Evansville's downtown hotel project faces a major delay after a longtime developer seeks to have the name of the hotel changed. Tristate hotel developer, John Dunn, CEO of Dunn Hospitality, files a request with Hilton to withdraw its franchise agreement for the new downtown hotel.
Dunn says, he believes, the hotel could impact his hotel properties. Mayor Winnecke says the city will push forward on the project.
"This is just one little hiccup that we're going to work through," says Mayor Winnecke. Evansville's downtown hotel project comes to a halt after a longtime hotel developer files a complaint. "It's unfortunate that we have this delay, but we will work through this like we have worked through other issues in the past," says Mayor Winnecke.
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke addresses the project's latest battle after Dunn Hospitality Group files an objection requesting Hilton withdraw it's franchise agreement for the downtown Double Tree Hilton hotel.
"We're concerned greatly about the potential impact to our two Hilton brand hotels." Dunn Hospitality group owns Hilton linked hotels in Evansville.
CEO, John Dunn, says he's afraid the downtown hotel will hurt his business. "If this hotel is successful in obtaining the numbers they project they are going to drive, that means our hotels will suffer four million dollars less," says Dunn.
Mayor Winnecke does not believe existing Hilton brands will suffer with Double Tree being a new name to the area. "Clearly the Dunn Hospitality Group is entitled to their opinion, but we believe it will actually benefit the community and not hurt," says Winnecke.
Mayor Winnecke requests Dunn withdraw the protest. For now, Hilton will conduct a market analysis delaying construction 60 to 80 days. "They have faced this in other markets. This is not a first time occurrence for HCW. This is sort of typical in that industry, and they are confident, based on their discussion and prior experience, that the Double Tree brand will be approved in Evansville," says Winnecke.
Dunn made it clear this request is not against the city, but against a competing Hilton hotel. Mayor Winnecke said he would be willing to sit down with Dunn Hospitality group, and talk about the issue.Winnecke says the city is committed to the original completion date for fall 2015.