EDMOND — City council members said they were excited as they unanimously approved seven deals expected to kick-start the development of 300 acres at Covell Road and Interstate 35.
The city agreed to spend $11 million on a hotel and conference center and sports center as a way to increase economic development and sales tax revenues.
City leaders started discussing the need for a conference center at least 20 years ago.
Negotiations with the developers, Covell-35 Development LLC, Covell Partners in Development LLC and Summit Sports Complex, have taken more than a year.
The city bought 7.1 acres of land on the northwest corner of I-35 and Covell Road for a site for the conference center and will spend an additional $2 million on the infrastructure.
Taxpayers will spend $4.8 million on the conference center.
The developer will pay any additional expenses to build the center with 20,000 square feet of meeting space and a ballroom that is about 10,000 square feet with banquet seating for 800 people.
The city will own the conference center and land.
The hotel is expected to be a Hilton Garden Inn with about 160 rooms. The city will not own any part of the hotel, only the land it sits on.
The developer will operate the hotel and conference center and will be required to collect the hotel-motel tax. The city will refund up to $173,720 of that tax in the first year and a maximum of $256,350 in years 10 to 15 for a monthly management fee for the operation of the conference center.
Any motel tax collected over the management fee remains with the city.
Edmond's Convention and Visitors Bureau will be located in the conference center rent-free.
Ad valorem taxes on the hotel and conference center property will start after 10 years, a commitment to the schools from the city and developers.
The city will purchase 19.35 acres of land on the northeast corner of Covell Road and I-35 for the sports complex for $2 million. Developers of the 170,000-square-foot complex will pay $60,000 a year rent.
After 15 years, city leaders expect to get back $9 million of the original investment.
“The only money not coming back is for the infrastructure,” said Leslie V. Batchelor, the city's attorney. “The city does that every day.
“You are not giving anything away. You are not writing a check. At the end of the day, we own the dirt and that counts for something.”
The overall objective was to build a conference center to help improve the quality of life in Edmond, Batchelor said.
There had been opposition to the city's plan to be part of the development. No one spoke against the agreements during this week's city council meeting.
Three people encouraged the city's involvement in the projects.
“This will generate sales tax dollars,” said Carl Tipton, president of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce.