New Developer signs on to Hotel/Conference Center/Auto Museum project; Hotel will retain Hilton Garden Inn brand; public rooftop space and new public parking garage added
The planned hotel and conference center for downtown Kokomo has obtained a new developer, MWA Kokomo LLC, led by Vincent Dora of Dora Hospitality Group. The project will remain a Hilton Garden Inn with the same number of rooms but with the addition of a public rooftop space on top of the 6-story hotel. There will also be improvements to the look of the conference center that will tie it directly to Kokomo’s industrial history. Modifications to the design will provide a larger space for the Kokomo Automotive Museum.
Changes to the project will include the construction of a four level public parking garage with approximately 180 spaces and 2,400 sq. feet of retail space on the first floor. The garage, which will be located at the northwest corner of Superior and Union Streets, will have a Superior Street entrance, making it convenient to guests of the hotel/conference center and the auto museum.
Vincent Dora of Dora Hospitality Group, one of the partners in MWA Kokomo LLC, said Kokomo is a great location for this kind of development.
“With all of the changes in Kokomo, we knew this was a community we wanted to invest in,” Dora said. “The location, which is central to all the downtown amenities, will be attractive to visitors to the city. The amenities, including the new parking facility, really increase the appeal.”
Mayor Greg Goodnight said the additions to the project only enhance the attraction to out of town visitors.
“This important project is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said Goodnight. “The addition of new amenities, like a rooftop public space and a parking garage with retail space, takes the project to a higher level. It enhances the city’s ability to attract conferences and events as well as drawing new visitors to Kokomo.”
Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman is excited about the project and what it means to the city and county.
“This project is a transformational project for our community,” Commissioner Wyman said. “The addition of the hotel/conference center and a new space for the auto museum will enable thousands of people to visit and experience the great things Kokomo and Howard County have to offer. The addition of the parking garage will not only make it easier for guests of the Conference Center and those downtown for other events, it will also offer unique retail and restaurant opportunities. This whole project is going to be something really unique and enriching for our community.”
Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau board president Kirk Daniels said the hotel/conference center creates a valuable asset for Kokomo and Howard County.
“Our interest is attracting people from outside the community,” Daniels said. “Getting people to spend the night here, conduct business here and enjoy everything the community has to offer. But we also win because we get to have a new facility that will attract visitors and at the same time residents get to use it as well. It will be a great spot for events like midsize conferences, specialty meetings and trade association events.”
Construction on the project will begin this Fall with an anticipated opening in the Spring of 2021.