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City will look for new convention center site

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A former car dealership in downtown will not be the site of a new convention center.

Oklahoma City officials announced Tuesday they will reopen their search.

“It became obvious to the city manager, the municipal counselor and me that purchasing this proposed MAPS 3 Convention Center site is not in the best interest of our residents and the MAPS program,” Mayor Mick Cornett said in a Tuesday statement. “This protects the integrity of the MAPS program and shows our commitment to build every MAPS 3 project within budget while meeting or exceeding the expectations of our residents.”

The $250 million convention center had been planned for the car dealership site just west of Chesapeake Energy Arena and will replace the current Cox Business Services Convention Center.

In its statement, the city reported that the MAPS 3 budget includes $13 million for land acquisition; however, the property’s owners provided documents estimating its value at more than $100 million, according to the city.

“This remains a citizen-led initiative, which has been the bedrock of MAPS since the very beginning and has helped us earn the trust of Oklahoma City’s residents,” Cornett said. “We’re going to get right back to work on the site selection process, and our expectation of building an incredible, on-budget MAPS 3 Convention Center is unchanged."

City Manager Jim Couch said he was not prepared to speculate on a new location for the convention center. Construction had been targeted to begin in the summer of 2016, but the site setback could cost the city a few months, Couch added.

 

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