Some $280 million has been requested in preliminary funds for the new convention center, which could spur development for a new 650-plus-room hotel. A hotel more than double the size of the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center Hotel and Spa as an anchor for the convention center is going to bring in more second-tier conventions and puts us in competition with cities such as Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville, Tenn.; Indianapolis; Austin, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio.
A hotel that exceeds 650 rooms will attract bigger conventions; clients want to put all of their guests in one main hotel. We do not have a downtown hotel exceeding 400 rooms. A large hotel adjacent to the convention center will allow us to bid for more quality-type events.
The construction of the convention center and hotel alone will put people to work in our community, not to mention the full-time employment a hotel of this magnitude will generate along with tax increments.
In todays rough economy, OKC should look at priority projects that generate economic development and increase the sales tax base. Projects like Oklahoma State Fair Park, with expanded exhibition space and horse industry facilities, and Oklahoma River improvement projects can be self-sustaining.
Popularity projects like the central park, wellness centers, trails, sidewalks and passenger rail will enhance the quality-of-life aspects of Oklahoma City. However, the city will have to dig into its coffers to manage and maintain these projects.
Im in favor of investing in a $50 million incentive to lure private development for a $300 million (30-story) hotel instead of paying $30 million to move an OGE substation.
Larry D. Fry Oklahoma City