The building that housed the DOR office but still contains the KHCGCC and a trolley stop waiting area will eventually be torn down, Goodnight previously acknowledged.
Also lending credence to the hotel and conference center’s assumed location is a July 2017 presentation by Sparks that show, in preliminary plans revealed in PowerPoint form, a hotel on the east side of the property, along Union Street, with a main public entrance to the north on on Superior Street.
The plans show the conference center to the west, along Main and Superior streets.
One slide also notes the inclusion of an “American Grill” restaurant in the hotel. That is notable because Hilton Garden Inn hotels often contain a restaurant called The Great American Bar & Grill.
One example is the Hilton Garden Inn in Carmel, which has a restaurant with that name “serving a variety of fresh breakfast options and a delicious a la carte dinner menu,” according to the hotel’s website.
Part of the presentation – called “a conceptual design of what we’re pursuing” by Sparks – explained that 125 guestrooms are proposed within the hotel. The conference center, according to a PowerPoint slide, would encompass 12,000 square feet.
Also expected to be included in a downtown hotel and conference center is the Kokomo Automotive Museum. Wyman acknowledged in an interview during last fall’s Howard County budget sessions that the museum was a part of project plans.
“It’s a $22 million project, and $14 million of it is coming from the private developer,” Wyman explained. “The remainder is coming from the [Convention and Visitors Bureau], the city, the county and then the automotive museum guys will be putting a little bit in with a capital campaign.”
Wyman confirmed in May, in the lead-up to the museum vacating its longtime home in the Kokomo Event and Conference Center, that he still expects the automotive museum to be included in the downtown project.
But how long could construction take on such an extensive project?
In March, Goodnight said in an interview with Indiana Public Media that the development should take roughly one year to complete.
And the presence of a downtown hotel and conference center project, say local officials, could bring various events and conventions to Kokomo – moneymaking opportunities, in other words, that didn’t previously consider the city.
In his State of the County speech last year, Wyman said Kokomo has lost out on a number of 300- to 500-person conventions due to the lack of a conference center, sometimes referred to as convention center, attached to a hotel.