Plans for a hotel at the corner of Eighth Street and Market Street have been in the works since 2009, but the new eight-story, 145-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites is now only showing its full volume. Since construction began earlier this year, the hotel by Dunn Hospitality Group of Evansville, Indiana, has skyrocketed, topping out in early October.
Located at 800 West Market Street, the project was originally part of Bill Weyland’s Glassworks district concept. Back in 2009 Weyland’s CITY Properties Group built the neighboring parking garage for the Zirmed Tower on the other side of the block, but plans for the hotel were put on hold.
In October 2014, Weyland sold the site to Dunn and the current plans emerged for the 87,000-square-foot, $18.5 million hotel. Weyland’s early plans showed an eight-story, L-shaped structure with a vehicle drop-off in a central courtyard. Somewhere along the line, Dunn Hospitality reversed that layout, opening up the drop-off to the street side of the building, reducing the amount of hard urban edge the project brings to Market Street.
The site previously housed a non-historic, single-story structure that once housed Goodwill Industries. That structure replaced a historic building that was demolished in the 1950s and Goodwill occupied the space until 1990. Later the site was purchased by River City Corrections and housed offices for the Sheriff’s vehicle inspection operation.
As can be seen in the photos, the first one to two floors of the project are clad in brick while the rest will be covered in a faux-stucco material. The structure was built with styrofoam panels infilled with concrete, meaning the building should be sturdy and well insulated once open. Windows were installed quickly after each floor was completed and work began on the next.
Strangely, on the Eighth Street facade, ill-proportioned sidewalk windows won’t be doing the Eighth Street any favors in promoting active street life. The hotel offers basic business amenities such as free wifi, a fitness center, and meeting rooms, but no retail is planned in the structure.
While the new structure is no architectural wonder, it does give weight to a corner that badly needed it. Even with the new hotel, two other corners are surface level parking lots and a third is a setback office building from the 1970s or ’80s.
Even with the erosion of the urbanistic moves from the original master plan concept, it’s still actually better than Kindred’s utterly crap-tacular HQ ‘building’ on 4th Street.