The city of Tyler is two big steps closer to getting a proposed convention center and hotel complex.
At their meeting Wednesday morning, the Tyler City Council approved the location for a potential convention center and hotel complex. The council also voted for Encore Enterprises of Dallas to be the private developer they will partner with to build the hotel complex.
During Wednesday's meeting, the council recommended that the 27,000 square foot, 250 room hotel conference center be located on South Broadway at Toll 49.
As the city's equity investor, Encore Enterprises will fund the hotel portion of the project, which is anticipated to cost about two-thirds of the $60 to $70 million estimated for the complex. Encore Enterprises would manage the hotel complex portion of the project.
"We are interested in going to markets where there's been deemed a need not only for convention space but the adjacent hotel," said Glenn Pedersen, the president of Encore Enterprise's hospitality division.
Pedersen told the council he had 16 years experience managing Marriott International hotels. His company currently manages three hotels, as well as a Hilton hotel and convention center in College Station.
Mayor Barbara Bass said the city spoke with eight developers, but Encore Enterprises was the obvious choice.
"Out of the ones we talked to, Encore had the financial means. They had the willingness to come to Tyler," she said. "Many of the developers did not want to come to smaller markets or they were already in the middle of other projects."
Mayor Bass said that because the equity investor is expected to pay for about two-thirds of the proposed project, their input into the proposed site location was extremely important.
Pedersen said his company has chosen the Toll 49 location, saying it has good transportation options and the future retail proposed for the site is good for customers.
"I like to have our hotels where other hotels are located. I like our hotels to be located where there are support services, where there are restaurants, entertainment, gas stations, those type of things that our guests look to utilize while they're in the hotel and in the market," he said.
Pedersen said he understands that the city wants the hotel to be privately owned and managed.
The city still has to look at the proposed cost and approve architects and contractors before the conference center can be approved by the city council. A timetable has not been established, but Mayor Bass said a potential ground breaking could occur in summer of 2014.
"Today, with the location defined, with the developer defined, we're starting that next step," said Mayor Bass.
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