VALPARAISO, Ind. – A 124-year-old school in downtown Valpo is gaining $40 million in incentives from the state of Indiana – plus $6.5 million in redevelopment tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation – to support Urschel Development Corporation’s planned conversion of the 1899 Gardner School into a boutique hotel. Urschel Development is a subsidiary of Urschel Laboratories.
Initial site work and demolition of the former gymnasium has been completed. A tentative timeline is for construction to begin in mid-2024 with estimated completion in early 2026.
The 124-year-old building transitioned from a school to a Boys and Girls Club in the early 1970s. Since the club moved into a new location in 2022, the building has stood vacant. The former school campus is located in downtown Valparaiso.
Urschel’s plans for the 58-room boutique hotel – to be named the Grand Gardner Hotel – include refurbishing the original building and adding wings on its east and west sides. A total of 65,000 square feet is part of the redevelopment scope.
The $40 million will come from dollars associated with the creation of a tax increment financing district, approved by the Valparaiso City Council in April.