- After nearly a decade of planning, a pandemic and financial issues, the city of Indianapolis and Indianapolis-based AECOM Hunt broke ground on a $625 million hotel and convention center project last month, according to a press release from the Indiana Convention Center Authority shared with Construction Dive.
- The redevelopment of the existing Pan Am Plaza, near Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, will feature new event space and a 40-story, 800-room Signia by Hilton hotel, according to the release.
- This expansion has had its share of obstacles. Indianapolis-based Kite Realty, the original developer of the project, told the city council earlier this year that it was unable to secure funding for the project, WFYI reported in May. Following the news, council members enacted a plan to purchase the land and operate the hotel.
The ICC expansion includes the construction of what it claims will be one of the top 10 convention center ballrooms by size in the U.S., and the additional event space needed to host two citywide conventions at one time, according to the release.
A skywalk over Capitol Avenue will connect the expansion to the existing convention center, according to the release. Indianapolis-based design firm Ratio Design and Gary, Indiana-based Powers & Sons Construction are also involved with the project.
While foundation work began last year, the groundbreaking last month marked the official start of the construction phase. Officials estimate that the project will create more than 2,500 construction jobs, and will be complete in summer 2026, per the release.
Andy Mallon, executive director of the Capitol Improvement Board of Managers, a local economic development group, noted how the city stuck by the project, even through the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent uncertainty through the hotel, convention and tourism industry.
“The city and CIB stayed committed to transformational projects like this one when the pandemic and financial uncertainty made other cities cautious. As a result, we are already ahead of the national curve when it comes to our industry’s recovery. I am confident of the need for this project and equally confident of its success,” Mallon said in the release.
The Indianapolis City-County Council passed legislation in June authorizing $625 million in city-backed bonds to fund the construction of the project, according to the Indianapolis Star.
AECOM Hunt has been busy over the past year on the convention center front. In May, Hunt and Las Vegas-based Penta Building Group broke ground on the Las Vegas Convention Center’s $600 million renovation. Additionally, the firm nabbed an up to $30 million contract for the first phase of the Fort Worth Convention Center renovation project in Fort Worth, Texas. The contractor is part of a team with local firms Byrne and EJ Smith.