Friends and representatives of Holladay Properties and the Sisters of the Holy Cross gathered on Sunday, December 16 to celebrate over 25 years of partnership at the Gillespie Conference & Special Events Center in South Bend, IN. A crowd of nearly 80 gathered to meet and continue the tradition of friendship and camaraderie that has long been the foundation of this partnership.
Holladay Properties and the Sisters of the Holy Cross' relationship goes back nearly 30 years and is founded on a premise of mutual respect and growth and was facilitated by Mr. John O'Connell, the head of Holy Cross Shared Services, a centralized risk management program which enables the Congregation to apply its commitment to social justice in the area of financial needs. Mr. O'Connell approached Holladay Properties on behalf of the Sisters to establish the partnership when the Sisters were looking for a way to maximize the value of vacant land they owned near the Indiana Toll Road Notre Dame exit.
The partnership focused on hospitality and built the Inn at Saint Mary's, which opened in 1992. This boutique hotel was originally 120-rooms but expanded to 150-room in a renovation in 1996, which also added a fitness center featuring state-of-the-art equipment and sauna. The Inn at Saint Mary's had come to be an iconic image at Exit 77 when, in 2006, Holladay and the Sisters decide to expand their partnership.
In 2008, the Hilton Garden Inn and Gillespie Conference & Special Event Center opened next to the thriving Inn at Saint Mary's. The Hilton Garden Inn South Bend is a full-scale hotel featuring 100 spacious guest rooms along with a fitness center, indoor pool with whirlpool, meeting space and an attached restaurant serving breakfast and dinner, Bistro 933. The hotel offers direct access to the Gillespie Center via a covered walkway which also features a private Patio space that connects both facilities.
The Gillespie Center features an 8.400 SF ballroom which can provide flexible function space for group from 18 to 840 and also includes a private 2,500 SF Terrace Garden with beautiful fountains and a dramatic, raised archway in pride of place. Combined, these properties have hosted hundreds of events from small-scale business meetings, to charity fund-raising events, to wedding ceremonies and receptions, and everything in between.
Through the nearly 30-year partnership, Holladay Properties and the Sisters of the Holy Cross have has kept its original roots in mind and been focused on serving and responding to the needs of the Saint Mary's campus, the Michiana community, and each of its partners.