With the new coronavirus pandemic leading to a virtual halt of travel, Carmel is preparing to delay the opening of Hotel Carmichael.
The 122-room boutique hotel was set to open in May, but Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said it will be delayed.
“People aren’t going to be traveling,” Brainard said March 16. “We’re going to delay opening so we don’t have staff expense.”
Carmel Redevelopment Commission Director Henry Mestetsky said his team will follow recommendations of hotel management and consultants on the optimum opening time.
“It won’t be in May, but we have to track this on a monthly basis and provide updates,” Mestetsky said.
Ten management employees have been hired for the hotel in roles that needed to be filled before the opening. Other employees have not been hired yet, and those hirings will be put on hold for now, Brainard said.
Mestetsky said hotel construction remains on schedule with completion likely in mid-May.
“But the situation is fluid,” he said.
The hotel, a public private partnership between Carmel and developer Pedcor, came under scrutiny in February after the city issued a press release announcing the project would cost $58.5 million, approximately 46 percent more than originally estimated in 2017.
The Carmel city council set three special committee meetings to investigate the cost increase, originally scheduled for March 18, 25 and April 1. Those meetings have been postponed indefinitely.
With interest rates dropping in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Mestetsky said the hotel will save approximately $573,000 per year in interest payments. He said the CRC negotiated a variable rate interest on the loans rather than a more traditional fixed rate used in most hotel deals.
The global pandemic has also led to a date change for the International Making Cities Livable Conference, which was set to make its Midwest debut June 2 to 6 at the Center for the Performing Arts. Mayors, researchers, economic development experts and others involved in city planning from around the globe were expected to attend.
Brainard said the event could be delayed until August or rescheduled for 2021.
“It’s definitely coming to Carmel,” he said.