Hotel, conference center may have $5.7M impact on Edmond
EDMOND — Edmond's new hotel and conference center is projected to provide a $5.7 million annual economic impact.
The $37 million full-service hotel and conference center will likely bring in nearly $800,000 a year in sales tax revenue, according to the Edmond Economic Development Authority.
Edmond leaders, developers and others gathered Thursday on 7.5 acres of land to celebrate the long-awaited start of construction of the 100,000-square-foot Hilton Garden Inn and 20,000-square-foot conference center on the northwest corner of Covell Road and Interstate 35.
Council members invested $12 million in the public/private project with Covell Partners in Development and Covell-35 Development in an effort to improve Edmond's chances for economic development and increase its sales tax revenue.
"The city council, working with the staff, has taken a very bold step with the public investment in this private development project to meet the identified needs for a conference center and take advantage of this super location opportunity," Mayor Charles Lamb said.
Some say there has been talk about a conference center in Edmond for as long as 20 years. Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director, said her board has had discussions for the last 10 years.
The hotel and conference center is expected to be completed in early December 2017.
Developers and city leaders have repeatedly said that once construction starts, other developments will follow.
Kip Ryan, development manager of Raptor Properties, said there are 218 acres left to be developed, including 100 acres adjacent to the hotel and conference center.
"With the city's help, we have laid the foundation for fantastic opportunities," said John Wooley, project manager for Covell-35 Development Group. "Opportunities to attract new-to-market retail, new-to-market entertainment venues, restaurants, and hopefully sooner than later, a new-to-market theater."
Wooley projects the intersection will become a focal point and showcase for the city of Edmond.
"The future looks bright," Wooley said.
A convenience store, Braum's and McDonald's already are planning to build on the southwest corner of the intersection, Ryan said.
"There is someone nationally interested in the remaining 18 acres on the southwest," Ryan said.
Councilman Nick Massey compared the beginning of the Covell and I-35 development to the start of Bricktown in Oklahoma City 20 years ago, when some people thought it was a bad idea.
"I firmly believe 20 years from now our citizens will look back on this date as an important milestone in our city's history, and say, 'You know what, it wasn't such a bad idea and it seems to have worked out.' I hope to be here to hear you all say that," said Massey, an Edmond Economic Development Authority board trustee.
Flintco, of Oklahoma City, the contractors, have 15 months to complete the project.
Gabby Trad, president and operating manager of Partners in Hospitality, said the six-story hotel will include a bar and restaurant, outdoor pool and 20,000 square feet of conference space, one of the largest areas for meetings in the metro.
Artwork in the hotel will be of Edmond's public art and local scenery done by local artists, Trad said.
"Each of the citizens of Edmond should be proud," said John Weeman, president of Covell Partners in Development, the owners of the hotel. "If all things are good for those who wait, Edmond is in store for a great treat here, for this is to become a new centerpiece for Edmond."
Groundbreaking was originally scheduled for January 2015, but changes in banking regulations and higher-than-budgeted bids caused a 16-month delay.
In the end, the city had to put in another $1 million and the private partners had to come up with more than $1 million to make the project move forward.
"The reality of economic development is that few projects really evolve to the initial time frame," City Manager Larry Stevens said. "This project represents an exciting new day for Edmond and also a new message. That message is Edmond is serious about economic development."
The hotel and conference center is projected to create 78 jobs and $2.2 million in personal income. Construction is expected to generate 244 jobs with $13.7 million in personal income.
"This will be a recruitment project that will bring in new jobs and revenue for this community, and will really be a catalyst for this area for development," Yowell said. "We are excited to be at this phase."