WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A major gateway to West Lafayette could soon be getting a major overhaul.
It's an empty field that may not be empty for much longer at the corner of State Street and Tapawingo Drive. Plans call for it to be replaced by a four-story Hampton Inn and Suites with 105 rooms to be built on 2.1 acres.
"That will be the first thing you see when you come over the river, which is why we have paid a lot of attention to the design of this project," says Area Plan Commission Assistant Director Ryan O'Gara.
Wabash Landing overlooks the empty plot of land. O'Gara says this is the busiest entrance to West Lafayette's central business district.
The design for the new hotel is more pedestrian-friendly than the Landing or nearby River Market, with parking behind the hotel and a larger green space area on the corner. In places, it's 50 to 60 feet wide on land, which is mostly public right-of-way.
"We're real excited because it presents the city a real unique opportunity to create a new welcoming gateway feature at this important location," says O'Gara.
The hotel proposal may just be the beginning. There are still almost 10 acres of land that can be developed on the grassy triangle here between Tapawingo and U.S. 231.
"I think that this project will probably be the first installment of others to this remaining acreage for this area to fill in," says O'Gara.
Which is why he says it's important to get this first development right. He adds it's taken about six months of work to get to this point, but it's been worth it.
"We're very pleased with the results. We are putting the finishing touches on it now. But I think we're excited to show the public," says O'Gara.
The public will get a look at the plans next week at the APC meeting July 17 where the developer has a rezoning request before the commission.
The developer tells News 18 the hotel is a $12-15 million development and is expected to create about 35 jobs. Groundbreaking could be as early as this fall or next spring, with completion a year after that.
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