WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It’s official, the Kay Yeagar Coliseum and MPEC Exhibit Hall will have some new neighbors.
“This will open it up to much, many more, but much larger conventions so it’s just a win-win,” precinct one City Councilor Michael Smith said.
Wichita Falls City Council passed three resolutions relating to the sale of a lot. The brand new 200-room full-service hotel and convention center will be built with the goal of bringing even more to the event center.
“We’re talking about week after week after week after week of these things,” at-large City Councilor Bobby Whiteley said.
This, after the city council approved the nearly $1.9 million economic development agreement with O’Reilly Hospitality using saved sales tax dollars through the 4B board.
“This is sales tax dollars that is set up just for this reason and increase conventions and bureau and travel and tourism, you know we will gladly spend this money but it’s not coming out of their pockets,” Mayor Stephen Santellana said.
Now that this step is over, O’Reilly Hospitality will take over the project, which is estimated to cost about $48 million a project. Smith said he’s seen the need for.
“We get calls about conventions that are interested in us, they’ve heard about us, and then they say ‘do you have a full-service hotel?’ Nope, and that does it,” Smith said.
Which is echoed by most of the council and Mayor Santellana.
“People don’t realize, you have 1,000 people, 500 people and they’re there for seven days. How much money do you spend? Money in your community for seven days that’s basically adding a thousand people to your population,” Santellana said. “That’s a lot of money being spent and if they have a good experience here they come back and they tell their friends and they tell other groups and it just get exponentially better and better.”
Increasing population for a week, which could turn in to even longer.
O’Reilly Hospitality is considering building another hotel in the lot right next to the other one, and if not, the city does have the option to buy that lot back later down the road.