Council Moves Forward on Downtown Hotel Next to MPEC

WICHITA FALLS, TX - The Wichita Falls 4B Sales Tax Corporation will continue to help make the downtown full-service hotel next to the Multi-Purpose Event Center a reality.

This morning -- at their meeting -- the city council signed off on the 4B Corporation spending $323,000 on continuing the development of the hotel over the next 120 days.

This money will go toward an extension agreement with Gatehouse Capital, who will own the hotel -- and with this money they will provide final pricing on the project, complete the legal documents and design work -- as part of the agreement.

This public-private partnership began in the spring of 2016 -- when the 4B Corporation spent around $100,000 for Gatehouse to come up with a concept plan and a hotel budget.

It continued this past winter with an extension agreement at a cost of $300,000 -- going toward developing contracts and more detail under the design phase. 

All of these pre-development expenses total $743 thousand - for a 150 room DoubleTree full-service hotel.

And with a few vacant hotels already downtown, why does city leadership feel like this one will be more successful?

"Both of those hotels were not within walking distance. They were not right there next to the exhibit hall," city manager, Darron Leiker, said. 

The overall cost of the hotel will run about $30 million -- with Gatehouse paying $20 million of that cost -- while the 4B Board providing Gatehouse a loan for around $10 million of the overall cost.

"The agreement that we have with Gatehouse will require that the annual income of the hotel be used to pay the annual debt service obligations on that $10 million," deputy city manager, Jim Dockery said. 

There will also be a conference center as part of the hotel, which city leaders said the 4B Board would borrow more than $7 million for the construction of that aspect.

The city would own the conference center, but the same company that runs the hotel would oversee operations and run it -- all this while city officials say residents will see no additional taxes to pay for this particular project.

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