Columbus to look for new downtown hotel developer

The city of Columbus and the proposed developer of a downtown hotel and conference center are parting ways.

The city redevelopment department is announcing that Sprague Hotel Developers will no longer be working with the city to build the project across the street from the Bartholomew County Jail.

The property between Second and Third Streets is owned by the city redevelopment department and contains a county government parking lot and was the former site of the county court services building. That building was demolished in April.

The city’s Envision Columbus Downtown Strategic Plan from 2018 called for a hotel and conference center in the downtown area, and market and feasibility studies still show a need for such a facility. Sprague has been the builder associated with the project since proposals were sought in 2019. But the pandemic put the project on hold as hotel use plummeted.

City officials say that planning for the project picked up again last year, however the city and Sprague were not able to come to an agreement. The city plans to continue to move ahead with the project as a priority.

Photo: The former Bartholomew County Court Services building is torn down in April. Photo courtesy of  Columbus Redevelopment Department.