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  • Cathy O'Connor

hotel is crucial next step for okc

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council made a crucial next step in securing Oklahoma City’s status as a visitor destination by approving a resolution to enter into final negotiations with Omni Hotels & Resorts to develop Oklahoma City’s convention center hotel.

Oklahoma City’s tourism economy has grown substantially over the last 15 years. When we set out with MAPS to create a more dynamic environment for our residents, we also created an ever more attractive place to visit. The economic impact of tourism in our market now exceeds $2 billion annually.

The new convention center – and an associated hotel – will only multiply this potential for our market. Convention delegates come to our community (many for the first time, or the first time in many years) bringing money into the market and leaving with a better impression of our community.

Convention delegates expect – and meeting planners demand – high-quality blocks of at least 500 rooms in an adjacent headquarters hotel. To block that many rooms for one group, the hotel must also have additional inventory for other guests. Current hotel space simply cannot accommodate the demand.

Building a convention center hotel will have undeniable benefits. Increased tourism strengthens our existing investments in MAPS 3 and projects throughout the community. It is estimated that for every 10,000 convention attendee visitors, Oklahoma City will see an economic boost by as much as $2 million.

In addition to the long-term benefits, construction of the convention center hotel will bring a $235 million investment to our downtown. The project is estimated to create more than 3,000 local jobs, provide more than $370 million in economic activity and provide $128 million in labor income to local residents.

Finalizing a development agreement and determining funding options for the public participation in the project are the next steps. Our goal is to deliver the high-quality, upscale convention center hotel that Oklahoma City needs while minimizing the amount of public participation necessary, and maximizing any potential return on our investment.

We have worked together to make Oklahoma City the great city it is today. The investment in this hotel will make the most of our many other investments, generate job opportunities and new revenue in our city, and provide benefits to every citizen.

Read the full article at The Journal Record.

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