Downtown hotel officially a go in Abilene

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — A new, full service downtown hotel is now officially set to become a reality for Abilene.

This, after Abilene City Councilmembers on Thursday morning voted to approve the final step to secure funding for the construction of the hotel.

The hotel will be a DoubleTree by Hilton with 206 rooms, more than 38,000 square feet of meeting space, a 12,000 square foot ballroom and a three-meal restaurant.

While a date for a groundbreaking has not formally been set, officials said they hope construction will begin as soon as October.

On Thursday, councilmembers approved the issuance of bonds in order to fund the construction.

The hotel will be operated by Hilton but will technically be publicly-owned. The public, nonprofit entity — the Abilene Convention Center Hotel Development Corporation — was created to finance and operate the project. Thus, the project is a public-private partnership.

The bonds included: First-Lien Hotel Revenue Bonds, Series 2021A and Second-Lien Hotel Revenue Bonds, Series 2021B “in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $50,000,000.”

The City said all revenues, including tax revenues from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) of the hotel itself, will be used to repay the debts. Being able to use the HOT tax generated from the hotel was made possible by a special Texas House Bill.

According to the City of Abilene, other funding came from grants and other means:

Just over $43.5 million of the downtown hotel’s total $66,635,000 million cost is being supplied through private fundraising done by the Abilene Convention Center Hotel Development Corporation, a nonprofit Local Government Corporation (LGC); the LGC will raise that money through the issuance of hotel revenue bonds, expected to be payable over 30 years, and the support of two local foundations.

The remaining $23.1 million in funding for the construction of the downtown hotel will finance the convention space within the hotel; $4 million cash on hand, $7.5 million in grants, $3.6 million convention & hotel revenue, and an estimated $8 million through the recapturing of Hotel Occupancy Tax generated by the downtown hotel, and made possible through Texas House Bill 2445.

City of Abilene

The downtown hotel project is years in the making, and something tourism officials said will be a gamechanger and catalyst for further downtown growth.

“I am just elated,” said Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Nanci Liles. “This is something really great for Abilene and our future and will keep us competitive with other cities, so our work just begins.”

For more specifics on the funding, click here.

The new hotel will be built south of the Abilene Convention Center.

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