INDIANAPOLIS — A group of women in Indianapolis has been working nonstop to create one of the most unique tourist attractions in Indianapolis.
The boutique hotel will be called Tiny Urban Escapes when it opens this summer in the Haughville neighborhood on Indy's near west side.
But the attraction it's gotten so far — and the impact it could have — is anything but tiny.
Robin Staten-Lanier is months away from her dream hotel opening. Tiny Urban Escapes is being built out of shipping containers and will be at the corner of West Michigan Street and Sheffield Avenue.
This would be only one of about seven hotels like this in the country.
"The repurposing of shipping containers is a new concept in the states," Staten-Lanier said. "It's been used overseas, not necessarily in hospitality. But what we found is a new type of construction and new building material or opportunity to be more sustainable, not only in traditional construction, but particularly in hospitality."
Staten-Lanier said they plan to bring in corporate travelers and provide opportunities for local businesses and community events.
Kionna Walker with Meticulous Design is the lead architect on the project.
"I knew that it was something new and different for the state," Walker said. "I'm just excited about it being a new project, but coming into it, I was even overwhelmed and even more proud to be a part of this because it's so historical," Walker said.
The hotel will be built out of four separate shipping containers with four different themes, with a gathering spot at the center.
Staten-Lanier said it will bring cultural heritage tourism to Indiana.
"Haughville is rich history, is rich in culture and is rich in tradition," Staten-Lanier said. "I thought what better location to be at the hub of culture, a historic place and an opportunity to bring impact back to that community."
Traci Bowman, who handles communication for the project, said when they first opened up online booking, the first three months sold out right away. She attributes that to the project's unique nature.
"We went to a few different locations to look at different shipping container builders," Bowman said. "That was very fascinating to see how they transform these containers. I knew early on that this was going to be massive, and this was going to be a major undertaking but also something that was going to be so fabulous when it was complete."
Because it's an all-female team mostly of color, Staten-Lanier feels the impact of the project and location will resonate with the city and visitors.
"I'm very strategic about lending opportunity to women and particularly women of color," Staten-Lanier said. "I think that what females bring to not only the hospitality industry, but each of their respective industries, it's uniqueness, a diverse opinion, a sensitivity that's needed."
The boutique hotel will open this summer. There's no exact date due to construction.
The containers are actually being designed off-site and will be moved onto the property.
There will also be an event space, bringing even more people into the area.