Hotel’s Prospects are looking Like a Yes Vote is Coming


Hotel EVV

It has been learned by the CCO that Councilman John Friend has announced that he will be voting yes on the new hotel deal. The Mole Nation indicates that a unanimous vote of 9 – 0 may well be the tally next Monday night.

The total of the public money in the deal will consist of $7.5 Million as a direct subsidy to the hotel, $5.4 Million for a parking garage, and $3.6 Million for upgrades and infrastructure all contributed by the City of Evansville and none of which will be coming from the Innkeeper’s taxes.

An additional $3.5 Million will be contributed by the CVB and the County for improvements to the Centre and other infrastructure needed to tie the components of the project together. Sources have informed the CCO that all three sources of funds secured.

This is a developing story.


  1. Great! Now we can start seriously working on the IU Med School. We can do both!

    • Well we can certainly try both. There will be some serious egg on some faces if after depleting our bonding capacity by $20 Million there is not enough left on the credit limit to outbid Warrick County. Losing a medical school to get a hotel would truly be a fool’s errand. We should know soon.

      • If you want to use Detroit as an example, or Stockton, or Camden, evidently you can continue to bond right up to filing for bankruptcy.

        A word to the wise is sufficient.


        • No city, no matter how wealthy can handle 50% of its residents leaving the tax base. It seems HIGHLY unlikely that 50% of the city limits of Evansville is going to pack up and move.

          • Evansville was growing, and had over 160,000 residents at one time, in the last 40yrs around 50,000 HAVE left.

          • Evansville, IN has been losing population for a long time now. Why do you think that Warrick County is one of the fastest population growing county in Indiana?

            Most of the young people that I know moved out of Evansville to either Warrick or Posey Counties.

    • That’s what we HAVE to do. If we lose the Medical School, Evansville deserves to shrink away and become a suburb of Newburgh.

      • Good luck on your towns project to land the I.U med. center,your right that will drive the economy and grow it. Hopefully sustain the growth.

        Today the business convention Industry is “shrinking” world wide through the more advanced application of for huge cost savings.
        That’s pretty much an global corporate standard in rolling back operational costing to income production,moving forward.

        Elkaybee: Think of this project as the “whole-tell deal. (not over yet I’ll bet.) I’m gonna watch next weeks action…….”whole-tell soap” and “as the CSO churn’s”.

        Really though,In the final deal acceptance it sure looks like its an better deal for your community.
        Thank these people here at the CCO looks like they laid some tracks over the other two media outfits in your area that supported the first deal.
        The push saved some millions,whether its enough to land the medical center is yet to be determined,addressing, the CSO issue is your areas largest out of pocket cost right now ,hopefully that is to be addressed as well.

      • “The University of Evansville has an exciting new opportunity for Indiana residents who plan to become physicians: a Baccalaureate to Doctor of Medicine (B/MD) program that offers direct entry into the Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville. The University of Evansville is the first private university in Indiana to establish this collaboration with IU’s School of Medicine (IUSM).

        Beginning with UE’s entering freshman class of 2014, a select number of highly qualified Indiana students will be admitted simultaneously to UE and IUSM-Evansville. Once these students complete their undergraduate degrees and medical school prerequisite courses at the University of Evansville, they will begin medical school at IUSM-Evansville, provided they maintain academic eligibility and meet all IU School of Medicine requirements in effect at that time.”

        This quote comes from a CCO article about a week ago. Does anybody see a method to my madness now? The Roberts property is literally minutes from U of E, both Deaconess campuses, and downtown. My guess is that Evansville State Hospital will be put into the clinical rotations for students, too.

    • Why is the “we can do both” attitude only used on government leader supported projects and not public supported projects. I like how it was just financially impossible to renovate Roberts for $4-4.5 mil, the Mesker renovation ($9-21 mil) appears to now be up in the air, and Dr. Troost was told there just wasn’t enough money to revamp the parks that were/are dangerous (at most $5 to $10 mil).

      The city LOVES telling the public that we had no money for those projects despite all three being overwhelmingly popular with the public, yet we now have $20 mil for the hotel and at least $40 mil for a med school on top of a $125 mil arena? What gives?

      I’m glad the hotel is now down to a reasonable package, and I’m genuinely excited that it’s going to have most of the original perks from the original plan in it, and I’m VERY excited that it’s going to look somewhat similar to the Old E, but please this double standard needs to end.

      • Has anybody stopped to think about the proximity of the Roberts property to the U of E Campus, which is a major academic partner in the venture, and Gateway? Just an idea…

        • I distinctly remember the discussions concerning water table on that site Ekb,(historical spring street spring)It would be an good place for well designed storm management project to help defeat the CSO issues.
          The smell hovering at the Lloyd and Vann ave. indicates the present problem in the system junction there.
          The Roberts park water feature idea could have function in design using that with some innovation of design.
          I checked on some records, and seems the Morgan avenue street was closed during spring season Ohio river flooding in 2011. Flooding from the creek, that also could be fixed for flooding events passage with the same project focus.

        • Depends. Downtown TIF money can only be used for Downtown area in the designated region. Innkeepers money can only be used on tourists facilities.

          The Roberts renovation would have fulfilled the desires of the Innkeepers Tax. A renovation to Mesker in all likelihood would as well.

          Revamping existing parks would not fit under either but the funds being used on “Roberts Park” i.e a park that really doesn’t even exist could be used to fund them.

          What it boils down to is that the city didn’t want anything or anyone getting in their way of their pet projects- the hotel and now the med school. That’s why we got a completely made up general conclusions page on the roberts task force report and that’s why the city has gone hush hush about Mesker. These facilities are an inconvenient truth as to what the opportunity costs are for when the city blows millions on their own projects.

  2. Before this weekend someone needs to identify the sources of revenue that will be servicing the debt on the bonds if the common council votes yes on the resolution.


  3. Did anyone honestly believe it would be any different when the end game was on the table?
    Not Me.
    “We Are Evansville”, don’t you know, Borrow and Spend is our destiny.
    It’s a lot less stressful, if you accept it,–or move.

      • I hope you sell it and get a good price. Please sell it to a person who well be proud to live in Evansville and not a pimple on a big ass.

          • 47: After reading the effects/new deal of the push back by the staff of this organization the CCO,your likely right and wrong on an couple of things.
            On the age issue your right,the reference to the tail end of the closet democrat,probably some redness.
            Cause being, the assumed “spanking” the guy took from the CCO every time he argued for the first set of numbers in the original deal offered to your city.
            Thank you to all. Where else is one gonna find that kind of entertainment. Good luck with the bonding and the landing of an U.I. medical center.
            To bad your city couldn’t deal out the hotel apartments.

            What would be the your cities income from those compared to the other downtown properties?
            Not this that’s an issue,however it does seem like the addition of the apartments was something to be trimmed a bit for an overall less bond dept period deal.

            • The property taxes from the apartments are vital to being able to service the debt from the parking garage. They should be treated as a package. If the developer tries to get out of doing the apartments the parking garage needs to be cancelled.

        • Wayne,–It has been my experience that when you have a person’s “Number” it rankles them, and you are soon on their “enemy” list. Although I will soon be free of paying tribute to the political “Godfathers” of politics in Evansville, through the Tax, Borrow, and Spend mantra they embrace. Rest assured I’m not the only one who has your “Number”, and you can expect that their astute comments will continue on without me. Goodbye, and I know we won’t miss each other one bit. –Crash

        • “If you don’t like it why don’t you just leave” is always the cry of the dullards and the authoritarians.

  4. Good for John friend. Crash,when your house sells, we’re gonna miss you—

  5. Overall, this seems, keyword seems, like a fair deal. The original deal was $8 mil with Kunkel and Woodruff and I’m still betting that didn’t include infrastructure so this will actually be $500,000 less.

    As for the infrastructure, I’d like to see the parking garage booted but if I were on the council I wouldn’t cast a NO vote over it. I’m thrilled the storage facility is getting the axe. I support Venuworks and the Ford Center but that is completely ridiculous to shell out $5.7 mil to house stuff that probably mostly came from Roberts.

    It looks like the retail part is out. I do hate to hear that as it would have made for some excellent opportunities for restaurants and stores to be located in the middle of the threeway skywalks. I’m sure in due time that will come back.

    So overall, yea I think it’s time to vote yes and move on. I’d like to have seen more of the Innkeepers used instead of the downtown TIF but this is as good as it gets. Cast the vote and let’s move on to the medical center which is a valuable opportunity for us to use Old North and revitalize several old buildings along Stringtown (Martha Crosley, I drove down there and have taken pics of some old buildings this project could revitalize that are for sale).

    Wayne, please tell Marsha to quit dragging the Old Courthouse & Coliseum into this mess now. We’ve been fighting for 57 years to keep those buildings from being demolished and in public hands. We don’t need to revisit those scars over a hotel that will have ZERO affect on them. Thank you!

    • IU will not want the old North. The utilities are unbelievable. It was quite a mess of a building throughout all the years of renovating and adding on. They never were able to fix the sewer smell problem. It’s a crap building with a really nice auditorium and cafeteria. That’s it.

      The best thing for the city is to put the IU Med School downtown. Those young professionals will be looking at renting lofts and condo’s downtown. It will also put all the well-paid professors within walking distance of some of the historic homes. The med school would put more people in the bars and restaurants.

      • I would think that the medical students would want to live close to the Hospital where they work. That is where they will spend a vast majority of their time after their first two years.

        I realize that those who own property downtown want to increase their business but there are other business peopel in this town that don’t own property in the downtown.

        I am one of the latter. So I personally won’t make any money on these students if they move to the downtown. I’m a country boy and much prefer living out where there is no street lights and very little noise. The only noise I like to hear is the crickets and frogs. 🙂

        To me the best location for this medical school would be out by Gateway Hospital or out by USI in the county.

        These students can communte back and forth to school.

        While it would be nice if they did live downtown and went to school there they still will have to commute to the two Hospitals left in this area. So they are going to be spending money on gas for their vehicles one way or the other.

        I grew up in Evansville and then moved to the West Side out in the County. I now live in Warrick County. So it would help reduce my property taxes if the Medical School was built in Warrick County. That would go on the Warrick County Tax base so I personally would be in favor of that.

        The only negative I can see from a new medical school in Evansville would be increased traffic on the Lloyd Expessway out on the West Side if they put the medical school out at USI. Traffic is a mess out there now at certain times of the day.

        But I’m all for a new Medical School. With an increase in the number of medical students and new doctors it will help ease the lack of medical care these days. Some times people have to wait a while before they can see a doctor unless it’s an emergency. So the more doctors we train the better IMHO.

        • “While it would be nice if they did live downtown and went to school there they still will have to commute to the two Hospitals left in this area.”

          There are 3 hospitals and Deaconess is very close to downtown.

        • Coyote: You hit that nail and drove it in one smack.
          The road infrastructure in Evansville,s area has no commuter throughput to support an Medical school downtown moving forward.
          It can however.
          East to west passage is severely challenged,north south is at an mid-1950″s design. “One accident on the Lloyd,on an weekend with an downtown river front event and everybody is late to their destination heading across town.”

          Anything that could be an bypass for commute timing really doesn’t begin to effect ones commute until you clear the city county lines to the east or west.
          Henderson KY. Hwy 41 strip is an plugged up mess approaching the bridges until it clears south to the parkway to Owensboro.
          The proposed I-69 bridge might help that.
          What Evansville needs is an east west northern passage,uncluttered with traffic throughput that is cleared for effective commuting from Epworth road in Warrick,to The university parkway in Vanderburgh.

          With the intersections in your town improved for throughput to an Diamond connected Lynch road with supporting north,south unimpeded. This would help access from downtown. Some of these are also state highways are they not? If not why not?
          Looking at that from altitude, an overall plan should be in place for that moving forward if your downtown really wants to make an sustainable viable approach to an Medical center there.
          You need to clear traffic issues at 1st and Diamond and Stringtown,Heidlebach intersections.
          The road infrastructure needs work,I might suggest Evansville as it is now with roads could qualify for an national auto industry test to fail conditional field test site for Brake life and automobile suspension testing. Your roads are rough! and throughput commerce suffers with the lack of transitional timing around town.

          Entering metro gateways infrastructures should allow passage to and from center feature’s moving forward. Commerce throughput to and from center.

          • V is to R,–The North-South corridor aka highway 41, Rumor had it, that as it exists, being a result of the game of insider information, politicos, and a 1950’s mentality. The politicians at the time it was conceived, believed the intersections,(corners) if built at ground level, would prove to be lucrative spaces to place Gas Stations, and potential retail. At the time prime locations were selling for around a Million, the location of the re-aligned road plans were suspected to have been leaked in expectations of a windfall for cronyism. Cronyism, a practice ingrained in Evansville, that we still see today, and in politics in general. The result has been the “Stoplight City” name attached to Evansville by those travelling the route. One wonders from time to time,–Noting , the Lloyd East-West corridor,–does anything ever change from age to age?–“Not so Much”. The 1950’s Mentality still dominates today’s Old Downtown psychosis.
            Running red lights has become the solution, and the Norm for Evansville drivers travelling in any direction.

          • Crash: Compliments on the screen name there, That’s is something I have heard before,way before! You see I have family roots in the Evansville area.
            As an kid I can remember one Uncle of mine whom was an regular at an place called the Central Turners club. The guy was an Realtor,no kidding, 🙂 He bought dozens of rentals up and down Harlan ave. The kicker is, way before that corridor path was public information.
            He even had an office at an major intersection there also.
            The state bought and demolished every property the man owned in the corridor. Built 41 there.
            He retired to FT.Meyers FL. soon after ,built a bunch of condos and made out like an bandit. The ole boy tried to include some others in the family in the information but they refused due to the ethical questions involved.
            The Guy was married to an aunt,she returned to Evansville after his passing and died here in her birth place.

            My other uncles were shocked by his ethics codes. Kind of avoided the guy when possible. Dad always said the guy could sell you the toilet seat he just used if he could make an buck on it.
            Early sixties Evansville I was an little fellow.
            I still get an kick out of remembering the adults conversing about those antics and others,hopefully the place has evolved above that stuff.

      • If all we’re down to is a utility problem and sewer smell and I would imagine that that is pretty easy to correct. There’s no way that entire campus has a sewer smell, it’s just too big. Any campus that big is going to have high utilities, so how does leaving it to sit there and rot in public hands change that?

        Why was there a christian school considering moving in there if it was indeed that bad? They only backed off because most of their students are from Warrick and the east side.

        If not the IU Med School than what? Just leave an entire high school campus for one simple academy? Drive down stringtown, there are many more lofts and old buildings with the most notable ones being at the corner of N. Garvin & Stringtown.

        I don’t doubt for a moment that the city is going to be stupid again and throw all their money on having this school build an entirely new campus somewhere downtown. It wouldn’t be the city if they weren’t wasting money on building a project in the wrong location.

        But the bottom line is this: If Ivy Tech can use Rex Mundi’s building to renovate, retrofit, AND expand so can IU Med School with Old North.

      • “Those young professionals” are not professionals, they are students. Many of them are more interested in paying for school than they are in living in high-end lofts.
        The bar business may pick up some on the weekends, but Medical School is not a party. Besides, the east side and even a location on the old Roberts Stadium site are closer to any real “life” that is left in Evansville.
        That being said, I’d like to see it downtown, but I don’t think it is the best location for it.

        • Elkaybee: I know exactly what your saying,I have friends that went through medical schools and internship around the country. Wow a couple of them even had young families to provide for to.
          I understood completely,young family,engineering school,plus military duty. Spouse an masters nursing student,while working in an hospital OB unit,sometimes while I was overseas. We wouldn’t ever have thought of an loft rental,or some upscale apartment,we did the best we could with what we had.
          Like most Doctors,MBA’s or PHD’s I know, getting there takes self determination, purpose,direction and funding. Law degrees are no cake walk either.
          I know we all learned from that experience and are darn thankful for that.

          Affordable location to access daily needs was the most important factor when struggling to make ends meet.
          Entertainment was however “not so much”.

  6. Remember, this is going to mean that Roberts Dog Park…nope. The $25 million zoo improvements at the African exhibit…nope. Basically, unless your name is “IU Medical School” don’t come a-knockin’ for a while.

  7. I don’t believe the Snegal tactics, backroom deals and ever growing bonded debt that is the legacy of Evansville’s Leadership, will ever abate, it’s the Bread and Butter of the Political animals that rule Evansville.
    I do expect to be a lot happier, and to those that can not escape, for one reason or another, you have my sympathy.

  8. A bad move by Friend, this is Johnson Controls Part II. Get the total expenditure reduced so that credit (for the reduction) may be claimed, without looking at the merits of the project.

    Still no vetting; still no business plan; still taking 70% of its Customers from existing Hotels; still secret investors who have a senior position to the public’s contribution. Why say YES now–just because it’s been debated for a long time ?

    What happened to all the fancy math re: the impossibility of the revenue stream from convention attendees repaying the public investment ?

    We need more public servants and (a lot) fewer politicians !!!!!!!!!!

    • I totally agree with you on the vetting and the business plan. John Friend should still table the vote until they do that.

      I used to feel the same about the 70% of customers form existing hotels as you did until Rails&RobertsStadium pointed out that a great deal of that 70% went to other hotels when the Big E was torn down. Much of that 70% will be coming back from where it left. The city gave the area hotels a temporary gift of additional business when they tore down the Big E without a replacement.

      • Big Pappa,

        RE: the 70%: the loss of this business–if in fact it returns to the new Hotel downtown–will injure the other hotels in town, there sales and occupancy will erode. The fact that they received a ‘windfall’ previously doesn’t change the future fact that those hotels will be thinned out.

        • Yes, but all other hotels should know that the windfall was temporary and new a downtown hotel would eventually be built. Actually they benefitted from the windfall way longer than originally expected. None of the other hotels should have counted on maintaining their current occupancy rate and made permanent financial decisions based upon the temporary windfall.

          • Man, I must be dyslexic! Let me try again.

            Yes, but all other hotels should have know that the windfall was temporary and a new downtown hotel would eventually be built. Actually, they benefitted from the windfall way longer than originally expected. None of the other hotels should have counted on maintaining their current occupancy rate and made permanent financial decisions based upon their temporary windfall.

  9. I’m curious if anyone else smells smoke? I mean in city governemtn the department heads know that what ever they ask for in a budget is going to be cut by city council later on. So they nearly always pad their budget ahead of time. That way they get what they really want and city council gets to look like they are doing their job. I’ve seen this happen first hand while working at the city for seven years. And Both parties do this all the time.

    So does that make you wonder if the entire plan for gettign this hotel was planned out ahead of time. I mean they did put on a good dog and pony show that even on the surface looked good to me at first. But then I got to thinking. Could they have asked for such an outrageous amount of public money in the first place (37 million) knowing that the city council and the public would never aceept such a huge amount. They they (suddenly over 3 days) come up with an entirely new plan with a lower Public money support figure that’s still a lot of public money going to a private hotel developer and with no equity to the city. And the City Councils vetting has not taken place yet! Do you think that the city council is backing down from their request to have a 3rd party vet HCW?

    Perhaps this is the plan all along and we were just going along for the ride? Anyway you really never know what type of deals were made in this last week.

    Remember it took years to get to this point. So wow, I’m really impressed that they can get so much done in just 3 or 4 days.

    • No, they really just found a new way to privately take your tax money with a big table of people falling for it.

  10. Sshhhh take this money under the table that nobody knows about
    And we all win
    Except the taxpayers

  11. Red Skelton once said, “Evansville would be a nice place if they ever got it finished.”

    • If we blow the Medical School deal, Evansville will be “finished”, but not in a good way.

      • Indiana University wouldn’t even be looking at our little corner of the state if it wasn’t for the soon to be completed I-69 Project. We can all thank Mitch Daniels and his vision for making South West Indiana a part of the rest of the state with this major accomplishment.

        • Very true. Mitch pushed I-69 through, including past those hippie communes in Bloomington. Once finished, his vision will cause great economic and educational benefit to SW Indiana.

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