What the city says is next for Abilene’s Downtown Hotel Project

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) – What could have been a bump in the road for The Downtown Hotel and Convention Center, turned into something the City of Abilene was prepared for.

“I don’t think their lack of participation kills the project,” said Robert Hanna, Abilene City Manager.

The city says it was prepared for the commissioners court to say no.

“It does make it more difficult but we have been working for that scenario incase it happened and I think we have a plan to move forward,” said Hanna.

On Tuesday, the county saying local hotels and other entities they spoke to are against the project. Hanna says “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
    
“Once the hotel is there, it’s established, the market stabilizes again, I find that their businesses increase because we are able to attract a different conventions that have spill over affects their hotels. Right now we are limited to what conventions we can attract,” said Hanna.

The hotel, expecting to create over 200 jobs and around 125 long-term and serve as an “anchor” downtown. Saying it will create more venue space, along with an economic bomb.

“The private sector says look I’ve got 200 people here spending the night. What can I do to take advantage of that and make a buck,” said Hanna.

While the city manager is not commenting on any specific financial information.

“I am not going to answer that question,” said Hanna.

However, the mayor going on record at a November Commissioners Court meeting saying the hotel is estimated to cost $60 million and they have $25 million raised. The city still confident in the project with the backing of the private sector.

“Where we can shave off enough of the risk to make it prudent and appropriate for the private sector to invest their money in these projects, that’s what we want to try and do,” said Hanna.

Hanna says he does not want to comment on dollar amounts because of negotiations going on.

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