SPEEDWAY, Ind. — There’s no more iconic address in the state of Indiana than the corner of 16th Street and Georgetown Road right at the front door of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
That’s why Parker Levy is stunned that the concrete and steel skeleton of a proposed 126-room hotel at the intersection along the edge of the roundabout remains unfinished six years after construction started.
”Man, are they ever gonna finish this?” he asked.
Levy is a server at Tacos & Tequila on Main Street, just up the block from the anticipated and unfinished Wilshaw Hotel.
”It is a bit of a blocker, especially if you’re coming from that way, it blocks the line of sight for a lot of places that people might catch as they’re driving by because by the time you hit the roundabout, you might not see it or you’re too focused on turning,” he said. ”I’d like to see it get finished provided that the town finds a developer that they can trust and that’s reliable and will get the job done.”
The Town of Speedway thinks it has found that developer, HE Speedway Owner, LLC, which has pledged to finish construction on the planned $30 million hotel if it can get a little help from the Town Council to shore up its financing.
“The bank just needed some additional financing to back that project up so that’s where we come in to fill that small gap,” said Town Manager Grant Kleinheinz who has drafted a $2.5 million loan ordinance the Town Council is considering. ”It is a short-term construction loan. It’ll be for a two-year period with a third-year option if construction continues on and then they’ll have to pay that off at a near market interest rate.”
Kleinhenz said the developer has already invested twice as much in buying out the original failed developer as it’s asking the Town to loan it to qualify for bank financing.
”They’ve already put $4.5 million in to clean off the lien, the mechanic’s lien to the previous project,” he said. “They’ve also put somewhere between a million and a million-and-a-half dollars for fees and other studies that had been done, so they’ve put well over five million into the project plus taking out the loan.”
Kleinhenz said if the developer can secure the loan by late spring, the hotel construction could be completed by early 2025.
“They’ll have a full-service restaurant, they’ll have meeting rooms, it really is an amenity to the community,” he said. ”They’ve done well over 200 projects like this across the country. Have a great portfolio. They’ve done all the big-name hotels and this is a Hilton Tapestry and so we wanted someone who had the experience with that level of hotel.”
Levy looked out through the lunchtime crown of his half-full small dining room and thought about what an upscale hotel just down the street would mean to Tacos & Tequila.
”I think it will be a net positive, especially if there’s a restaurant under it and especially during the month of the race there’ll be a ton of people at the hotel, its gonna be booked out like crazy,” he said. ”Provided its half-full year round, we’d get people coming in, a lot more people trying things out, spreading the word.”
A new Le Peep restaurant and the Vine & Table liquor store are due to open this spring at 1326 North Main Street in sites downstairs from fourteen condominiums up above.
Levy has some advice for diners and investors looking at visiting or locating on Main Street.
”The time to get in here and start eating everything is now because once that gets finished, everything will be packed.”