ODON — The first hotel at WestGate@Crane Technology Park broke ground Wednesday afternoon.
During a short groundbreaking ceremony, one of the hotel’s owners, Mike Hicks, talked about why the location was selected for the new property.
“This hotel is conveniently located at WestGate and will also provide lodging for the community,” Hicks said. “We’ll be able to serve anyone from government employees to families traveling for local athletic tournaments.”
Hicks and his wife, Debbie, also own the Comfort Suites in French Lick and Legend of French Lick.
“I am very much acquainted with the market area,” Hicks said. “I live within 20 minutes of where the hotel will be placed.”
The new construction will be a 72-unit hotel and should be finished within seven to 11 months. The hotel will be combining a Sleep Inn, which caters primarily to guests planning shorter stays, and a Mainstay for extended stay guests. The facility will be built at the intersection of U.S. 231 and CR 800 S., directly west of Battery Innovation Center.
Combining both brands, part of the larger Choice International Hotels brand, will also satisfy the diverse, overnight accommodations needed for this location he said. Both facilities will share common areas such as the parking lot, indoor pool, lobby and eating facility. Both will also feature meeting space, business center, free Wi-Fi, fitness center and complimentary hot breakfast.
“We are thrilled to have Mike and Debbie Hicks establish the first hotel in WestGate@Crane Technology Park,” said Brianne Jerrels, executive director for Greene County Economic Development Corporation. “This new hotel will serve the park, the tens of thousands of people that attend various events at WestGate Academy each year, the BIC’s global clientele and initiatives, NSWC Crane and the greater southern Indiana region along the Interstate 69 corridor.”
Purdue@WestGate is an economic development accelerator formed by the partnership between WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation. The Indiana-based collaboration combines strengths to advance educational, research and development and technology commercialization across Indiana and elsewhere.
“Just another great day for this region and NSWC Crane,” Dr. Kyle Werner, the director of engagement at NSWC Crane, said. “In many respects, this region is rapidly becoming a destination of choice for defense and today’s announcement is only going to bolster that.”
While the hotel is in Greene County, it could also have an impact on Daviess and other surrounding counties.
“I am proud of Greene County and all the hard work that it has taken to bring a new hotel to their area,” said Samantha Bobbitt, executive director of the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “This hotel will allow them to promote Greene County and possibly bring people to stay that potentially will travel around our region and spend their money here benefiting us all. Any time we think regionally and work together, it builds a successful community.”
Hicks said the hotel will enhance tourism opportunities for surrounding counties.
“I plan to hire locally as much as possible,” Hicks said and he will be looking to employ 20 to 22 people.
The hotel at WestGate will be an integral part of the Greene County Economic Development Corporation project, including proposed sites for restaurants, office space and other businesses.