JC Council to Hear Public Input on Conference Center Proposals

4 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Monday, March 24 2014 Mar 24, 2014 Monday, March 24, 2014 2:09:00 PM CDT March 24, 2014 in News
By: KOMU 8 Staff

JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City residents will have a chance to give their input on a couple of proposed hotel-conference center designs at a public forum Monday night.

The city council is set to vote on whether it will choose one of the proposals at it's meeting on April 7. If it does choose to move forward with one, the next step will be to choose architectural designs.

In November 2013, the city council voted to move forward with two hotel-conference center proposals. The first was by Ehrhardt Hospitality, LLC- to be located downtown on McCarty Street. The other was by Farmer Holdings to be built at Capital Mall.

Since then, Jefferson City attorney Drew Hilpert said there have been some changes to the hotel designs as well as financing options. He said Farmer's is now proposing to build a conference center inside the mall, and have the hotel built outside.

Hilpert said the city hired a consultant about a year ago to study the amount of potential business such a structure would bring.

"He [the consultant] said the conference center itself would bring in about 100,000 visitors. And the way he did that is he modeled it, looked at where we are in the country, business we would attract. Not all of it will be new, but if 50 percent of it is new, you've got 50,000 visitors to the city, 50,000 people shopping at our stores," Hilpert said.

Originally the plan called for an entire hotel and conference center to stand alone. The downtown proposal first included a conference center cost of about $9 million. Now, it's estimated to cost about $13 million.

Ehrhardt is proposing a 4 percent lodging tax to pay for the conference center. The developer wouldn't have to pay taxes on the hotel to the city or county for 20 years. 

Farmer is proposing a lodging tax, as well as a modified mall TIF district to pay for the development.

If you are interested in hearing more about the proposals and giving input, the meeting takes place Monday evening at 5:30 at council chambers in Jefferson City.

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