Crown Point-based Interior Image Group announced that it will help Urschel Development Corp. repurpose an old schoolhouse in Valparaiso.
Chesterton-based Urschel has plans for a new boutique hotel on the site. In May, Valparaiso City Council members gave the green light for the $39.5 million Grand Gardner Hotel.
“Our dedication to providing exceptional design, procurement and branding services has enabled us to become a respected full-service interior design firm, and we look forward to delivering captivating spaces that resonate with each client's unique vision,” said Patti Tritschler, president and CEO of Interior Image Group, in a press release.
The new hotel at 354 W. Jefferson St. will incorporate the ornate Romanesque-style turn-of-the-century building that was originally the Gardner School until 1972. Then it was repurposed into the Valparaiso Boys & Girls Club, with a gym later attached. A “land swap agreement” in 2021 with Urschel Development Corp. allowed the school property to be acquired. A new facility for the Valparaiso Boys & Girls Club was built at 708 Evans Ave. and opened in May 2022.
Jennifer Brooks, director of residential property and development for Urschel Development Corp., told the council the groundbreaking for the project was expected by summer and the construction project completed by late 2024.
The 67,000-square-foot Grand Gardner Hotel design will use the original school structure to house the lobby, kitchen, six guest suites and a speak-easy bar and lounge. The school was built in 1899, according the Valparaiso Economic Development. The new east wing will include 58 guest rooms and the mechanical and housekeeping areas. The new west wing will provide a banquet and dining area, a breakfast area, spa, fitness center, board room and meeting space and offices.
Brooks anticipates the hotel project will result in 24 full-time hotel employee jobs and 68 construction jobs.
Read freelance writer Philip Potempa's story on the Future of Valparaiso here. He contributed to this report.