On May 31, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry; local entrepreneur Barbara Bradley Baekgaard; Bashar Wali, President of Provenance Hotels, a Portland, Ore.-based hotel owner and operator; and local dignitaries ceremonially broke ground on a new 124-room boutique hotel in downtown Fort Wayne, the city where Baekgaard co-founded the iconic lifestyle brand, Vera Bradley, and grew it into a global leader in women’s handbags, luggage and travel items. The Hagerman Group is building the hotel, which is scheduled for completion in late 2020.
As co-owners of the project, Baekgaard and Provenance Hotels worked closely with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, Allen County Board of Commissioners, Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board, Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and the City of Fort Wayne to select the site of the future hotel, at the intersection of Harrison and Main Streets, and secure community support for the project. These forces aligned behind the community’s vision for the future of downtown Fort Wayne to pave the way for the development of this boutique hotel that will complement Fort Wayne’s adjacent Riverfront Development, phase one of which opens in August 2019, and The Landing, a boutique shopping, dining and residential development located across Harrison Street that is also opening this summer.
“The unprecedented momentum we’re experiencing in Fort Wayne is positioning us for continued growth and success,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “We appreciate the belief and commitment Provenance Hotels and Barbara Baekgaard are demonstrating by building a unique hotel for our community and region. Collectively, we’re a City on the move with excitement and new investment opportunities like never before. I’m so proud of the teamwork and dedication to making Fort Wayne a point of destination to live, work and play.”
“It has been my dream to open a hotel and create a place where Fort Wayne can come together to do business, celebrate life’s special moments and connect,” said Barbara Bradley Baekgaard. “With the support the community has shown for this dream, we are going create a hotel that reflects the pride we have in our city.”
“Over the past few years, working with Barbara and everyone in the Fort Wayne community, we have fallen – hard – for this city,” said Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels. “Fort Wayne is positioning itself for a bright, dynamic future and we are thrilled to contribute with a hotel that complements and enhances business, civic and social life.”
The hotel will have a marquee ground-floor food and beverage operation, rooftop bar and meeting space designed to serve as a nexus of the community as well as leasable ground floor retail space. Baekgaard will bring her design sensibility to the project and work closely with the Provenance Hotels team and Dutch East Interiors, the New York-based firm that has been retained to design the interiors. Dutch East has, in recent years, helped define the cutting edge of Midwestern lifestyle hotel design with their work on The Journeyman in Milwaukee and The Schofield Hotel in Cleveland. Now, they bring their talents to Fort Wayne in a new building designed by local firm, Elevatus Architecture, and built by The Hagerman Group, both of whom have been instrumental in bringing the project to this point.