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Hotel built around historic church opens in Indianapolis

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Sun Development & Management Corp., purchased the site in 2016.

A historic former church has been included in the design of a new hotel in Indianapolis.

The Hampton Inn by Hilton and Homewood Suitesrecently opened along the downtown Indianapolis canal. It sits on the site of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built in 1869.

The new hotel was designed and built around the church building, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The church, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, was the oldest African-American church in Indianapolis and played a key role in the city’s history.

Established in 1836, it hosted statewide conventions for Black people, recruited Black troops to fight in the Civil War, welcomed fugitive enslaved people and established a school, according to the Indiana Historical Bureau.

But in its final years, the church’s congregation struggled to raise enough money for repairs.

When Indianapolis-based Sun Development & Management Corp., purchased the site in 2016, it vowed to preserve elements of the church in the 231-room hotel’s design.

The developer and hotel manager said guests will be welcomed inside a remnant of the church.

The hotel has 123 Hampton Inn rooms and 108 Homewood suite rooms, and 11,000 square feet of event space, including a rooftop patio.

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