A consultant hired to analyze the feasibility of a convention hotel downtown was hit with a blistering verbal attack by councilman and mayoral candidate Ed Shadid, but otherwise found a receptive audience among the remainder of the city council Tuesday.
Texas consultant Jeremy Stone, hired by The Alliance for the Economic Development of Oklahoma City, told the council his research shows the city can support a 735-room, $200 million conference hotel as part of development of a $250 million convention center south of the Myriad Gardens.
Looking at forecast occupancy hovering at 64 percent the first few years of operation, Stone also provided estimates of revenues and expenses for such an operation — but with the caveat he was making no assumptions on the project's financing.
“It is a profitable property at the end of the day,” Stone said. “A property similar to this would make sense in this market.”
Stone noted his report was finished before Louisville, Ky.-based 21C Museum Hotels announced its plans to redevelop the historic Fred Jones assembly plant into a full service hotel. Stone also said hotels downtown are approaching a healthy 80 percent average occupancy.
“We would have expected full service to occur regardless of the convention center,” Stone said. “And as we found out with 21C, the market is showing full service development is appropriate.”
Stone said his research included interviews with hoteliers, officials with the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a review of studies commissioned by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber before the 2009 MAPS 3 election that provided $250 million for the new convention center.
Shadid rebuked Stone as soon as he finished his presentation.
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It is a profitable property at the end of the day. A property similar to this would make sense in this market.”