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Old April 10th, 2005, 01:01 AM   #21
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Organizations push for hotel's restoration

Deadline for Terre Haute House proposals Friday

By Peter Ciancone/Tribune-Star

With the deadline for proposals just a day away, two community groups have entered their plea to turn the Terre Haute House back into a hotel.

The Vigo County Historical Society and Terre Haute Landmarks on Wednesday issued news releases announcing their endorsement of reclaiming the property.

"If all the options really are on the table, let's err on the side of a hotel," said Todd Nation, president of Terre Haute Landmarks. He said the resolution from the group was an attempt to bring attention to the situation, a milestone of which is looming.

The Terre Haute Department of Redevelopment issued a request for proposals in January to either rehabilitate the former downtown hotel, along with two buildings on the same block - the Fort Harrison Savings and Loan Building and the Bement-Rea building - or to use the property in some other way that may require demolition.

Deadline for submission of proposals is 4 p.m. Friday.

"I hope that a decision will not be made quickly," said Marylee Hagan, executive director of the Historical Society. "I certainly hope that the city will look at the historic significance."

Noting that a hotel has been on the corner for about 170 years, and that the current building, built in 1927-28, has anchored what has become known as the "Crossroads of America," Hagan said, "Restoration of the Terre Haute House, Fort Harrison Savings Association building and the Bement-Rea building would certainly be assets in the revitalization of our downtown."

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said the city had not received any proposals as of Wednesday morning, but expected to receive at least two. One will come from local development group Haute Maison, the other from an Indianapolis developer. What those proposals contain remains to be seen, Witt said.

Resolutions from community groups gave an important indication about the process and the proposals, Witt said, but the ultimate decision will depend on other factors.

"We welcome people's input, and appreciate interest. We want to know the sentiment of the community. That being said, anything that happens to the Terre Haute House is going to be dictated by economics," Witt said.

All the plans will be evaluated by the criteria contained in the request for proposals, Witt said. Five criteria are outlined: Compatibility of use with the surrounding environment, relevant experience of the developer, having the developer providing at least 5 percent of the project funding out of pocket, financing for the plan and an aggressive timeline.

The Department of Redevelopment will review the proposals after they are received.

In the meantime, Nation said, Terre Haute Landmarks and the Historical Society, along with a similar resolution advanced by Downtown Terre Haute Inc., are advancing the issue as a key part of downtown Terre Haute's future.

"There are so many compelling reasons to reopen these three buildings. Somebody needs to say it," he said.

Peter Ciancone can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or [email protected]
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Old April 10th, 2005, 01:05 AM   #22
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I'll post more information about the project as it progresses (if that is the right word)--there are five proposals to redevelop the site--unclear how many would reopen the hotel, or even renovate the building. The second article illustrates the emotional hold the building has on city residents--the current mayor called the empty structure "a monument to our inability to move forward." The hotel closed 35 years ago...Stay tuned!

City Receives Five Proposals for the Terre Haute House
( Air Date: 4/8/2005 )
Friday was the deadline for proposals about what to do with the vacant Terre Haute House in downtown Terre Haute.

An aggressive schedule for work to start and be completed are two of the criteria the city set for the Terre Haute House proposals.

Steve Witt, president of Terre Haute`s Economic Development, says they want someone with experience on projects like this.

The plan must be compatible with the surrounding environment and have an aggressive time schedule.

A developer should also have a five percent financial stake in the project and have firm financial backing for the rest.

By the afternoon deadline, five proposals were submitted. We`ll find out more about them once they are made available by the city.

Terre Haute House Survey
- Megan Jennings
4/8/2005 5:21:04 PM

And a new survey came out Friday about how people living in Terre Haute feel about the Terre Haute House. When it comes to the Terre Haute House, some want to save it, and others want to tear it down. But a phone survey by the Indiana State University Sociology Lab found most people think it should be renovated.

In fact, an overwhelming 72% of people surveyed wanted to renovate the former hotel. Most of those say some taxpayer money should be used for the project if necessary.

Pollsters also found out that for folks in Terre Haute, the topic is an emotional issue. Dr. Tom Steiger says, "There's a strong emotional attachment here, which when you start trying to talk about the logic of redevelopment, those emotional kinds of feelings can often get in the way."

Many of the people who wanted to renovate the house say they'd like to see it used as a hotel, a conference center, or a combination of housing and shopping.

Pranksters welcome visitors to old hotel as April Fools' Day joke

Is it true? Bellhops Jon Campbell and Noah Gambill wave to drivers as they pass by the Terre Haute House on Friday. (Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

By Nicole Mullins/Tribune-Star

After being closed for nearly 35 years, the Terre Haute House welcomed visitors for its grand opening celebration Friday afternoon.

The chilly weather didn't keep passersby from being a part of the history-making event. Joni Moore of Brazil was the first of many to arrive at the hotel for her chance to see the inside of the once-bustling building. As the bellhops greeted her on the red carpet in front of the revolving door, she soon learned she was in for quite a surprise.

"April Fools!" exclaimed prankster Boo Lloyd, owner of Crossroads Cafe and Corner Store at Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue.

Disappointed yet in good humor, Moore admitted her folly.

"I thought maybe they had it open for tours," she said, admitting she would have paid to walk through the building, which closed to traveling guests July 4, 1970. "It was before my time and I think it would be interesting to see what it was. It piqued my interest."

Moore's reaction was exactly the kind Lloyd hoped the joke would generate. Nearly two months ago, the idea for the trickery came while sitting with a customer in a corner booth at her restaurant. The two had been talking with discontent about the dilapidated building across the street.

"I said, 'I'm just dying to see some life,'" she recalled Friday in front of the hotel. "Next thing you know, I'm talking to my employees [about the joke]. We thought it would be a funny April Fools thing to do."

The bellhops' vintage clothing along with luggage and signs in front of the Terre Haute House indicated that the hotel was again up and running. Bellhop Jon Campbell, who is a cook at Crossroads, said he hopes he and fellow bellhop Noah Gambill were able to give people a glimpse of what the Terre Haute House could be.

"Hopefully people will see that it's more than a piece of stone," he said. "Hopefully the city will do something with it."

Jimmy Jenkins, who dressed in suit as a traveler, also provided some of the clothing from his store 7th Street Vintage. Jenkins said he gladly accepted the invitation to become part of the prank.

A walk back in time: Jimmy Jenkins hands a flier to a passenger in a vehicle at 7th Street and Wabash Avenue on Friday. Jenkins proclaimed the fliers were for the "grand reopening" of the Terre Haute House, but they were actually ads for the Crossroads Cafe as part of an April Fools' Day joke. (Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

"I'm a supporter of downtown Terre Haute and I don't think we have enough fun in this town," he said, adding that the joke would be on Terre Haute if the building remains neglected. "I just want something done with it [the hotel] as soon as possible. I think if we care about downtown Terre Haute, we should do something immediately."

Ellen Hughes of Terre Haute, walking downtown on Friday, agreed. "They need to make a decision. They need to decide what would be best," but added with a laugh and smile, "It's a wonderful joke. It was very clever."

Nicole Mullins can be reached at (812) 231-4299 or [email protected].

May I take that for you, sir? Bellhop Noah Gambill takes Jimmy Jenkins' luggage as Jenkins approaches the entrance to the Terre Haute House on Friday. The two were pretending the hotel was open for business as an April Fools' Day joke. (Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

Last edited by cjfjapan; April 10th, 2005 at 01:17 AM.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 05:43 PM   #23
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Terre Haute House Home to upscale student housing?

- Action 10 News Staff
4/9/2005 9:59:31 PM

Friday marked the deadline for proposals for renovate the Terre Haute House.

Offers to save the old hotel poured into City Hall the city expects three or four good bids to restore the building.

One developer's plan would turn the historic hotel into upscale student housing for Indiana State University students.

Beaver Development LLC of Brownsburg would turn the vacant property into student lofts.

That $10 million plan was one of five submitted before Friday's deadline.

The 9 story Terre Haute House, built in 1927 just off of ISU's campus has been on Indiana's most endangered historic structures list since 1998.

Without a reasonable plan to redevelop the building city officials say they may demolish the Terre Haute House.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 02:16 AM   #24
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Developer wants to turn historic hotel into upscale student housing

The Associated Press
April 9, 2005 11:26 AM

TERRE HAUTE, IND. -- A historic hotel that could face demolition would be turned into upscale housing for Indiana State University students under one developer's plan.

That $10 million plan was one of five proposals submitted to Terre Haute officials before Friday's deadline for reuse plans for the nine-story Terre Haute House.

The hotel, built in 1927 just off the ISU campus, has been on the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana's list of Indiana's most endangered historic structures since 1998.

Without a viable redevelopment plan for the hotel, city officials have said they may demolish the building, which has been vacant for 30 years.

Beaver Development LLC of Brownsburg proposes restoring the hotel into upscale housing, converting the upper floors into student lofts and turning the first two floors into a restored ballroom and conference rooms open to the public.

The proposed renovation would take about 18 months.

Funding already has already been lined up, said Kyle Beaver, who runs the firm with his father, David. He said investors have agreed to put up $7 million and the Hulman family, which owns the hotel, would provide another $1 million.

Another developer, Haute Maison Development LLC, proposed restoring the hotel as a 138-room Courtyard by Marriott at a cost of $19 million.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 02:26 AM   #25
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Survey regarding THH

March 2005 Survey Regarding the Future of the Terre Haute House, Terre Haute, Indiana


The survey, conducted by the Indiana State University Sociology Lab, found that most people preferred to have the former hotel renovated by private investors and reopened. A majority did not want tax money used for the project, though many agreed that tax money allocated for its demolition could be used for its renovation. The survey found that respondents did not want the structure given to the university for housing, although as you can see in the story below, one of the proposals would turn the building into private student housing, much like a similar monstrosity in Bloomington called Smallwood Plaza.

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Old April 13th, 2005, 01:16 AM   #26
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I wouldn't want to live there. There are too many racist people in that city.
Chicago rules!
I love Pittsburgh
Toronto is great!!
Montreal is unique!!
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Old April 13th, 2005, 02:24 AM   #27
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I think it's pretty typical of small, industrial cities. There hasn't been any measureable international immigration there for many, many years, outside of students/profs associated with the universities, and some professional immigration from India in the 1970s and 1980s.

There is a pretty sizeable African-American population (about 10%) that his historically been confined to two neighborhoods on the south and east sides of the city--although now those neighborhoods are just poor--not exclusively black.

There have been a couple of issues related to the white-black populations in the city recently, namely the refusal of the city to rename a section of 13th Street after Martin Luther King, Jr.--tellingly, the proposal would only rename the section of the street that passed through the historic South 13th Afr-Am neighborhood, not the "whiter" northern sections. More recently, problems between the city and the board of directors of the Hyte Center, which has traditionally served the African American community on the south side.

Overall, most of Indiana, especially the western parts, has a very small non-white populations. I don't know if that contributes to the fact/perception that it is racist--but I would say that the surrounding counties--Sullivan, Clay, Parke and Vermillion--have very racist and anti-gay attitudes. I think the attitudes in Terre Haute reflect those areas.

Wheelingman, why do you think TH is particularly racist? I sometimes think of Wheeling as a city comparable to Terre Haute--do you get the sense that Wheeling is a particularly racist community? I don't know it well...
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Old April 13th, 2005, 02:28 AM   #28
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Historic Ohio Building Refurbished

Historic Ohio Building receives contemporary upgrade

Casa Urbana: Ohio Building owners Al Ruckriegel, Dave Adams and Jack (center) have turned the historic building into a state-of-the-art loft. The building features an in-home theater, rooftop lawn, Jacuzzi, exercise room and ballroom. Here, the trio stand in the hallway that leads to three different bedrooms, all with balconies. (Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

By Sue Loughlin/Tribune-Star

Al Ruckriegel mowed his lawn for the first time Sunday - and anyone passing by on Ohio Street might have done a double take.

The lawn, which has an irrigation system, is on the rooftop terrace of the luxuriously refurbished Ohio Building, formerly the Goodie Shoppe.

Owners Ruckriegel and David J. Adams have spared no expense in renovating the historic downtown building into a modern-day loft with contemporary architecture. They call their classy, second-floor digs "Casa Urbana."

The building in the 600 block of Ohio Street also formerly housed the 40-room Hotel Tuller.

Ruckriegel is co-owner of Sidal, Inc., which operates the Rally's restaurants in Terre Haute. He and Adams used to have offices directly across Ohio Street; now their offices have relocated to Casa Urbana.

"We kept looking at this old building," Adams said. "We knew it could be a really neat project for someone."

After touring the building and considering the possibilities, they purchased it in December 2003 for $100,000 and construction began last May. The loft is just about complete, and the owners have been making it their home for the past three weeks.

Ruckriegel's dog, Jack, also seems at ease in his new home and wanders casually through the foyer, solarium and open-sky courtyard, which is tiled with concrete pavers and has a heating coil underneath to melt snow and ice.

While the second-floor loft is Ruckriegel's and Adams' home, they will share much of the space with the community by renting out the common areas for receptions, parties and other events.

Nice place: At top, the billiards room waits for a game of 8-ball in the newly refurbished Ohio Building at 672 Ohio St. Second from top, a buffet sits in the butler's pantry. The newly renovated building features five indoor fireplaces, including the one pictured second from bottom, as well as one on the roof. Above, a kitchen with all the modern amenities now occupies a portion of the building. (Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

The common areas include a ballroom with a fireplace and skylights; a bar; conference room; rooftop terrace and a 17-seat theatre furnished with chairs that are from Radio City Music Hall.

About two-thirds of Casa Urbana will be available to rent for more-upscale functions, Ruckriegel said. "The rooftop would be great for bridal showers," he said. It includes a jacuzzi, deck and view of downtown Terre Haute. And a small yard.

About 10,000 square feet of ground-floor space will be available for lease for offices, businesses or other purposes. It can have up to four tenants.

On Monday, the owners opened their doors for a media luncheon and tour. Representatives of United Way of the Wabash Valley, Junior Achievement and the Terre Haute Humane Society also attended. The three organizations will conduct an inaugural fund-raising event there called Abbondanza on June 25.

When Adams and Ruckriegel took possession of the building, "it was in such terrible shape," Adams said. "It was infested with pigeons. There were floors falling through. The ceiling had leaks all over."
View from above: Ohio Building owners Al Ruckriegel and Dave Adams stand on the manicured lawn that sits atop their building. The two have spared no expense to refurbish the historic downtown building. (Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza)

More than 361 tons of material were removed, which does not include 12 layers of roofing or any of the restaurant equipment.

"It took us a little more money than we anticipated, but it has been worth it," Adams said. "I'm just amazed. I'm in awe" of the finished product.

Both Adams and Ruckriegel say one of their favorite areas is the rooftop terrace. "I love the yard and the grass. If we didn't have that, we wouldn't have the building," Ruckriegel said. "I have to have a yard," which took him 71/2 minutes to mow Sunday.

Ruckriegel also enjoys the large, contemporary kitchen, which features dark cherry wood and a large center island. "I love to cook, so the kitchen is fantastic," he said.

The total investment will be more than $2 million. The owners received facade grants through the city Redevelopment Department as well as Historic Tax Credits, which amount to 20 cents for every dollar spent restoring the building.

Casa Urbana has 13,000 square feet. The garage, first-floor storage area and basement add an additional 5,000 square feet.

Other features include five indoor fireplaces and one on the roof; four full and five half-baths; four bedrooms, including three that have a balcony; an exercise room with a sauna; and a billiard room that reportedly was a "speakeasy" - an illegal barroom - during Prohibition.

Another feature, located in the foyer, is an inlaid wood floor made of several types of wood; it is designed to look like a Frank Lloyd Wright stained-glass window.

Now that Casa Urbana is nearly complete, the partners give special credit to John Conner, project manager; Janice Monteith and Pat Redenbarger, who assisted with design; and John Crispin, who restored the beautiful hardwood floors and did the foyer, which is up for an international award.

Adams and Ruckriegel are interested in memorabilia and pictures associated with the building's history, in particular when it was a hotel.

Those interested in renting Casa Urbana can contact Adams or Ruckriegel at (812)235-1145
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Old April 13th, 2005, 02:31 AM   #29
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Group Hopes to Connect City to Wabash River

Valley activist group looking to pull Wabash River into play in city's development

By Peter Ciancone/Tribune-Star

Terre Haute is a riverside community, but to most residents, the Wabash River might as well be invisible.

Emblematic of that fact, said Max Miller, are the concrete barriers that form the sides of the highway bridge across the river in downtown Terre Haute.

"You can't see the river when you cross the bridge," Miller said. "That's an example of how we take the river for granted."

Ignored for years, Miller and others believe it's time for the community to look at how the river might be fit more prominently into Terre Haute's landscape.

Miller is a team leader for the natural environment and community appearance team of Terre Haute Tomorrow, a group of local activists interested in improving the community. Among their points of emphasis: Finding ways to take greater pride in and make greater use of the river through town.

John Mutchner, former coach and athletic director at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, is chairman of a subcommittee focused on what the community might do along the river. With so many property owners along both banks, and with so many other critical changes afoot for the area, the team from Terre Haute Tomorrow is trying to make contacts, bring people together, develop community support for improvements and get the ball rolling.

"One of the things we have to do to get it started is to get people thinking about it," Mutchner said.

The vision might be anything, Miller said: restaurants, condominiums, homes, expanded recreational facilities, or combinations of them, but it has to start with community buy-in.

"Vision is key here, because right now that's all we have," Mutchner said.

They aren't asking for any public money, he said.

Many challenges, public and private, remain. Among the major ones: Terre Haute still must reduce its combined sewer overflow - an old construction technique that means Terre Haute, along with more than 100 Indiana communities, still allows raw sewage to flow into the river during heavy rains.

The city has 11 combined sewer outflows along the east bank of the river.

Troy Swan, sanitary engineer for the City Engineer's office, said the city's plans were submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in 2002, and while approval for some improvements already has been received, the city still is awaiting final approval for a plan that will eventually cost at least $40 million.

With a plan and community effort, the results are positive.

West Lafayette, Lafayette and Tippecanoe County formed a Wabash River Parkway Commission in the 1970s, said Norman "Lucky" Neiburger, a past president of the commission and a past president of the statewide Wabash River Heritage Corridor.

Before that commission got to work, and with the aid of a grass-roots group called Vision 2020, the Wabash River through that community created something out of nothing.

"It wasn't anything," Neiburger said of the river through Lafayette 30 years ago. "Basically, the river was something that was between West Lafayette and Lafayette. It was a dividing thing. Now it's a unifying thing."

The riverfront through that community now is host for festivals and river-based events and has helped revitalize parts of both cities.

Terre Haute can take advantage of the same opportunities, he said.

"That river is to Indiana what the mountains are to Colorado," he said.

Terre Haute Mayor Kevin Burke said he first learned of Terre Haute Tomorrow while deciding to run for mayor in 2002. He said the idea of a public/private partnership, bringing all elements of the city and county together, is the only way for the community to make something positive of the riverfront.

"We need each other," he said. "We need both sides of the river for this to work."

Burke said Terre Haute Tomorrow is a good venue for those different groups to come together.

"I truly believe it is our best chance of something taking place in our lifetime," he said. Acknowledging that the riverfront in Tippecanoe County has taken 30 years to get where it is, and is still a work in progress, he added, "Us not getting started now helps us how?"

Terre Haute Tomorrow traces its roots to a study commissioned by the Alliance for Growth and Progress in 2000.

Undertaken by George Puia, a former assistant professor of management and finance at Indiana State University, it pointed to areas where the community should concentrate resources to help Terre Haute grow.

The group brings together civic groups and private individuals who want to see Terre Haute grow, lose a negative image and plan for the future.

In September 2001, the group formed action teams in five areas of development: arts and education, economic development, communications, resources and funding, and natural environment and community appearance.

"It's slow, but sure," Mutchner said. "We don't need a bunch of experts from outside of town telling us what to do. It has to start from within, and it's happening."

Terre Haute Tomorrow teams are part of that activity.

"There are a lot of good things going on behind the scenes that people just don't know about," Mutchner said. "Instead of this veil of negativism that has hung over the city for so long, we're now seeking to make Terre Haute the can-do city."

For more information about Terre Haute Tomorrow, call (812) 232-2391.
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Old April 19th, 2005, 06:42 AM   #30
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Old Photos of Terre Haute, IN

Aerial view of Downtown, 1931

The Third Terre Haute House, 1933--Mae West sleeping here...

Terre Haute House Sign, looking west down Wabash Avenue, 1934

Second Terre Haute House, 1914

Warren Mcintyre Orchestra in the Mayflower Room of the Terre Haute House

Wabash Avenue, looking east from Tribune Building

Wabash Avenue, looking West from 6 1/2 Street (yes there are half streets in Terre Haute)

View from 6th and Wabash

West from 7th and Wabash

Wabash Ave, 1920

Wabash Avenue from the Terre Haute House, 1936 (a year before the General Strike)

Image of 1913 Flood, looking west toward Wabash River

Christmas Decorations on Wabash Ave, 1940

St. Mary of the Woods College, 1945

Washington HS Graduates, 1942--TH's segregated HS

Train arriving at Terre Haute Union Station, "the only station with a silo attached to it" --Will Rogers.

Eat-a-teria, 1941

Entrance to the Indiana Theater, 1941

The Root Department Store, 1914; This department store moved to the suburbs, and remained in business until just a few years ago.

The Second Terre Haute House, 1902

FDR speaking at the Big Four Station, 1932

Garfield HS Prom in the Terre Haute House Mayflower Room, 1942

Gone With the Wind at the Grand Theater, just north of the Terre Haute House, 1942

Interior of the Gillis Drug Store, Downtown, 1942

Interior of Church of the Immaculate Conception, St. Mary of the Woods, 1940

Knights of Columbus Bldg and the Terre Haute Tribune, 1929 (?)

Mother's Club at Gilbert Park, Central East Side, 1942

Markle's Mill and Dam; Today, the building is gone, only the foundation and the dam remain.

Cahill Grocery, 1942

Paitson Bros. Store--now a large hardware store serving the east side

Pet Show at the Boys Club, 1942. The Terre Haute Boys Club was founded after a generous grant from Madam Edith Brown, the wealthy owner of a popular brothel.

Race Track at the old East Side Fairgrounds. This is now Memorial Stadium.

Interior of the Race Track Restaurant

Old excursion riverboats passing under the Wabash Ave/National Road/US 40 Bridge.

St. Anthony's Hospital, on the South Side--where I was born. Now demolished.

Standard Hatcheries and Farm Supply Store, Wabash Ave, 1942

Terre Haute Commercial College, now the Swope Art Museum

Terre Haute Brewing Company Tanks, 1934--right after Prohibition ended. You can get local beer again in TH--"Champagne Velvet--the beer with the million dollar taste."

Tornado Damage, 1913

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Old April 19th, 2005, 07:02 AM   #31
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Wow. Look at how beautiful Terre Haute once was. Now, what a waste.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 06:38 AM   #32
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Officials review Terre Haute House proposals, say funding is key

Plans include making hotel an Embassy Suites

By Howard Greninger/Tribune-Star

Converting the Terre Haute House into an Embassy Suites hotel is the idea from Indianapolis-based The Puller Group Inc., one of five proposals city officials are now reviewing as a way to rejuvenate downtown.

It's a $19.9 million plan to convert the building at Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue into a 118-suite hotel, said Kenneth A. Puller, who founded the company in 1973. Puller is a 1959 graduate of Indiana State University and 1954 graduate of the former Gerstmeyer High School.

It's an idea the company has been working on for the past eight years and a concept that was discussed with former Mayors Jim Jenkins and Judith Anderson, Puller said, but did not move forward.

Mayor Kevin Burke in October announced the city had received an option on the Terre Haute House and the nearby Bement-Rea and Fort Harrison Savings & Loan buildings to seek proposals to renovate and/or demolish the buildings.

City officials received five proposals before the April 8 deadline.

The Puller Group's proposal includes an additional nearly $1.7 million project to convert the Bement-Rea Building into 23 large luxury apartment units, Puller said.

The Fort Harrison building would be torn down, with the building's facade saved. A three-story glass dome, with a pool, fitness center and arcade, would connect the Terre Haute House with the Bement-Rea Building, with residents of both buildings using the facility, Puller said.

"We also propose two restaurants and using the ballroom and meeting rooms in the Terre Haute House," Puller said.

The proposal, Puller said, includes providing space for Future Artists and Contemporary Educators Showcase Inc. aka FACES, an Indianapolis not-for-profit group that hires instructors to attract students for training in art. That art would be on display in a mezzanine in the Terre Haute House.

Hunt Construction Group would renovate the Terre Haute House, Puller said.

Hunt Construction Group, a subsidiary of The Hunt Corp., is the leading builder of sports complexes, including the Great American Ballpark for the Cincinnati Reds, according to Hoover's Online, a business information company.

Hunt Construction also works on aviation facilities, convention centers, office buildings, hospitals, hotels, industrial facilities and universities. It was founded in 1944 as Huber, Hunt & Nichols.

Puller said that while the Puller Group's proposal does not require it, he would like to see city officials become more involved, either by passing a Tax Increment Financing district that would return all property taxes back into improving that block of downtown, or a special district that returns all sales taxes.

The other four proposals include one by Haute Maison LLC, headed by Terre Haute native John Bischoff and attorney C. Joseph Anderson. They propose a $19.4 million project to convert the Terre Haute House into a 138-room Courtyard by Marriott. Funding would come from 11 different sources, the largest being a $6.5 million mortgage loan from Marshall Group.

Beaver Development LLC and City Properties Group LLC propose a $10 million project to convert the Terre Haute House into a privately owned luxury dorm for students at Indiana State University and restore ballrooms and conference rooms for public use. The Bement-Rea Building would be converted into 20 to 22 loft-style apartments, under that proposal.

The Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana proposed to spend $750,000 to $950,000 to rehab the Fort Harrison Savings & Loan Building into an office. The proposal does not include the Terre Haute House or the Bement-Rea Building

Mark H. Branaman, president and chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based engineering and surveying firm Congdon Engineering Associates Inc., said his company has a three-phase proposal.

The company would spend $150,000 to conduct an in-depth market research study to determine the best long-term catalyst for the downtown, which may include renovating the Terre Haute House. The company would use Colliers, Turley, Martin and Tucker, a national real estate marketing company for that study, Branaman said.

"We also believe there is a possibility that the city, while no such arrangements have been made, may be looking to move or build a new government center," Branaman said. "That would be a tremendous anchor to redevelop the downtown."

The company could help develop such a center as the second phase of its proposal. Then the property including the Terre Haute House could be renovated, if that is determined feasible under a market study.

"We have as a partner a larger major hotel chain developer. If a hotel is a part of it, we have the ability to do that with Royal Bank of Canada Dain Rausher and Great Lakes Financial. If the government center is part of it, it can work," Branaman said.

"I want to see something succeed there and succeed long-term," he said. Branaman is a 1984 graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School and 1989 graduate of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Whatever proposal is finally recommended, funding is the key element.

"We are looking at the proposals, but primarily with the financial aspects of each proposal," said Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp. "We are following up on every single piece of financing in each proposal. All [the proposals] are good ideas and fit well with the property. That is not the concern. We are focusing on the financial aspects to see where funding is coming from."

It will be a matter of weeks, but Witt declined to put any timetable on completion of the review. "We will provide the summary of our work in a report that will be presented to the city Redevelopment Commission," Witt said, adding that report will include a recommendation on which project will work best, based on criteria established in the city's request for proposals.

Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or [email protected].


-- A public "Terre Haute House Forum," with Downtown Terre Haute Inc. as host, will be staged from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Swope Art Museum near Seventh and Ohio streets.

-- Downtown Terre Haute Inc. Director Andrew Conner has contacted each of the developers who responded to the city's 90-day Request for Proposals with plans for the Terre Haute House and Fort Harrison Savings Association and Bement-Rea buildings.

-- The forum will be set up similar to a trade show, in which developers are willing to meet the public and explain their proposals, Conner said. Four of five developers are expected to attend, Conner said.

-- For more information about the forum, call Conner at (812) 239-3825.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 06:44 AM   #33
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Editorial, 4/20 Terre Haute Tribune-Star

The Future of the Terre Haute House

With interest high in hotel, so should city's efforts be

It's impossible to predict at this early stage in the city's redevelopment process just what the future has in store for the Terre Haute House.

Whatever happens, we take comfort in knowing there is no lack of interest in the grand old building's fate.

There has never really been any community ambivalence about the structure. The Terre Haute House is an important part of the city's physical and emotional landscape. And let's be honest. Lack of concern, real or perceived, is probably not what led the Hulman family to allow the building to sit empty and deteriorating the past 30-plus years.

There are many and varied forces at work. Most, if not all, are driven by money. It will take private investment funding, and plenty of it, to save the historic building. That is not a trivial matter. If it was, the building would have been put back into use long ago.

Renovating the 10-story hotel will be a risky business venture. Face the facts, Terre Haute is not a booming community. Our population and our economy have been stagnant. Putting millions of speculative dollars into an old downtown hotel will take about as much courage and creativity as it does cash.

With all that in mind, we applaud the five development groups that stepped forward last week to submit proposals for revitalizing the hotel. The city, under the leadership of Mayor Kevin Burke, holds an option on the building and has been given the opportunity by the owner to find a suitable way to deal with the building once and for all.

The city's Redevelopment Department solicited proposals, and the five plans submitted are more than twice as many as expected.

Knowing now just how much people care about the Terre Haute House and its place in the city's history should motivate redevelopment commissioners to work extra hard to find a way to make one of these proposals work.

While demolition of the structure remains an option if development proposals don't pan out, now is not the time to worry about those prospects. With so many people caring so much about putting new life into the Terre Haute House, we can only hope that this last revitalization hurrah will turn to be the best.
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Old April 28th, 2005, 08:31 PM   #34
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Terre Haute House Concepts Unveiled

Public receives glimpse of Terre Haute House proposals

Look at historic structure's potential future draws crowd to Swope Art Museum

By Peter Ciancone/Tribune-Star

About 100 Terre Haute residents attended a gathering Tuesday to study three possible futures for the Crossroads of America.

"I can't say that I'm surprised," said Todd Nation, a board member of DTH Inc., about the turnout. "This is clearly an important issue to the community. This is a direct response to the community's appetite for information about these proposals."

Downtown Terre Haute Inc. was host for the trade-show format in the Swope Art Gallery.

Developers showed two separate proposals to redo the historic building as a hotel/meeting place, and one proposal to create a luxury dormitory for Indiana State University.

A fourth potential developer, proposing a three-phase plan to first study the potential of the building, did not attend.

Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana also displayed its plans to restore the Fort Harrison Savings and Loan building that sits between the Terre Haute House and the Bement-Rea building on the corner of Eighth Street and Wabash Avenue.

David Beaver of Beaver Development LLC plans to invest about $10 million into creating luxury dormitory rooms for ISU students.

"We feel like we might as well capitalize on the market that is available," he said. The proposal would build about 250 rooms in the Terre Haute House, and 18 to 22 loft apartments in the Bement-Rea building. Their proposal originally involved the Fort Harrison building, Beaver said, but they would work with Historic Landmarks Foundation to accommodate the latter's plans.

Beaver said they also would restore the ballroom, making it available for community activities, and would have a multipurpose theater in the Terre Haute House that could be used either for films or for business presentation.

He said their plan would put 400-plus people in downtown 365 days a year, whereas the hotel proposals would bank on it becoming a destination, which was not a sure thing.

John Bischoff, from Haute Maison LLC, a Terre Haute-based developer that would turn the hotel into a Marriott Hotel, said his study indicated that it would become a destination.

"The product is so unique that you produce demand that isn't there now," he said.

Haute Maison's proposal to restore the lobby, ballroom and corridors to historic standards would allow them to claim historic preservation tax credits. On the upper floors, they would create 138 rooms from the original 250, and would have a pool and workout area in the vacant lot east of the Terre Haute House.

The Puller Group would follow similar lines to restore the hotel as Embassy Suites, with 23 luxury apartments in the Bement-Rea Building that would share the pool and amenities of the hotel, said Ken Puller. Their proposal also would build onto the hotel to the east for a pool.

Puller said it would be developing the hotel in coordination with an Indianapolis-based arts group.

"It will help grow the arts community that is already here," Puller said.

The Terre Haute House sits on Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue, an intersection commonly referred to as the "Crossroads of America" and one that connects two corridors already earmarked for state grant funds as a scenic byway or an arts corridor. Those plans have been slow to develop and execute.

"There's been a lot of talk about revitalizing downtown property," Puller said. "But if you don't start with the biggest property, it's not going to happen."

Mayor Kevin Burke, who did not attend the presentations Tuesday evening, said he expected the Department of Redevelopment staff to perform its due diligence in analyzing the proposals, and the Redevelopment Commission to make its decision based on the staff's work.

Dave Heath, president of the Redevelopment Commission, said he has had nobody tell him they would like to see the building torn down, but many have told him that they'd prefer it torn down if it is simply going to remain empty.

While he said the Redevelopment Commission will be looking over the proposals and recommending the one most viable, the developers still have alternatives if the city doesn't fail to exercise its option.

"I think we lose track of this. It's still a privately owned building," he said. The owner could entertain any of these proposals, or others that come along.

Heath said he expected to see some staff evaluation of the proposals at the Redevelopment Commission meeting in May.

The city received an option on all three buildings - the Terre Haute House, Fort Harrison Savings and Loan and the Bement-Rea Building - in October, giving city officials the ability to publish a request for proposals.

The city put out its request in January, receiving proposals April 8. They are currently under evaluation. The city is not obligated to select any of the proposals.

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said last week that each group presented a reasonable use for the property, but that financing would be a key element in the study.

No timetable has been set for selection of an alternative.

Peter Ciancone can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or [email protected]

Preservation on minds of those in attendance

Joanne Hammer/Tribune Star

Opinions were mixed during the Terre Haute House proposal presentations on Tuesday, but many said the Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission should choose any plan that preserves the historic building and provides feasible funding.

Out of the three plans presented for the renovation of the Terre Haute House, most of those interviewed preferred the hotel concept, presented by both Terre Haute-based Haute Maison Development LLC and Indianapolis-based Puller Group Inc.

Many favored Puller Group's Embassy Suites building, which would house a hotel, conference center, ballroom and retail space.

Receiving a less enthusiastic vote was the Indiana State University luxury dorm plan, presented by Brownsburg-based Beaver Development LLC.

"I like any plan that does not involve the wrecking ball," said Phil DeSanto of Terre Haute, who attended the presentation with his wife, Marianne.

Many attendees carried a stack of materials they planned to study and did not want to say what proposal they favored.

"The city has to understand they must help," said Nick Agresta, Terre Haute. "This old building is the heart of Terre Haute."

Terre Haute officials earlier this month received proposals to renovate and/or demolish the Terre Haute House, Bement-Rea Building and the Fort Harrison Savings & Loan Building in the city's downtown.

Five proposals were submitted:

-- The Puller Group Inc. A $19.9 million proposal to convert Terre Haute House into 118-suite hotel. It will be an Embassy Suites. Convert Bement-Rea Building into 23 large luxury apartment units under $1.7 million plan. Connect both buildings with three-story glass dome, with pool, fitness center and arcade. Tear down Fort Harrison Savings, but keep facade.

-- Haute Maison LLC. A $19.4 million project to convert Terre Haute House into 138-room Courtyard by Marriott. Restore ballroom and conference rooms.

-- Beaver Development LLC and City Properties Group LLC. About $10 million plan to convert Terre Haute House into privately owned luxury dorm for students at Indiana State University. Convert Bement-Rea Building into 20 to 22 loft-style apartments.

-- Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. Convert Fort Harrison Savings & Loan building into office space. Cost $750,000 to $950,000.

-- Congdon Engineering Associates Inc. Propose spending $150,000 on in-depth market research study to determine long-term catalyst for downtown. Proposes if City Hall moves, could develop new government center. If Terre Haute House feasible as hotel, would join with Royal Bank of Canada Dain Rausher and Great Lakes Financial.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 04:54 AM   #35
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That was a fanatastic grouping of historic photos! Really shows how great Terre Haute was. Times change and things decline, but I still don't think Terre Haute is all that bad of a place now....nothing like it was as its height, but its still a fair enough small city.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 05:07 AM   #36
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All five Terre Haute House options trashed; demolition likely

Terre Haute House options shot down

Mayor Burke says demolition of landmark will be considered

No one's home at this house: The Terre Haute House looms over downtown Terre Haute on Tuesday afternoon. A report issued Tuesday by the Terre Haute House Project Review Committee says that none of the proposals advanced for the rehabilitation of the Terre Haute House and the adjacent buildings fits the required financial criteria. (Tribune-Star/Elizabeth Goodman)

By Peter Ciancone/Tribune-Star

Not one of the proposals advanced for the rehabilitation of the Terre Haute House and the adjacent buildings fits the financial criteria the city placed in its request for proposals.

A report was issued Tuesday by the Terre Haute House Project Review Committee, made up of Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp. and Mike Kass and Phil Kessner of the Department of Redevelopment.

It read that no recommendation will be made to advance any of the five proposals, " Š due to the significant level of financial uncertainty that surrounds each project."

"In light of the criteria outlined in the [Request for Proposals], we believe that none of the proposals are adequate, therefore, no additional action of the Redevelopment Commission is required," the report concluded.

Mayor Kevin Burke, whose administration asked for an option on the property last year from its owner, Hulman and Co., sought the opportunity as a way to press forward with the future of either the building or the site.

Burke said he was disappointed in the findings.

"I'm disappointed. Like many in Terre Haute, I was hopeful," Burke said, adding that the report shed light on the difficulty of making the former hotel, empty for 30 years, into a financially feasible enterprise.

"As the report clearly outlines, what has happened in the previous decades has reared its head again," Burke said.

Developers' reactions were angry or indifferent.

"That's bull," said David Beaver, of Beaver Development LLC., of the report's conclusion that they lacked commitments on the majority of their funding. "For crying out loud, we don't own the building."

Beaver proposed building luxury student apartments in the Terre Haute House, commercial space and apartments in the Bement-Rea building, and renovation of the Fort Harrison Saving and Loan building between them into office space for Historic Landmarks Foundation.

The report said Beaver included no correspondence regarding a mortgage loan that would finance more than 70 percent of the work.

Beaver said the banks they work with have been partners with them for more than 10 years, and would provide the loan when they acquired the property.

"We're standing ready with our project," Beaver said.

Beaver said $1 million of their project would come from a grant from the owners to cover lead and asbestos remediation, and he was told by Witt that it would be available.

"That's ridiculous. I never said that," Witt said. Some talk in the past had been made of the owner providing some help with environmental remediation, but that commitment would have to be worked out between the developer and the owner.

The report included a letter from W.C. Brighton, of Hulman and Co., stating that the owners made no financial commitment to any of the developers.

Beaver also complained that no meetings were scheduled to allow him to explain his proposal.

"If they had asked for presentations, a lot of this would have been cleared up," Beaver said.

"They have to provide documents on their financial backing," Witt said. "They can't rely on rumor or innuendo."

John Bischoff, of Haute Maison LLC, who has been working on his proposal since 2001, said the report is " Š exactly what I expected."

Haute Maison's proposal would turn the Terre Haute House into a 138-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel. It does not reference the other two buildings.

Bischoff said they have had an "adversarial relationship" with City Hall for years over his efforts, and expected the report to downplay his proposal.

"It's a cover-your-ass document," Bischoff said. He said the only purpose served by the city's request for proposals has been to generate public interest in renovating the three historic buildings. Other than that, "We didn't go anywhere, I guess."

Bischoff said the report is an example of " Š the no-can-do attitude. If we were in Indianapolis, we'd find a way to do it."

Both Bischoff and Beaver said they'd be taking their proposals to Hulman and Co. outside the city's RFP process.

Burke said the lack of recommendation from the project review committee would not stop any of the developers from taking their proposals directly to Hulman and Co.

The report also evaluated the Puller Group's proposal, which would turn the hotel into an Embassy Suites Hotel, demolishing the Fort Harrison Savings and Loan, with the exception of the facade, to make a recreation area, and turn the Bement-Rea building into apartments. It too, failed to meet the committee's standards for financial support.

Representatives of the Puller Group could not be reached for comment.

The remaining proposals also were discussed, but neither recommended. One is from Historic Landmarks Foundation for renovation of the Fort Harrison building alone, and the other asks for further study about a possible location of a city government complex on the site.

With the option due to expire June 30, Burke said he would explore other options with the Redevelopment staff, including tearing the building down.

"We do need to find out what all is entailed in demolition," Burke said. "We need to research that. My purpose in taking the option Š was to remove urban legends."

The city announced in October that it had acquired the option. The Redevelopment Department asked for proposals in January, and received them April 8.

Peter Ciancone can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or [email protected]

Story created May 24, 2005 - 23:39:33 CDT.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 05:59 AM   #37
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Coming down...and going up?

The Terre Haute House is coming down, although there is talk that a new 7-story Hilton Garden Inn will be built on the site

Some pictures of the demolition, courtesy of terrehautehouse.net

The new hotel has not been formally announced yet, but if you go to http://www.dorabros.com/ and scroll over the Hilton Garden Inn icon at the top, you will see an image of a new hotel in Terre Haute scheduled to open in 2007...with the bad news comes some good...
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Old November 11th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #38
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Some last interior shots before demolition began...

Here are some shots my elementary school friend took, and posted on his website purplepug.com

The view from the roof, looking west at the Vigo County Courthouse

North, toward the campus of Indiana State University

East--the tower is the vantage of the WTHI Towercam

Love that paint job...

The hotel closed in 1970...

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Old November 11th, 2005, 08:32 AM   #39
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Plans for New Terre Haute House announced

Maybe not as nice as the old one, but definitely an improvement over an abandoned building. Link to the story is here .

Hilton to replace landmark hotel

Facade: The old signage of the Terre Haute House is being saved for use on the new structure that will rise from the rubble. (Tribune-Star/Bob Poynter)

New structure at Seventh and Wabash to keep Terre Haute House name; construction scheduled to begin in spring

By Peter Ciancone/Tribune-Star

If all goes well, Terre Haute will have a new Terre Haute House at the Crossroads of America in mid-2007.

A 127-room Hilton Garden Inn is planned at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue. Construction is planned to begin in the spring, with the hotel and convention center to open in summer 2007.

“It's not a done deal by any stretch,” said Tim Dora, co-owner of Dora Bros. Hospitality Corp. of Fishers, the company that will own and operate the hotel. “We have put a lot of work into this. Invested a lot of time and money. I'm pretty optimistic we can get this done.”

The hotel will include four suites, a Great American Grill serving breakfast and dinner, a lounge, indoor pool, fitness center and a 24-hour complimentary full business center.

The project will include 3,000 square feet of banquet room/meeting space: three 750-square-foot rooms, two of which can be combined into a large room, and two board rooms of 375 square feet each.

In spite of the renderings showing the design in a park-like setting, the hotel will be placed at the sidewalk of the corner of Seventh and Wabash. It will be designed to be a downtown hotel, and will carry the name Terre Haute House.

The hotel will cost about $12 million, Dora said. Dora Bros. will be working with Pinnacle Asset Management, a Bloomington, Ind.-based company, in the project. Details of the financial arrangements are not available.

Representatives of Pinnacle could not be reached for comment.

Greg Gibson, principal of Seventh and Wabash LLC, which owns the property at the corner, said he is not involved in the financial arrangements at this point.

“I'm going to make the property available,” he said. “I think it's a great thing - exactly what I hoped would happen.”

Gibson said he is working with Dora Bros. and Pinnacle to ensure the final arrangements come together quickly.

According to the Dora Bros. Web site, the company also does some of its own construction. Tim and his brother, Bob Dora, are principals in Prestige Building Co. LLC.

Additional details about the development are expected at a 10:30 a.m. news conference today at Clabber Girl.

Peter Ciancone can be reached at (812) 231-4253 or [email protected].

Mayor pleased new hotel planned downtown

By Joanne Hammer/Tribune-Star

The city's top official is pleased economic life will begin anew at the corner of Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue.

Construction for a Hilton Garden Inn is planned to begin in the spring, with the hotel and convention center to open in summer 2007.

“This is exhilarating news,” said Terre Haute Mayor Kevin Burke when called by the Tribune-Star on Thursday night. “I heard things were afoot, but there are no deals until everyone has signed.”

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., could not be reached for comment.

Burke said his hope was that a business in the private sector would make its home on the corner, increasing jobs, tax revenue and prosperity.

“I can very easily tell you one of our absolute goals was that something happened there quickly,” Burke said. “For the developer to have success in getting someone to take advantage of the opportunity before getting the building down is great.”

The deal has not been finalized, but the principals in the development are optimistic.

Burke said he is pleased a company showed interest in the site so quickly.

The city had hoped once the area was cleared it would take only a short time to fill the corner with something economically advantageous, but officials did not expect it to happen before the building was torn down, Burke said.

“When downtown prospers, Terre Haute prospers,” he said.

Although nothing can replace the memories made in the city's third Terre Haute House, Burke said he felt the name was appropriate for the new hotel and convention center.

“This is in the best interest of Terre Haute,” Burke said. “Now we will have something on that corner to make memories again.”

Joanne Hammer can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or [email protected].

Fast facts about the Hilton Garden Inn Terre Haute House

-- The six-story interior corridor will feature a restaurant offering breakfast, dinner and evening room service, pavilion lounge, heated indoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, 24-hour complimentary business center and 24-hour pavilion pantry. Enjoy dinner and drinks on the restaurant terrace.

-- The guestrooms will come with the following amenities: refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker, hair dryer, iron, ironing board, high-speed internet, electronic door locks, two dual-line speakerphones with data ports, large work desk with desk-level outlets, adjustable lighting and ergonomic chairs, free USA Today and alarm clock radio.

-- The 127-room hotel will include whirlpool suites, 3,000 square feet of banquet room/meeting space: three 750-square-foot rooms, two of which can be combined into a large room, and two board rooms of 375 square feet each.

Story created Nov 10, 2005 - 23:33:03 CST.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #40
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It is sorta sad. Thos cities have become very worn down looking and the just arnt cuting it. What would it take for a city like Terra hauteto begin to rebound from its current state or will it pretty much stay as it is?
Envy is the ulcer of the soul- Socrates
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