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 brand and grew it into a designer of women’s fashion.
Baekgaard and Provenance Hotels are working closely with greater Fort Wayne 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 10-year vision to invest in projects that increase the average wage and population growth rate and double the gross domestic product 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,” Baekgaard said in a statement. “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 will manage the property when it opens in 2019.
Provenance Hotels operates hotels across the nation. Six of the company’s hotels received Conde Nast Traveler’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards including Sentinel in Portland which was ranked the No. 1 hotel in the Pacific Northwest. Most recently, the company opened the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in New Orleans in 2015 to national- and critical-acclaim that included nabbing the No. 7 spot on Travel + Leisure magazine’s 2016 World’s Best list of top city hotels in the continental U.S. Earlier this year, Provenance Hotels announced it will open Hotel Theodore in Seattle in summer 2017 and Woodlark in Portland in spring 2018. The company is also developing hotels in Madison, Wis., and Hermosa Beach, Calif., that are slated to open in 2018 and 2020 respectively.