serenity Salon & Spa.
the new contract pending legal review.