Cathy O'Connor, director of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, said the Alliance previously hired Stone Consulting to complete a marketing study. Public Financial Management, meanwhile, would draw up proposals on how best to fund a hotel.
O'Connor said if the financial analysis contract is approved, she expects reports to be completed this summer.
“These are the beginning steps,” O'Connor said. “From this work, if the council decides to proceed, we'll move forward with a request for (developer) qualifications.”
A similar process was followed with the selection of former Hilton Hotels executive John Weeman a decade ago in the successful redevelopment of the Skirvin hotel.
“There will be presentations and workshops,” O'Connor said. “The council will have to make a decision on whether to proceed. We're months away, at least six months from having a developer on board.”
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At a glance
Why is a big hotel needed?
With several hotels under construction or set to be built in Bricktown and the room count approaching 3,000, some ask why downtown needs a large conference hotel.
Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, responds his staff routinely misses out booking large conventions in the energy, aviation and biosciences industries due to the city's aging convention center and the lack of a headquarters hotel.
The city is set to build and open a new convention center in 2019 that will give Carrier's staff more space and availability to sell to meeting planners. He argues the new hotels being built now — many of them limited-service hotels with fewer than 200 rooms each — don't meet the needs of meeting planners. “Decisions are made based on the package you have to offer,” he said. “In no defined order, the questions you get asked are, ‘Do you have enough space for my meeting — exhibit, meeting rooms, ballrooms?' and the second question, sometimes first, is ‘Do you have the hotel rooms necessary for me to accommodate my people within walking distance, preferably under one roof or as few roofs as possible?'