CS Hotel-Convention Center a Reality

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Around $25 million for a convention center, and $37.5 million for a Marriott hotel. Those are the price tags on the project that's been on and off for nearly a decade.

Thursday, the council heard from city staff about the particulars of the plan, and unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding. Leddy Ventures out of San Antonio will develop the land.

The city will pay for the 90,000 square foot convention center. Marriott will foot the bill for a 10-story hotel.

Kim Foutz, the city's director of community and economic development, says this facility is critical, even though the facility itself isn't a money maker.

"From the operations, it is not a profit center," said Foutz. "In fact, many convention centers have an operational defecit. What is the benefit is all the spinout, all the economic impact that happens direct and indirect to the rest of the county."

The council all chimed in this evening with their excitement about the project. Ben White called it a banner day in the city's history, and according to Ron Gay, some 75 groups have already expressed interest in using the convention center.

Currently, a vacant Albertson's building and an empty lot in the Northgate area is the prefered location of the facility. That land is owned by Jack Culpepper. Negotiations are already underway to purchase the land.

The city has also begun the process with the county to create a tax increment financing zone in that area to help fund the project.

Here's the timeline as it stands for this new deal. They hope to acquire the land by next month, and complete the TIF process by March. At the same time, they'll begin the design process for the facility.

By June, they hope to have wrapped that up and begin bidding for the construction. By August, they hope to break ground, with construction wrapping up by the beginning of 2008.

College Station's stated goal for a while has been to become a destination city, and this step today bring them closer to that goal.