Miss Universe? Miss America?

Dateline: Wed 20 Dec 2006

There's a lot of smoke roiling around Indianapolis yesterday and today over the decision to choose to build a ho-hum Marriott Hotel over a classier, taller, red-granite and glass InterContinental Hotel number.

A Downtown commitee announced the choice yesterday, and the complaints have been pouring in ever since. Politically, Mayor Bart Peterson is getting a black eye for siding with a richie Republican developer, Dean White of Merrillville, vs. the civic-minded, Indianapolis Democrat Michael Browning -- whom the Star identifies as one of Peterson's top backers.

What is going on?

The Star's story this morning indicates the Marriott had the inside track because of its timeline -- the goal is to get this baby up in time for the NCAA 2010 NCAA men's finals.

But many critics are unhappy not only with the politics but with the aesthetics. Indy blogger Christopher West is all over the arts scene, and he's got a very good posting about why this is such a second-rate decision.

Here is the link to Chris's blog.


Check out the comments he's included from some Star readers:

"Another faceless box that blends into the landscape. Good choice. Way to really WOW the convention world. Jeez. Terrible. - John, Indianapolis"

"Once again, small-town vision results in a small-town choice. Just like the Airport, the Stadium and most other major projects in Indy, this has no architectural value and keeps Indy where I guess it belongs--second tier. - Tom, Indianapolis"

The Star quotes retail broker Bill French of Indy on the two hotels.

"It was like choosing between Miss Universe and Miss America," he said.

Hmm. Looks like the less exotic and more apple-pie Miss America won.

It's all very interesting, but here is what I want to know: when is Greencastle in Putnam County going to get a Target? We're stuck with Wal-Mart out here (Miss America). And fyi, if Mr. Browning wants to put his fancy hotel someplace else, the western part of the state could use a push.

comments: ruth@ruthholladay.com


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