Renderings show dreary downtown building transformed - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Renderings show dreary downtown building transformed

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If plans unveiled Tuesday morning become reality, a much more modern hotel is exactly what downtown Evansville will get. If plans unveiled Tuesday morning become reality, a much more modern hotel is exactly what downtown Evansville will get.

A major development had arisen in the plans for a downtown Evansville hotel.

For the first time, we're seeing what the Old River House Hotel could look like after extensive renovations. 

When we first spoke about his vision for the Old River House Hotel last summer, new owner George Yerolemou said, "It's going to be very modern. It's going to be basically brand spanking new hotel when we get done because the renovations are going to be very, very, very extensive."

If plans unveiled Tuesday morning become reality, a much more modern hotel is exactly what downtown Evansville will get. Renderings show a now dreary and dungy building, transformed into an updated Comfort Inn and Suites.

In addition to changing the exterior facade of the building, the new plan also calls for getting rid of the balconies to make rooms bigger and also to upgrade the walkway.

"I think we're in a pretty good place. I think people, and even the people in the committee were appreciative of the fact that they're coming in, investing in our community, taking what is now an eyesore and kind of remodeling, renovating it so that it's now a usable piece of the downtown," said Shance Sizemore with Growth Alliance of Greater Evansville. 

Though most seemed to support Yerolemou's overall plan, the city's historic preservation officer, Dennis Au, voted against it. He's in favor of rehabbing the building, but isn't convinced this is the right look for the area.

"I would like to see more compatible architecture with the historic buildings. I'm not asking them certainly to rebuild a Victorian facade, but you know, some of the materials if it would blend in a little better. So there's a conflict," Au said.

"Our goal is to make sure we satisfy everybody and make sure everybody's happy with it," Yerolemou said.

The design review committee voted 4-1 in favor of moving forward with this plan.

Now, it goes to the Evansville Redevelopment Commission. Yerolemou says if everything is in order and approved by May, that's when work could begin with the hotel opening one year later. 

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