GRACO Development and TAJ Hospitality agreed to a master development agreement with the city in a special called work session Thursday afternoon.
The pair were greenlighted by Lubbocks Central Business District Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Board, who recommended their selection to the City Council.
The planned convention-specific hotel will be placed in the northeast corner of the Civic Center complex, an area currently comprised of surface parking.
It was announced earlier this year the hotel will be operated by Marriott International. There are currently 29 different brands that operate under that group, including Sheraton and Westin hotels.
The hotel will have approximately 250 rooms and will include nearly 12,000 square feet of meeting space. In addition to a hotel tower, the space will include a ballroom and a possibility of retail space.
The new plan also includes a multi-story parking garage. All told the project is expected to cost $76 Million dollars with much of that money coming from public debt.
The City of Lubbock is expected to contribute $18 Million toward the project as part of revitalization of the 40-year-old Memorial Civic Center. There is discussion of expanding the Civic Center to connect with the proposed convention space.
The goal for the project is to break ground on the hotel in the spring of 2020, right as the planned Buddy Holly Hall opens across the street.
The Lubbock City Council approved a development team for the proposed Lubbock Convention Center Hotel, a project years in the making and now a step closer to happening, at Thursday’s meeting.
Taj Hospitality and Graco Real Estate were approved as owners, SDM Financial and Graco were named developers, Lee Lewis was granted the role of general contractor, Dallas-firm Leo A. Daly as architect and MWM Architect as local architect.
David Alderson, a member of the Central Business Tax Increment Financing District Board that handled the group selection process, said the board was proud to select local businesses and firms that have worked in Lubbock for the project. He said there were multiple, competitive bids, but that the selected team provided a workable financial model as evidence they could complete the over $76 million project.
During the council’s regularly-scheduled work session, representatives from the development team and the Downtown TIF presented budgets and renderings to offer insight into their vision for the hotel proposed for Mac Davis Lane and Avenue L.
The hotel will be funded through a public-private partnership. Over $57 million will be sourced through private debt and equity, over $18 million will come from the city and $500,000 will be provided by the chosen hotel brand or operator. The development team indicated the facility will likely be a part of the Marriott brand, based on initial conversations.
Over 80 percent of the budget is slated for the hotel. The funding from the city will go toward meeting and support spaces. The citys contribution will, in part, come from hotel occupancy taxes. The Overton Hotel and Conference Center was similarly funded, according to A-J archives.
The hotel is planned to have 250 rooms and 11,700 square feet of meeting space. The building will be 197,087 square feet total, according to the early-stage plans.
The development team also talked about other possibilities for the site, including potential retail and office space, and additions to the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. Any changes to the civic center would need to be developed and approved through a separate process, clarified Mayor Dan Pope, and there are no defined plans for that right now.
Robert Taylor, years-long member of the Downtown TIF board, said not having a convention center hotel has been a deal breaker in the past for groups considering having events in Lubbock.
“This is one thing we’ve got to have,” Taylor said. “It really puts our civic center really at a chance for being a convention center and draw outside people to Lubbock. I think that will help the whole hotel industry once we get that component in.”
Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson explained this is an important, but early, development in the project. There are still other milestones before the final vote to begin construction, which would happen at the earliest in summer 2019. No construction will begin until the project is fully funded, a hotel brand has committed and all standard and architectural elements are approved, Atkinson said.
If everything goes according to the current plan, Stephen Moffett of SDM Financial said the development group would likely break ground on the hotel around the same time the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences – right across Mac Davis Lane – opens in the first quarter of 2020.