Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two developers left in competition for hotel

By Steve Vied, Messenger-Inquirer

Published: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:19 AM CST

Local officials are negotiating with two developers to build an upscale hotel in downtown Owensboro, but the decision on which one will be selected probably will not be made by the end of this year, said Nick Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp.
Brake said Tuesday that an announcement of the selection is still expected soon after the first of January.
In late October, the committee charged with recommending a developer announced that three finalists were in the running, and all had proposed building a hotel with between 150 and 175 rooms. One of the developers has been eliminated.
"The challenge is the funding," Brake said. "It's a time-consuming deal."
The developers have been asked to provide thorough documentation that they have access to adequate funding to complete the project, Brake said.
"I'm confident we have two very lively candidates that have the wherewithal to do it," Brake said. "It's up to us to decide which is better for the community."
Both finalists have local connections and have relationships with national hotel brands, Brake said.
When the EDC issued the request for proposals for hotel developers, the requirements called for a hotel to have at least 150 rooms but preferably 225 and complement activities on the planned market square plaza with retail, restaurant and other amenities on its ground floor. It was to be a corporate managed, national or international chain-affiliated hotel geared primarily to serve the convention and group-meeting markets with quality on par with convention center hotels in other U.S. cities.
The finalists have not been identified.
Earlier this summer, the EDC said the original proposals came from developers seeking to operate franchises including Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn.
The hotel is proposed for the site the state office building now occupies on Second Street between Frederica and St. Elizabeth streets.