FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder, chief creative officer and director of Vera Bradley, is teaming up with Provenance Hotels, a Portland, Ore.-based hotel owner and operator, to develop a boutique hotel in Fort Wayne, the city where Baekgaard co-founded the iconic lifestyle brand and grew it into a leading designer of women’s handbags, luggage, and travel items, fashion and home accessories, and unique gifts.
Baekgaard has long been active in the Fort Wayne community and local philanthropy and long dreamed of opening a hotel in her home town. She and Provenance Hotels are working closely with Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and the City of Fort Wayne to finalize site selection. Sites under consideration for the project are in the heart of the city, and it is the intention of Baekgaard and Provenance Hotels that this hotel will further Fort Wayne’s ten-year vision to invest in projects that increase the average wage and population growth rate and double the GDP in the city.
“My intention is to create a place that’s unique to Fort Wayne and reflects the pride we have in our city. A place where our community can come together to do business, celebrate life’s special moments and connect on a regular basis—that’s what Provenance Hotels does best,” said Baekgaard. “They have a solid track record of success, the unique perspective of being owners themselves and an authentic approach to creating independent hotels that are rooted in the community. I’m confident we are going to create something truly special and worthy of Fort Wayne.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about working with Barbara to make her dream for Fort Wayne a reality,” said Bashar Wali, president of Provenance Hotels. “We always seek out partners with vision and projects in forward-looking cities where we can craft hotels that engage, reflect and embody the local spirit. There is no question that Barbara is a visionary and that Fort Wayne is a city positioning itself for a bright, dynamic future. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to become a part of that.”
Baekgaard and Provenance Hotels are planning a 120-room hotel with a marquee ground-floor food and beverage operation and meeting spaces designed to serve as a nexus of the community. She will bring her design sensibility to the project, and Provenance Hotels, an operator known for creating award-winning, custom made, locally-driven hotel experiences, will manage the property when it opens in 2019.