The City of Indianapolis would invest up to $48.5 million in public money in the proposed JW Marriott hotel Downtown, according to a "letter of intent" released today by the city.So while the city doesn't have money to keep park pools open during the full summer season, doesn't have money to control crime in our neighborhoods, and is unable to keep our streets, sidewalks and sewers maintained and repaired, it can find $50 million to subsidize one of the state's wealthiest families to build a new hotel to accommodate out-of-town visitors to the city. When it comes to providing basic city services, we're told we have to pay higher taxes. When a billionairre needs a public handout, the city charges it to a credit card and sticks us with an even bigger tax burden to pay it off. Where's the outrage?
The six-page letter spells out a deal negotiated over the past month and says the city subsidy would be paid by selling bonds and paying them off with revenues from a tax increment financing district that would include the hotel site at West and Washington streets. The city also would grant property tax abatement to the hotel project, which would cost at least $250 million to complete.
Developers White Lodging Services Corp., of Merrillville, and REI Real Estate Services, of Carmel, agree to design the JW Marriott with 1,000 rooms, unless a market study that's yet to be done shows that a lesser number of rooms is desirable.
The developers also agree to break ground before Jan. 31, 2008 and open two years later, in time to host fans attending the March 2010 collegiate men's Final Four basketball championships that will be held in Indianapolis.
The developers also agree to make contributions, which weren't specified, to support the Indiana Sports Corp. and the Indianapolis Cultural Development Initiative.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
$50 Million Subsidy For Billionaire White
Dean White may be worth $1.2 billion and ranked No. 283 on Forbes list of America's wealthiest, but the company his family controls, White Lodging Services, needs a $50 million handout from Indianapolis taxpayers to build a new J.W. Marriott Hotel to serve as a headquarter hotel for a newly-expanded Indiana Convention Center. This would be the same hotel the developers told the City of Indianapolis it would build even if it was not chosen by a city planning committee, which Mayor Peterson appointed to review competing hotel proposals. The Star's Jeff Swiatek writes: