The 165-room Magnuson Grand Hotel is ‘checking out’ of the Chase Tower in downtown South Bend on June 13th.
While a business closing is seldom seen as positive news, this one appears to fall into that category.
“Sounds like this is good news for downtown South Bend. The fact is that moving one hotel out to make way for a flagship hotel to come in, put a brand name back on that Chase Tower will be really important for downtown South Bend, in particular, convention business,” said DTSB Executive Director Aaron Perri.
The Magnuson had operated a hotel in the city’s tallest building for the past two and a half years. It hasn’t exactly been a high point in the history of the Chase as the building went through a mortgage foreclosure that lasted years.
The closing is an indication that some serious and long overdue work will be done at the Chase -- work so comprehensive that the property manager told us today it could not be done without shutting down the hotel.
“I’d love to see substantial investment and to have it be a really viable going concern again downtown,” said St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea.
The Magnuson Grand has long been viewed as a second class citizen. When the city once considered contributing to a proposed Chase Tower renovation, such help was predicated on an upgrade in the hotel franchise.
“When meeting planners come to town and people are looking at planning conventions and conferences and things of that nature, they look for the quality of hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity, and unfortunately, the Grand Magnuson, as it currently is, really didn’t qualify as a quality hotel,” said Perri. “Unfortunately, we can’t bid on all the conferences and conventions that would potentially come to South Bend because we don’t have enough quality hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity, so as soon as we can get another 200, 300 rooms back on line that fit that parameter, that meeting planners desire, they’re going to start calling planners right away and booking those things,” said Perri.
The building’s new owner, Washington Square Realty, previously announced plans for $5.8 million worth of improvements.
In addition to the Magnuson, the Chase Tower has previously hosted a Ramada, a Holiday Inn, and an Albert Pick Motor Inn.