KCAC Hotel

Bolstering their public-private partnership and commitment to the development of the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, the Foundation for IUP and Indiana University of Pennsylvania announced today the selection of The Horizon Team to develop the hotel property connected to the KCAC.

The Horizon Team, a group representing Horizon Properties Group LLC and Summit Development Consulting Corp., was selected for the project by members of a committee of university and community leaders following a regional request for proposals.

“The committee is very pleased to select the Horizon team for this project,” Foundation for IUP Board President Chris Holuta said. “The Horizon proposal reflected the recommendations of the feasibility study completed by Hotel and Leisure Advisors of Cleveland, Ohio, and this team has a very positive reputation.”

Among the recommendations of the Hotel and Leisure Advisors feasibility study were that the proposed hotel be full-service and upscale and that it offer 140 rooms composed of both standard and upgraded suites. The study also recommended banquet and meeting spaces to complement the KCAC, along with a hotel franchise restaurant, lobby bar and a separate restaurant with its own identity. Other recommendations included the selection of Hilton, Marriott or Hyatt as a preferred franchise, and lobby retail space for a hotel shop.

In September 2007, the IUP Council of Trustees approved the authorization of a ground lease arrangement with the Foundation for IUP for the hotel. The hotel will be completed by March 2011 and will be owned by the foundation, a nonprofit organization.

“The university is grateful to the Foundation for IUP for its willingness to undertake this important component of the KCAC project,” IUP President Tony Atwater said.

The KCAC hotel project has been in the discussion phase since July 2007, when Atwater announced the intention for IUP officials to move forward with construction of a hotel connected to the facility.

“We know that the KCAC will be an economic driver for this community for decades to come,” Atwater said. “The addition of a full-service connecting hotel to the KCAC will promote its economic viability and its ability to serve the region. We have discussed several possible options on how best to proceed with this project in terms of building ownership.

“The public-private partnership we are enjoying with the Foundation for IUP for the housing replacement project known as the Residential Revival has been very successful, as has the partnership we have at the Punxsutawney campus for our residential building there.”

Horizon and Summit are based in Canonsburg. Their most recent hotel development projects include the Hilton Hampton Inn & Suites projects in Blairsville and Washington, Pa., and a Hilton Homewood Suites and Cambria Suites by Choice Hotels at Southpointe II in Canonsburg.

A separate marketing feasibility study about the KCAC completed by Brailsford & Dunlavey noted that the KCAC would increase demand for hotel accommodations well past the existing inventory of 440 hotel rooms in the Indiana area.

“The development of a first-class hotel will enhance the ability to attract event planners to fully utilize the KCAC as well as provide first-class accommodations for visitors to our community,” IUP Director of Hotel Development Samuel Phillips said.

“The Horizon team has a very strong history of development of the type of upscale projects that this important initiative requires.”