Shuttered Valpo hotel has big improvements in mind
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent July 29, 2012 4:58PM
The new owners of this hotel along US 30 in Valparaiso hope to use a planned facade grant for improvements to the now shuttered business. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 31, 2012 6:09AM
VALPARAISO — Although the city hasn’t finalized the expansion of its Tax Increment Financing districts to U.S. 30 and Indiana 130, the possibilities for help improving the area have the attention of one developer.
Rohit Patel of Munster hopes to use the planned façade grants to help with his improvements of the hotel at 760 U.S. 30, near Applebee’s.
Patel has owned the now-closed hotel since late November and wants to put $1.6 million into it to improve it.
“We saw the opportunity with the hotel,” said Patel, who also has interests in other hotels in Northwest Indiana. “We’re going to try and finish the hotel as a boutique. We’re not just going to paint it and put in new furniture.”
A boutique hotel usually has no pool, a more home-like décor and a common table area in the lobby for breakfast, computer and socializing, Patel said.
The planned improvements will be in the $1.3 million range, about $150,000 going towards exterior improvements such as landscaping and a brick veneer finish on the building, which he thinks will give it a better appearance.
The inside improvements will give it an upscale feel, Patel said.
When the city passes a façade improvement program, the hotel owners could receive reimbursement for half the cost of outside building improvements, up to $25,000, the same as the façade improvement program in the historic downtown.
Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission Director Stu Summers said before the grant program takes place, the Redevelopment Commission must pass a resolution for the TIF district expansions, which it plans to at its Aug. 8 meeting.
The City Council approved the expansions on July 22.
Patel’s application will come before the commission Aug. 8, too, along with a resolution to create the façade grant program.
Summers said the city has planned to extend the districts for a while as part of the $22.5 million partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation to improve U.S. 30.
“We’d like to compliment that project to promote private investment with that, to improve the appearance as well as the tax base of the corridor,” Summers said.
Patel has worked with Valparaiso’s Economic Development Director Matt Murphy since spring on possible improvements.
“The hotel needs some work, so we’re excited about that,” Murphy said.