Progress update for new hotel and conference center next to Kyle Field

Published: Jun. 9, 2017 at 5:44 PM CDT
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The skyline of the Texas A&M campus continues to change.

Work is well under way for a new eight-story, 250 room hotel and conference center across from Kyle Field.

The facility will feature 12 suites, as well as a bar, restaurant and retail.

On Friday, Texas A&M held a topping out ceremony as the building reached its peak height.

"We've always wanted a conference center. I mean people actually were talking about it some even when I was a student here because we needed a place for prospective employers to come and interview students. We needed a place to have national conferences and professors to have conferences," said Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp.

Sharp says public-private partnerships, like the one funding the construction, protect the university's finances.

"The way we got the conference center was using other people's money. There's no state money involved in this and so our P3 partners, public private partners are basically are building the hotel and the parking lot and that will create the revenues that will allow us to build a first class hotel and conference center," said Sharp.

The Texas A&M System is in the midst of a record construction boom.

There's been nearly $5 billion spent on construction over the last five years.

The naming rights for the building are still up for grabs. The cost for naming runs about $25 million.

Stonehenge Companies is financing the project. They'll have a 32 year ground lease.

"A lot of people think this is kind of an athletic driven facility and it's actually not. Majority of the days this will be used as a really, kind of a front door for Texas A&M and it'll be used Memorial Student Center recruiting of students," said Kevin Matocha, Stonehenge Companies President.

Other big projects A&M is doing through public-private partnerships include the Park West housing and Century Square.

"It's just a prudent use of those resources. It's a prudent use to manage our debt capacity and maintain that AAA credit rating which is non-negotiable. So we're excited about all that's going on," said Phillip Ray, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs for the Texas A&M System.

This project is expected to cost about $134 million.

The new hotel and conference center is scheduled to open September 1, 2018.