Two new hotels in works in Bloomington, Ind.

Oct. 8--Two new extended-stay hotels are on the planning list for Bloomington. The city plan commission recently got two proposals: the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel at 2310 W. Third St., and Candlewood Suites at 501 N. College Ave.

Developers of both say there's a lack of hotel options for travelers who need rooms for more than a day or two. Those customers are "under-served in the marketplace," Heather Soule, Choice Hotels spokeswoman, said Tuesday. Choice Hotels owns the Suburban brand. She said of the extended-stay model, the longer a customer stays, the lower the per-night rate drops. In addition, franchise owners benefit from having more rooms occupied for greater amounts of time.

"Definitely, people are noticing the value of these," she said.

The Suburban Extended Stay Hotel is designed to have 109 rooms and to sit on 5.27 acres off Third Street and Johnson Avenue. Mark Prince of the Wellbourne Co., a Greenwood development firm involved in the project, says the hotel will cater primarily to business travelers.

"We like the market. Bloomington continues to be a prosperous area in this state," he said Tuesday. The growth of Bloomington businesses and Indiana University was one of the factors for bringing the hotel to town, he said.

The hotel will be four stories tall, he said. Another investor involved in the venture already owns the land. Existing structures on the property will be demolished, he said.

The city plan commission gave its approval to the hotel's site plans Monday.

According to Soule, all the rooms will have kitchenettes, cookware and utensils. There are currently 57 Suburban Extended Stay Hotels in operation and 42 under development, she said.

Peter Dvorak of Pinnacle Properties is heading up the Candlewood Suites project. According to him, the "demand drivers" for an extended-stay hotel -- hospitals, universities and government -- all are close to the lot at 501 N. College Ave. "We felt it was a good fit for that site," he said.

Dvorak is also the developer for the Hotel Indigo, to be built along College Avenue across from the convention center. He remains optimistic about these projects despite the problems with the economy.

The 100-room Candlewood Suites will be built on the former College Motor Inn location. In addition, a 4,800-square-foot retail and restaurant space will be built just behind the hotel in the area formerly occupied by Uncle Elizabeth's nightclub.

According to the Candlewood Suites Web site, each room will have a full kitchen and utensils.

The hotel's exterior design will be different from others of its type. Dvorak says the plans are perhaps "the most significant deviation" from basic plans provided by franchiser InterContinental Hotels Group. The exterior, he says, will be brick and limestone and the building height will be scaled to fit in with nearby buildings. Most of the building's parking will be underground.

The city plan commission considered the Candlewood plans at its meeting Monday, but chose to push a final vote on approving the site plans to Nov. 10.

"We're all working on just finalizing the last modifications to the plan," said Tom Micuda, city planning department director. Minor modifications to the building's height and to the design of a wall in a parking area are being made, he said. In addition, the vote was moved to allow commission members more input on the layout and design.

Dvorak is planning for a spring groundbreaking.

HOTEL INDIGO: The Hotel Indigo, an Intercontinental Hotels brand property being developed by Bloomington's Peter Dvorak, has hit a snag.

Demolition of older buildings (Bloomington Tire and Lee's Karate) at the hotel's site at 301 S. College Ave. was completed over the summer, but construction has not started. According to Dvorak, they are waiting for the hotel to receive approval from the state for a Community Revitalization Enhancement District tax credit. The determination is "a significant component to the financing of the hotel," he said. They have already secured a financing commitment from a private bank.

If the hotel is approved this month, Dvorak says construction will start in November.

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