Full-Steam Ahead

Despite funding delays, Ben Hur project on track


Construction on The Ben Hur is on track to begin by the end of this year or early 2021, the developer said in a project update.

The five-story downtown landmark will be transformed into a boutique hotel and apartments with a restaurant on the first floor. Construction is expected to last 14 to 15 months.

“I know [the] hospitality [industry] was really hit hard by coronavirus,” Jon Anderson, president of AP Development, told the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners earlier this week.

“We’ll be open in two years or a little over and by that time there will be recovery, and because we’re a local boutique hotel and not by an interstate, I think we’ll be OK.”

COVID-19 isn’t expected to hurt demand for the concierge apartments, which will offer up to 1,000-square-feet of space. The company’s newly opened lofts in a renovated Huntington fraternal lodge are more than 60% full.

“We’re also pretty bullish on the apartments when we get this thing open,” Anderson said.

The project received $2 million in state tax credits and the company has received a local bank’s letter of intent for a construction loan, he added. The company also received financial incentives from the City of Crawfordsville.

Developers are working to secure about $2.5 million in federal tax credits for the rest of the funding.

Commissioners handed control of the long-vacant building to Anderson in August 2018, after years of searching for a developer.

The 107-year-old building, which was renovated during World War II, housed offices for the Ben-Hur Life Association and other professional offices until closing sometime in the mid-2000s.


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