SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — The Springfield City Council has again rejected a proposal to turn the downtown Wyndham Hotel into an apartment complex. Now the city’s mayor has said Springfield stands to lose millions of dollars.
Good Homes Co. developers wanted to take the Wyndham Hotel and turn it into modern apartments for young professionals in Springfield.
“There are very few opportunities. I mean if one wanted to rent an apartment today, there is zone 3 in Saint-Nicolas and again its income is limited,” said David Mitchell , of Good Homes Co., at the Springfield City Council on Wednesday evening.
After concerns that the hotel space was already pledged to upcoming conventions, the developers agreed to keep 100 hotel rooms on floors 3-11. They would also keep the hotel lobby, Starbucks, and amenities like an intact gym and restaurant.
“There will therefore be no visible difference in the actual approach to the hotel when you enter,” Mitchell explained.
But tourism officials fear the 100 rooms won’t be enough for the 26 conventions already contracted from 2023 to 2025.
“They chose downtown because of the proximity, convenience between the two properties connected to the BOS center as well,” warned Scott Dhal, director of Visit Springfield.
Now council members fear swapping hotel rooms – which are unoccupied for most of the year – for desperately needed downtown accommodation.
“A devastating blow to our downtown, our reputation, our conventions and everything. I think it’s a kiss of death,” Ward 7 Councilman Joe McMenamin told WAND News.
The mayor is also concerned that the owners of the Wyndham will sell the hotel, leaving the city without hotel rooms in the building. This could jeopardize millions of dollars in convention contracts.
“We’re talking $30 million, that’s a lot of money, a lot of resources, especially in the environment we’re in right now. So whatever we do will definitely impact conventions.” said Mayor Jim Langfelder.
The current owner of the Wyndham owes the CWLP $1 million in utility bills. Good Homes Co. said the payment would have been settled when the property was sold.
The current owners have told Mayor Langfelder they plan to sell the building to another apartment developer if the deal is not approved by council. The rezoning ordinance received the support of five aldermen, but needed seven votes to move forward.
WAND News will continue to follow this developing story.
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