New hotel plan nears approval

The Merrillville Plan Commission approved the first of two requests needed for construction to begin on a four-story Discount Holidays © Holiday Inn Express on the 8400 block of Mississippi Street. The OK for a 2-lot subdivision was made Tuesday with several conditions, including that it receives the town engineer’s final approval, and with the request that the developer, Lake Hotels LLC, use local union labor for construction.

“We can’t demand that you use union labor, but since it’s in a TIF (tax increment financing) district, we would highly recommend it,” said Councilman Shawn Pettit, D-6th, who also sits on the commission. The commission also asked that the developer bring a rendering of their proposed project to its July meeting, when the commission is expected to vote on the second needed request, for the hotel development itself.

The proposal does not need to go before the Town Council. Pettit recommended approval of the subdivision, saying its use is consistent with development already in the area. Developers had hoped to begin construction of the 91-room motel this summer, but their plans were delayed when it was discovered that a needed 2-foot wide strip of property running along one of the property’s borders belonged to another owner.

The closing for the sale of that strip of property to Lake Hotels was scheduled to take place Wednesday afternoon, according to the other owner, local developer Randy Hall.

The hotel would be built on a 2.2-acre portion of a 4.2-acre lot at 8460 Mississippi St.

Karen Caffarini is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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