VALPARAISO | The city's downtown is getting a new feature in 2013: a place to stay downtown that overlooks Central Park Plaza.
Paul LoDuca, owner of Pikk's Tavern, plans to convert two vacant apartments above his restaurant into suites for overnight stays by visitors. The plans will be presented to the city's Site Review Committee on Tuesday.
Architect Brent Wagner said the space now is used for storage for the restaurant, but LoDuca thinks the economic climate is warming to the idea of a bed and breakfast.
"He thinks there is a market for people coming to Valparaiso for weekends or during the week that will support it," Wagner said. "Each suite will have a seating area, bedroom and a bathroom."
Each suite will be 500 to 600 square feet. The front unit overlooks the park. He said LoDuca doesn't plan to start the project until after the holidays.
"Other people have kicked around the idea of doing a small bed and breakfast, and I'm glad he's doing this because I think the town can support it," Wagner said. "The prices will be competitive with what the hotel rates are in town for a night."
Matt Murphy, the city's economic development director, said, "The concept is something that was talked about by HyettPalma, and it is something we're really excited about. With all the improvements to the downtown and the restaurants, it's not a surprise people in that industry are interested in something like that.
"Having a bed and breakfast lends itself to all the amenities we have downtown," Murphy said.
LoDuca said the venture will be more of a B & D — bed and dinner. Visitors won't be able to get breakfast, unless they visit Pikk's Sunday brunch. Instead, he's hoping they will have dinner in the restaurant.
He plans to spend $50,000 to $75,000 retrofitting the suites.
"Downtown Valparaiso is really coming around with the park, the opera house and the restaurants, but there is no place to stay downtown," he said.
He said he decided during the last Popcorn Festival to do the project and hopes to have it ready before the next festival in September.