Commissioners contribute money, land to hotel project

Rendering of planned boutique hotel

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Allen County commissioners pledged $2 million and a portion of a downtown parking lot to the boutique hotel project.

“It really affords us the opportunity to show the public that we are economic development partners,” Commissioner Therese Brown explained.

The commissioners approved the contributions Friday morning.

“All told, it was a picture with participating in,”  Commissioner Nelson Peters said.

The county owns a portion of the parking lot at Harrison Street and Main Street where the hotel is set to be built. The commissioners approved the use of that space for the project.

The money is set to come from the county’s economic development income tax fund, which has a provision to be returned in full by 2028.

“I think the returns are going to be significant for this community and we’re going to end up with a project that is going to be pretty unique and pretty neat,” Peters added.

That “neat project” is spearheaded by Vera Bradley’s Barbara Baekgaard.

“I want it to feel like Fort Wayne and feel like Indiana,” Baekgaard said at a press conference announcing the project. “I don’t want it to be you don’t know what city you’re in.”

She also invested a large amount of her own money.

“Basically whatever Barb has touched in this community has turned to gold. It was a very very easy decision to fall in line and try and help with that project,” Peters said.

“She truly loves Fort Wayne. She loves the region and wants to leave a legacy. We feel that that’s an appropriate thing for us to partner with too,” Brown added.