ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Ground was broken last November on the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in downtown Abilene, and now KTAB/KRBC has an inside look and update on the project as it stands today.

Despite the sweltering heat, DPR’s construction workers have put in work building the new center for downtown Abilene.

City officials gathered on the first floor of the hotel building Wednesday to celebrate and thank the workers for their efforts, auctioning off prizes, topped with a catered lunch.

Once speeches were made and plates were thrown away, they were back off to work, tasks Project Executive Mike Hall said his men look forward to everyday.

“Our guys are excited to be out here helping build the Abilene skyline,” Hall said of the upcoming hotel. “I think it’s awesome, and I think it will draw people to this area.”  

Despite the heat, Hall said his crew is proud to be able to play a role in the new focal point of Abilene, later showing KTAB/KRBC the upper floors of the hotel, including the second floor weight room area and pool, as well as the location of a presidential suite with a balcony.

Vice President of the Abilene Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Robert Lopez told KTAB/KRBC the excitement surrounding the building has business propositions rolling in already.

“We’re booking conventions as far out as 2026.” Lopez said. “It’s definitely going to be an economic driver. Each convention attendee spends $179 per person per day when they come to Abilene, so if you do the math on that it adds up to millions of dollars for the city.”

Lopez noted tourism in Abilene contributed $470 million to the local economy in 2021, and created more than 3,500 jobs, as well.

With the addition of the hotel and its added space, and while they can’t definitively say how much it will increase, Lopez said he was confident it will bring in more job opportunities, more tourism and potentially new businesses settling in Downtown Abilene.

“We’re already on an uptrend with our travel and tourism industry,” Lopez added. “This is just going to be the cherry on top of the cake.” 

Abilene’s Downtown Hotel and Convention Center is right on schedule with its estimated completion date of Spring 2023.