City unveils first hotel at Grand Park and plans for future development
For the second time in three weeks, Westfield has announced a significant private development plan in the vicinity of Grand Park Sports Campus. The Cambria Suites and Hotel will be located in the Grand Park Village development across 186th Street from the sports campus.
“It’s a huge day for us, we’re going to double the number of hotels in Westfield overnight,” Mayor Andy Cook said. “They were really the first ones to recognize the hotel demand. … The industry is just now recognizing the demand – whether it be hotels or restaurants, even though it’s very obvious to us.”
Cook said development can be seen in the northwest quadrant of Westfield with a couple of fueling stations planned and a number of new restaurants popping up.
“We had anticipated 500,000 visitors to Grand Park in its first year. As of last week, we had topped 870,000 visits to this park in its very first year,” said Cook. “They need someplace to stay. Right now, we are utilizing hotels from all throughout Hamilton County, Indianapolis, Lebanon, Kokomo and Anderson. We’re very excited to announce our first hotel right here in Grand Park.”
The 110,000-square-foot Cambria Suites and Hotel will feature 150 rooms, described as oversized suites with plenty of space to work and play. The hotel will feature 5,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. It is being developed as a joint venture of Ceres Enterprises LLC and Orlean Group LLC.
“The rooms are approximately 400 square feet with walk-in showers,” said Davis Crisafi of Ceres Enterprises, adding that Cambria Suites has a hotel in Noblesville and plans for others to open in Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York. “We think this is one of the premier developments in the country when it comes to the youth sports industry.”
Developer Steve Henke has been working on attracting a hotel for the past two years and said this is not just a resource for family travelers.
“They also see the hotel as one that will attract a lot of business travelers because, with U.S. 31 being upgraded, you’re only probably nine or 10 minutes from I-465,” he said. “During the week, they feel very comfortable they will have a lot of business travelers when tournaments aren’t going on.”
In addition to Grand Park amenities, Grand Junction Plaza and Park and downtown Westfield will offer local options to guests.
“It’s creating more than just a sports environment,” Cook said. “It’s truly creating a destination environment. In order to have a destination, you have to have the key ingredients of hospitality – restaurants, shops, entertainment and, as of today, hotels.”
What the announcement means
Cambria Suites is the second hotel in Westfield, the other being Rodeway Inn near Cool Creek Park, which is undergoing major renovations.
“The people who have visited Grand Park this year have been forced to stay outside of our community,” said Matt Skelton, Westfield’s economic and community development director. “There are several ripples of economic impact that are created by being able to have overnighters stay in our community.”
Skelton said the ripple’s two pieces are economic and logistical.
“People who visit here, stay here,” he said. “They’ll shop here. They dine here. That’s the economic development component.
“From an urban planning standpoint, people will be able to come here, park at their hotel and one day not have to rely on their individual vehicles for transportation. This helps to bring that vision a little bit closer to a reality.”
Skelton said the number of business inquiries the city has received has tripled since the Grand Park project started.
“You can see the things that come out of the ground. For every one of those, there are probably 20 legitimate inquires,” he said. “We’re just getting started. This is just the first of many.”
Westfield Hospitality Coordinator Rhonda Daly said hotels are one of the top two industries she wants to bring to Grand Park.
“I’m getting requests for hotel stays, where can we eat?” Daly said. “Obviously, one of the reasons Grand Park was created was to draw this type of business onto the ground and therefore elevate both the presence and economic development to Westfield.”
Daly said hotels are one of the biggest economic drivers for the city.
“Once people see that Cambria Suites has elected to stake their claim at Grand Park, others will follow,” she said. “It’s a great inaugural hotel coming out to our area. More will follow.”
The future growth of Grand Park
Henke, the developer, said the new businesses along Ind. 32 such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen and Big Red Liquors help bring development to Grand Park.
“I think the ripple effect is really positive because one person comes and (then) another entity comes,” he said. “The indoor basketball and volleyball facility announcement only encourages more development like this because you have even more people coming in for events and tournaments. Not only do you have Grand Park visitors, but the whole community supporting new businesses and restaurants because Westfield is three times the size it was 10 years ago.”
While no plans are being discussed publicly, officials have a few more under wraps.
“There are a couple more things coming,” Henke said. “There’ll be one or two probably coming in the next few months.”
Cook said the future for Grand Park is bright because it offers something unique in the industry.
“What will make this so much more unique and will give us a very sustainable building market is I’m not familiar of any other facility except perhaps Disney’s Wide World of Sports where the sports facility has all of the hospitality industry around it. That’s what makes it truly, truly unique,” he said.
As announcements are made, Cook said the industries in Westfield will evolve.
“First of all, we’ll see the hospitality industry,” he said. “Secondly, I’m quite assured you’ll see sports-related industries – sports medicine, sports research, sports equipment and sports training. You’ll see those businesses looking to locate here. Third are the various types of smaller, family-owned industries, be it manufacturing or engineering … owners that live here and love the family environment of Westfield.”