CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City took a big step Tuesday in possibly getting a hotel built at the American Bank Center to be able to compete with other cities for convention business.
Corpus Christi City Council agreed to hire a company who will do a study on the condition of the American Bank Center. It will also look to answer the question of how and where to get a hotel built on site.
The American Bank Center costs the city about $14 million a year to run. Everyone from tourism officials to council members agree that if a hotel was built and connected to the convention center it would allow the city to offset some of the costs. That’s because It would allow the city to compete to bring more convention business to town.
According to Brett Oetting, President and CEO of Visit Corpus Christi, the City has had economic draw backs due to the lack of hotel business in the area.
"Corpus Christi has lost 36,000 hotel room nights and over $30 million in economic impact because of the loss of not having a convention hotel within a connected area," Oetting said.
City council agreed on a contract with Hunden Strategic Partners to do a study on the American Bank Center. The study will be completed sometime over the next 10 weeks and will look at everything from assessing the facility to exploring how and where to build the hotel. City Councilman Gil Hernandez has an idea to put it on top of the money pit known as the water garden.
"We should tear it out and use that spot for a ground lease for a convention center hotel," Hernandez said. "And I’m willing to do some incentives like build a parking garage for that hotel because we need one anyway. And it would go with the American Bank Center. Maybe do a contract to have them manage the convention center portion of it in conjunction with the hotel.”
Councilman Mike Pusley feels it’s time the City finally made a push to get the hotel built.
"I have been told this for a number of years conventions won’t come here because we don’t have a convention hotel and there are some changes that we need to make to the floor plan at the convention center," Pusley said.
He also knows that the City is going to have to make more improvements to the American Bank Center. Right now that looks to include at least a new roof and possibly the air conditioning and heating systems. All part of a renewed effort to turn the American Bank Center into a real jewel along the bay.
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