Hotel Conference Center “Before” and proposed “After” design concepts.

Project Summary

In 2018, the Bartholomew County Heritage Fund supported an initiative called Envision Columbus to study the needs and potential for future growth in Columbus.  That study identified 3 opportunity zones for development; commercial, residential and park systems.  The commercial area targeted the 2nd and 3rd Street corridor in downtown Columbus as an area that could be revitalized into a destination that would attract cultural, dining and entertainment opportunities.  Their recommendations included a hotel/conference center, urban grocer and multi-family housing as vital to the growth of the area and a building block for further public and private development.

The primary elements of the project are a branded conference hotel, which can be a full-service “lite” brand or select-service “plus” brand with the following elements initially proposed:

  • 140+/- Guest Rooms
  • 9,000+/-SF Divisible Ballroom
  • 4,000 – 5,000 SF of Divisible Breakout Meeting Rooms (at least five divisions)
  • 3-Meal Restaurant that activates the street and has as much street presence as possible, likely on a corner.
  • Parking for the hotel and conference center. Currently estimated to be 380+/- spaces.
  • Urban Grocery on the property or in the immediate vicinity


  • 2018: Envision Columbus: Downtown Strategic Development plan studies the needs and potential for future growth in Columbus. The study recommendations included a hotel/conference center, urban grocer and multi-family housing as vital to the growth of the area and a building block for further public and private development.
  • June 2018: CRC engaged Hunden Strategic Partners (HSP), a leading advisor in Destination Real Estate Development, to perform a market and financial feasibility study for a potential conference center and hotel in downtown, Columbus.
  • 4th Quarter 2018: HSP provides their findings to the community. There is a need for an approximately 140 room hotel and 9,000 sq. ft. of ballroom/meeting space
  • 1st Quarter 2019: CRC issues an RFQ for hotel/conference center developers and multi-family/urban grocer developers.
  • 3rd Quarter 2019: CRC invites four pre-qualified finalist teams to respond to an RFP for a hotel/conference center and multi-family/urban grocer development. The Columbus Redevelopment Commission chose the development team of Sprague Hotel Developers and real estate developers, Flaherty & Collins Properties to take the lead in the development
  • 2020: A Term Sheet was executed as an agreement between all parties in regard to the scope of the project. The developers quickly began contacting potential hotel brands and grocers and found a great deal of interest. The Commission also authorized a traffic study be completed involving 2nd and 3rd Streets and the possibility of converting those streets to two-way traffic. Later in March, the COVID-19 pandemic hits and the hospitality industry is crippled.
  • 2021: Continuing project and communication efforts, despite COVID-19’s crippling effect on the hospitality industry.
  • Spring/Summer 2022: The CRC approved a proposal from Hunden Strategic Partners to update the existing 2018 Market and Feasibility study as these factors relate to the proposed Hotel Conference Center. The CRC and administration continue to have conversations with Sprague Hotel Developers in regards to the Redevelopment Tax Credit Program and a Project Agreement moving forward.
  • 3rd Quarter 2022: The City has begun exploring site clearing and cleanup resources for the location where the existing Court Services building is located, i.e. the site where the future Hotel/Conference Center will be constructed. A Project Agreement is under review by Sprague Hotel Developers.
  • 4th Quarter 2022: Patriot Engineering has been selected to complete the environmental site cleanup through use of POSI funds. The City, Redevelopment Commission and Sprague Hotel Developers meet to discuss the terms of the Project Agreement. Concurrently, the CRC was working to engage August Mack to conduct an asbestos survey on the existing Probation Center, and also Renascent, Inc. to demo the building once it is cleared by August Mack.
  • 1st Quarter 2023: August Mack and Renascent Inc. were engaged at the January CRC meeting. Throughout the month of February, the CRC engaged in several conversations with atelierRISTING regarding updated schematic drawings for the Lafayette Avenue Parking Garage. Also, throughout the month of March, Police, Fire, the Sheriff’s Department, a K-9 Unit, and additional safety personnel utilize the existing Probation Center for response training opportunities.
  • 2nd Quarter 2023: Construction fencing goes up around the old Probation Center to prepare for the demolition. Near the end of the month, Renascent Inc. completes the demolition and cleanup of the former Probation Center building.
  • May 2023: The City and Sprague Hotel Developers mutually agree to part ways on the hotel conference center project. The CRC engaged Hunden Strategic Partners to consult on the hotel conference center project.
  • Current: There have been ongoing discussions regarding the future of the hotel conference center project. The City is working to understand the best approach for moving forward with this project. The construction timeline is not yet identified.


Phase 1 Environmental Reports

2nd & Lafayette Site Phase 1 Report

County Site Phase 1 Report