“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.”