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Hotel won't use former Hall of Fame in South Bend, but company sure something will

A company is building a hotel in downtown South Bend. // WSBT 22 photo

The former College Football Hall of Fame is no longer going to be a part of a more than $12-million hotel project in downtown South Bend. But according to the hotel developers, they will be connected.

JSK Hospitality purchased the Hall of Fame in 2015 for $1.2 million. They originally intended to incorporate it into the more than $12 million hotel project being built next door.

The Marriott Corporation was not in favor of that plan, so now they are looking to lease the former hall for something else. The Courtyard by Marriott across from Century Center is well on the way to completion.

Dan Boecher, Vice President for Asset Management and Development for JSK Hospitality, says on average workers are framing one floor every 10 days, and they're on track to be finished and open by the end of the year.

They had intended for the hotel lobby to be inside the former hall of fame, but now that's not going to happen.

"There was something from a life safety and fire separation standpoint that Marriott Corporation was not in favor of, and so that required us to have all parts of the activities and programming inside the hotel within the four walls," Boecher said.

They say the front door of the hotel will now be connected to the former hall of fame by a covered walkway. Hotel guests will be able to go from the hotel, to the hall and then to the Century Center through a walkway over Martin Luther King Drive.

JSK says they still plan to take over the building, relocating their corporate offices from Roseland. But they are looking to find another use for the building.

"We've had a couple of good prospects that we are continuing to work with, but at this time we just have not been able to find the right fit from an economic standpoint as well as the usage standpoint, and we're going to find it to go along with our corporate offices there. We just haven't been able to nail that down just yet," Boecher said.

Boecher says JSK does not intend to back out of the deal they made with the city when they decided to buy the building.

"There's no chance of that happening. We are fully engaged with this project,” Boecher said. “We feel the considerable investment we're making in the hotel is going to be tied to this building forever."

Previous ideas for the building included a casino, Bible museum, hotel, rock-climbing gym, and culinary center. The hotel spokesman says no matter what the space becomes, they hope to have both projects completed at the same time.

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