by Kerstan Szczepanski
Read in Q4 Issue HERE .
City and tourism officials celebrated the construction of a 143,500-square-foot center expansion and an 800-room hotel as part of strategic downtown growth.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Visit Indy President & CEO Leonard Hoops were joined on August 1st by community leaders, project representatives, and some of the city’s largest convention clients to break ground on the sixth expansion of the Indiana Convention Center (ICC) and the construction of a new convention hotel. Key convention customers in attendance included leadership from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Performance Racing Industry, Indiana Black Expo, the NFL Scouting Combine, National FFA, Percussive Arts Society, College of Sports Medicine, and Gen Con.
While foundational work to redevelop the former Pan Am Plaza began last year, the event marks the official start of the construction phase of the project.
“Over the past decades, the Indiana Convention Center has hosted some of the most iconic large events in Indiana and America, while generating billions of dollars in economic impact and supporting a hospitality and service sector with over 80,000 jobs,” says Mayor Hogsett. “This latest expansion and hotel addition will keep Indianapolis at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to the perfect host venue—and city.”
With completion anticipated for the summer of 2026, the ICC expansion will house one of the top-10 convention center ballrooms by size in the U.S. and the additional event space needed to host two citywide conventions at one time. A skywalk over Capitol Avenue will connect the expansion to the existing convention center.
Along with the new convention space, a 40-story Signia by Hilton will be built on the site. This new convention-focused hotel will become the tallest hotel in Indianapolis, transforming the southwest Indianapolis skyline.
“I truly feel our skyline will continue to grow!” says Patrick Lancaster, President and Owner of Lancaster Management Services, an Indiana-based I and D company. He is enthusiastic when ECN asks about the expansion. “The wonderful people and businesses of Indianapolis will continue to display the well-known Midwest hospitality that travelers from all around the world have come to love. Indianapolis is taking shape to be the crown jewel of the Midwest, and at Lancaster Management, you will find that we are an extension of that passion.”
Once completed, it will bring the total number of hotel rooms connected via climate-controlled skywalks in Indianapolis to more than 5,500, more than any other city in the U.S.
“At Hilton, we’re always looking to meet our ever-evolving guest needs with the right hotel in the right destination at the right time,” says Teddy Berlin, Brand Leader, Signia by Hilton. “Indianapolis is an ascending and dynamic city for sophisticated business, leisure, and group travelers. With Hilton’s pipeline of 15 hotels in the market, we’re excited to see the progress of this incredible project and to continue playing an integral role in the city’s hospitality growth and success.”
The groundbreaking is the result of more than nine years of planning, including a three-year feasibility period that showed significant demand for this project. The hotel’s 800 rooms will provide the additional hotel room inventory that several of Indianapolis’s cornerstone conventions need to keep their growing events in the city.
“This expansion and new headquarters hotel not only enhance our city’s skyline but help us keep our largest annual customers, allow us to more effectively host multiple major events simultaneously, draw new four- and five-star event business, and drive more Hilton-loyal groups to the city,” says Hoops.
“We will be looking at and targeting any show that comes to Indy,” Lancaster declares when ECN asks which of those shows the I and D company will be working on in the next five years. And he means any show. “Being here 20+ years, this market was the reason for our original slogan, ‘Creating large market services in small market centers.’ Even though Lancaster Management is a national Labor Management company, we take pride in our ability to perform at a high level in hard-to-reach locations.” Lancaster Management also takes pride in their home city. “We consider any event that comes to Indy an obligation to model our abilities after the wonderful city Indy has become.”
The last ICC expansion was completed in 2011, built in conjunction with the 1,005-room convention headquarters hotel, the JW Marriott.