The Edmond Sun

June 18, 2013

Covell/I-35 work on track

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — The hotel and conference center project on Interstate 35 is very much on track, said John Weeman of Partners In Development told The Edmond Sun on Tuesday. Weeman is in the process of selecting one of three people for a construction partner, he said.

A major economic investment in 2012 was made by the city at Covell at Interstate 35. The Edmond City Council approved the negotiated agreements for developing the $25.5 million Hilton Garden Inn and conference center to be located at the northwest corner of Interstate 35 and Covell Road.

“We’re excited at the possibilities of entering Edmond and partnering with the Convention Visitors Bureau,” Weeman said. “We’ll bring a whole new segment of business into the Edmond marketplace.”

The hotel and conference center will be able to accommodate an expansive hotel and meetings market, Weeman said.

Progress for the hotel currently focuses on infrastructure work for water and sewer, said Janet Yowell, executive director of the Edmond Economic Development Authority. The hotel and conference center will be constructed simultaneously, Yowell said Tuesday at an EEDA board of directors meeting.

“We won’t have a groundbreaking until everything is in place,” Yowell said. Weeman said he anticipates a groundbreaking for the project will be sometime this fall.

The City Council identified a need for a hotel and conference center to generate tourism and sales tax and improve quality of life in Edmond. In 2001, Weeman presented to EEDA a market, feasibility and business plan for the hotel and conference center.

Council members approved the $2.2 million purchase of 7.13 acres of undeveloped land at the hotel site in 2012. The $2.2 million was taken from the city’s Real Property Tax Fund. Safeguards are in place to protect the city’s land investment, said attorney Leslie Batchelor, representing the city in the project. It is a legal requirement that the public not give anything away to private investment, Batchelor said. | 341-2121