The City of Tyler has been engaged in a project to build a new convention center for some time. The process is going smoothly, but takes time to fit all the pieces together to complete the project. Here is the update I promised at our luncheon today:
The land has been acquired. The conference center and hotel will be located between Gander Mountain and Loop 49 at the corner of Broadway Avenue.
A contractor has been selected for the project and the City of Tyler is waiting for a final price to formally draft a construction contract. It is estimated to be around $56 million with the City’s part to be no more than $17 million (for the conference center). The City’s portion will be paid with bonds – probably with a duration of 15 years.
The conference center will include a water feature in the front and the hotel will have about 210 keys or rooms. The finance team is working on raising private equity funds for the construction of the hotel portion. The conference center will be 24,000 sq ft (about a 600-800 person venue). A separate PKF economic study was conducted to determine the optimal size. The center is being built for day in and day out use, not peak use. The conference center will be designed in such a manner to allow for future growth.
The new conference center will not replace the Harvey Convention Center – it will remain open but will undergo some renovations in the future.
The conference center will be self-supported and the City will not subsidize the operation costs of the center. In the last State of Texas legislative session, a bill was passed allowing the City to receive a refund of all state hotel occupancy tax and sales tax collections from the new hotel and conference center for 10 years. This rebate can be used by the City to pay the City’s part of the infrastructure costs for the project.
The City will not operate any part of the project after opening, but will sign a management agreement with a management company to provide daily operations.
Within the next 3 months they expect the private equity to be in place and final plans can then be made. If the ground breaking is in the early spring of 2016, it would be the end of 2017 or early 2018 to complete the project.