March 27, 2018
By end of the year, Jasper will likely have another hotel downtown.
The 84-room Fairfield Inn and Suites by General Hotels Corporation of Indianapolis that is part of the River Centre development on the Patoka River is on track for completion this winter, said Michelle Laird, General Hotels Corporation director of marketing. The rest of the development, which will repurpose the Jasper Cabinet building into apartments and retail space, is scheduled for completion in 2019. The entire River Centre development represents a roughly $30 million investment in Jasper.
Right now, passersby on Third Avenue can see towering cement block structures where the hotel will be. Those are the fire escape and elevator shafts, said Jim Dora, General Hotels Corporation president. They will add stability to the final structure.
“That’s typical construction,” Dora said.
When the hotel is complete, those cement towers will not be visible.
Inside the Jasper Cabinet building at the other end of the development, crews have been working on interior demolition to get the bottom floor spaced out for retail and restaurant tenants. Jane Hendrickson of Indianapolis-based Boxer Girl LLC, the project’s developer, said she has several tenants confirmed to move into the building when it opens in 2019. Right now, she is working with her future tenants to finalize their spacing needs and will be ready to announce in April what businesses will open in the development. Hendrickson expects construction on the Jasper Cabinet building to begin this summer.
“We’re doing a lot of the pre-work that’s needed before construction can start,” she said.
In addition to the buildings, the development includes several other improvements to the area such as 200 parking spaces and work on the surrounding riverbank, roads and railroad track. The work on the railroad tracks is visible from Third Avenue. Passersby can see the track as it is encased on concrete, making it require less maintenance and take up less space. The railroad’s smaller footprint will allow a two-lane road to run through the development. In January, the Jasper Board of Public Works named the road River Centre Landing.
The railroad work is expected to be complete in May and will add to the walkability of the development once it’s completed.
“A lot of things (are) in the works,” Hendrickson said. “We want to do it the right way the first time.”
Hendrickson announced the plans for River Centre in October 2015, and work on the development began with demolition in February. A groundbreaking ceremony for the hotel was held in October.
River Centre is one of 19 public and private projects underway in Jasper. Altogether, Mayor Terry Seitz estimates the projects total over $200 million of investment in the city. Citizens can access more information about all the projects through the “Mapping Jasper’s Progress” link on the city’s website, jasperindiana.gov.