The grand opening of Edmond's $37 million Hilton Garden Inn and conference center is expected to be about the middle of December, with a soft opening about three weeks earlier.
Gabby Trad, Partners in Hospitality president and operating manger, told Edmond Economic Development Authority trustees this week they expect to move into the building the first week of October.
"We already have a half-million dollars in reservations on the books before this happens," said Trad, the opening general manager.
The ballroom is 10,000 square feet and can hold a meeting of up to 1,000 people, he said.
"It makes it the second-largest in the state," Trad said. The largest is in the Embassy Suites in Norman.
The 100,000-square-foot Hilton Garden Inn and 20,000-square-foot conference center is being constructed on 19.35 acres on the northwest corner of Covell Road and Interstate 35.
City 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.
City council members this week approved spending $127,000 for a holiday lighting event in J.L. Mitch Park for the Christmas season. City officials have done away with the annual downtown Christmas parade. The money will go toward lighting displays and associated infrastructure. The Christmas event will last for a month, starting with the mayor's tree-lighting ceremony.
Sales tax positive
The sales tax collection check for August was up 2.92 percent when compared with the previous year.
"For the third consecutive month, we have a positive sales tax collection increase over the previous year's month," said City Finance Director Warren Porter.
"For sales tax, we have had a 3.34 percent increase over the same three-month period compared to the previous year," Porter said.
"This also is a lower sales tax collection time for us," Assistant City Manager Steve Commons told the Capital Improvement Projects Advisory Board. "It was a good month."
The use tax continues to be "abnormally high," Commons said.
The city had an 89.28 percent increase in August receipts when compared to the same time the previous year. The use tax check was for $619,246, up from $327,161 the previous year.
"This is the fourth month in a row our use tax increased by at least 27 percent over the same months for the previous year," Porter said.
This is the first fiscal year that Edmond has received taxes collected on Amazon sales.
School and city officials are continuing to design and organize operations of a proposed $14 million tennis complex the they want to build together.
The city and school signed an agreement for the development of a complex with 10 indoor courts and a minimum of 18 outdoor courts on property near the northeast corner of 15th Street and Kelly Avenue.
Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said they are looking at a partner to run the facility, and there is a possibility the city might handle the operations.
Plans are to finish the design work in the next six to eight months and go out for bids. The project might be completed by the end of 2018.
It's a fact
The Edmond Historical Society and Museum is housed in the former Armory of the 179th Infantry, 45th Division of the Oklahoma National Guard. The historic, native sandstone building was built in 1936 by the WPA and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. The museum, now undergoing renovation, is at 431 S Boulevard.
Citizen's Bank of Edmond's Heard on Hurd at 6 p.m. Saturday in downtown Edmond.
Edmond Planning Commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 20 S Littler Ave.
Reader Jon Holmes asked: "I've noticed the lack of construction going on next to the (Hilton Garden Inn) hotel. It looks like starting back in March you posted articles about ShowBiz getting the green light from the city, followed by quotes from the ShowBiz CEO that he hoped to open by Christmas or perhaps Valentine's Day. What is going on with that project? Is there a new timeline?"
Janet Yowell, Edmond Economic Development Authority executive director answered: “They have closed on the property. They have moved some dirt back there. ShowBiz never wanted to build the building. They wanted to partner with a real estate investment trust to do the construction, but they haven't been able to come up with an agreement. They are finalizing their financing and development agreements. We are waiting for them to make the decision."
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