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Oklahoma City convention center hotel study put on hold

A skeptical Oklahoma City Council seeks assurances on the need and feasibility of a convention center hotel before approving a $100,000 study on how to fund the project.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: June 12, 2013

“What was promised was when the convention center is completed, it would create 750 jobs and triple the amount of convention business,” Shadid said. “No convention center in the country has been able to triple its convention business. No city in the country has been able to double its convention business. And there was no mention of a convention hotel.”

Shadid's comments were echoed by newly elected Councilman James Greiner, who said he never heard a hotel mentioned during the MAPS 3 campaign. Shadid also doubted Morsch's claim that a deal might be possible without a public subsidy.

Councilwoman Meg Salyer said Oklahoma City has had success in public-private partnerships and that she saw potential in arranging a development similar to the one that sparked the redevelopment of the Skirvin hotel.

“We do have a great success story here with a complicated public-private financing structure with the Skirvin hotel,” she said. “We've got a steep learning curve on what the possibilities are in financing a hotel.”

Even so, Salyer agreed with the council to put Morsch's work on hold.

Councilman Pat Ryan noted Morsch would need to know the council's objectives to finish his work, yet they won't know until Stone's study is completed whether downtown needs a hotel, or if so, how many rooms might be needed.

“Objectives change based on what market study shows,” Ryan said. “Do it one step at a time.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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Public disclosure?

A convention center was included on the MAPS 3 ballot after a report commissioned by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber advised the city needed new facilities. The report was not released to the public, as chamber officials said it contained proprietary data. Cathy O'Connor, Alliance for Economic Development president and Urban Renewal Authority director, told The Oklahoman she will release results of any reports by Stone Consulting or Public Financial Management.


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