Demolition work underway at downtown hotel site

Demolition has started of the former Bartholomew County Court Services building between Second and Third Streets.

The project will allow the redevelopment of the larger property, which includes a former county government parking lot, into a hotel conference center and parking garage by the Columbus Redevelopment Commission. The lot is part of a land swap between the Columbus and Bartholomew County governments.

The city of Columbus and Bartholomew County governments partnered to move the location of the court services operations from the Third Street location to a new $3.7 million building behind the Bartholomew County Jail on First Street. In exchange for the county giving up the parking lot and old court services building, the city agreed to pay the first $1.5 million to construct the new court services building.

The city, through the redevelopment commission, also agreed to finance the rest of the cost over 15 years through a lease-purchase arrangement with the county. However, last year the county government decided to pay for the remaining $2.2 million cost out of its cash reserves. Officials said at the time that the early payoff would save three quarters of a million dollars.

Heather Pope, director redevelopment for the city of Columbus, said at this week’s commission meeting that work continues on design of the proposed garage, as well as conversations with Sprague Hotels, the potential developer of the hotel site, and Hunden Strategic Partners, who the city contracted with to conduct a market feasibility study into the need of a hotel conference center.

Photo courtesy of Columbus Redevelopment Department.