Would new hotels help Indy land Super Bowl or hurt current hotels’ business?

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INDIANAPOLIS – No doubt, Indy was a ‘super’ host city in 2012 – but if there was one complaint it was this – that the city’s downtown didn’t have quite as many hotel rooms as some would have liked.

But soon there could be more.

“I think it would be a nice addition, but it’s certainly not a requirement,” said Super Bowl committee chair Allison Melangton in a Wednesday news conference, where it was officially revealed that two new downtown hotels were potentially in the works as part of the city’s bid for the 2018 Super Bowl – at Pan Am plaza and at the Illinois Building near the circle.

“I think that would be great,” said Lori Marti, who works downtown. “I think it would bring a lot of new interest to downtown.”

“I think it’d help a lot having more hotel space,” said Dave Lamb.

But some in the hotel industry are worried.

“Certainly we would fill the rooms during the Super Bowl, but what do we afterwards?” asked Stan Jacobs, director of sales and marketing at the Omni Severin. “The hotel community is obviously a little concerned.”

But local officials point to numbers which show the city’s hotel occupancy rate climbing from 65 percent to 70 percent over the last few years, even as new hotels like the JW Marriott and The Alexander have opened in the Downtown area.

Tourism officials say that’s because the Super Bowl has helped boost the city’s convention and tourism business.

“If Visit Indy does its job and books bigger larger and more conventions, we’ll be able to fill the hotel rooms,” said Visit Indy’s Chris Gahl. “If we can sustain that and keep doing our job, we believe down the line there will certainly be the demand.”

Earlier this week, Kite Realty Group Trust, which owns the Pan Am property, told Fox 59 it has no time line in place yet for developing the property.

Sources tell our partners at the Indianapolis Business Journal developers plan to build two twin towers, for possibly two hotel brands, with upscale condominiums and retail space.

Pan Am’s location may be prime. It’s a block away from Georgia Street and the Convention Center; just minutes away from Lucas Oil Stadium.

An official with Keystone Realty Group LLC, provided this statement Thursday about the plans for their Illinois Building property.

“We are in the initial planning phases for redevelopment for the Illinois building at this time,” said vice president Michael Patarino. “We are very excited about the opportunity for Indy to host another Super Bowl and while no final plans for the building have been made, we hope to finalize soon.”

Many fans hope the plans for both sites could set Indianapolis apart from 2018′s Super Bowl bid finalists Minneapolis and New Orleans.

NFL owners will decide on a host city for the 2018 Super Bowl later this month at the owners’ meeting in Atlanta.”