After numerous studies, consultants and votes, Evansville's Downtown hotel finally has a developer. Mayor Lloyd Winnecke makes his pick, choosing HCW Developer out of Branson, Missouri. The Evansville Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously to begin negotiations. "We certainly lost opportunities but at the end of the day, I think we've made smart steps, when we came into office a year ago, we didn't feel like we had all the data we needed to make the best business case and put together the best deal on behalf of the taxpayers of this city," Winnecke says. HCW beat out two other companies. Winnecke says, "We've selected a really great quality developer whose work in other markets really speaks for itself." Here's a few of HCW's projects. Now the work of making it all happen starts with negotiations between the city and HCW. Mayor Winnecke expects that process to take about 60 days with a development agreement on how much money it will cost taxpayers, the number of rooms and other details. Philip Hooper with the Department of Metropolitan Development says "The best development sometimes is a waiting game, sometimes its a due diligence period and when you take the time to do it right the long term impact will be what's best for the community." In the next six months, Mayor Winnecke is hopeful these chains will come off and crews will break ground. The city says once construction starts this summer, it's very possible to see the hotel fully up and running in about two years.
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke has made his recommendation for a downtown hotel developer. During Wednesday morning's Redevelopment Commission meeting, Winnecke says chose HCW, from Branson, Missouri to come up with plans for the hotel next to the Ford Center. Winnecke says the company is a good choice for the area because they can fund their own equity and will make Evansville competitive with other markets. After the recommendation, the commission voted to go ahead and begin negotiations with HCW. Tabnie Dozier is following this story and will have more later today on Eyewitness News.