The Bethel AME Church is four blocks north of the ICC on West street. An easy and safe walk to the show site. Two more hotels to serve downtown.
Downtown hotel plan incorporates black church
April 2, 2016
The Bethel AME church on Vermont Street was built in 1869 to serve the growing number of blacks arriving from the South following the Civil War. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)The city’s oldest African-American church is poised to become a hotel as part of a larger, $30 million project that could add more than 200 rooms to downtown’s lodging inventory.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church at 414 W. Vermont St. on downtown’s west side was built in 1869 and has served the black community at its current location for nearly 150 years. But dwindling membership and an aging building requiring costly repairs are forcing the congregation to sell the historic property near the Central Canal.
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Church leaders have reached an agreement with local hotelier Bharat Patel’s Sun Development & Management Corp., which has the site under contract.
Sun’s plans for the Bethel site call for two hotels—one a redevelopment of the historic church building and the other to be built next to it on a lot fronting West Street. The second hotel would include three levels of parking and roughly 10,000 square feet of retail space.
“I think it will be a dynamite development along the canal,” said Patel, Sun’s CEO. “That quadrant [of downtown] doesn’t have enough hotels.”
The closest are the Marriott’s Courtyard at the Capital and its Residence Inn, both across the canal from Bethel.
Patel expects the two hotels will total about 200 rooms and serve visitors to IUPUI, the hospitals on the campus, and the NCAA headquarters along the canal to the south.