WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls city leaders have been uncertain about the future of a full-service hotel and conference center next to the MPEC. But the project is back on track, and about to become a reality.
For six to eight months Wichita Falls has worked with Gatehouse Capital to get all the funding in place for the project. Now that things are looking up, city leaders are excited and believe you should be too.
"Everyone on this council is for growth," District 4 Councilor, Jesse Brown said. "And we're for moving forward with our city. We're trying to be aggressive in different economic development opportunities. So we're extremely excited. It's a great day."
City leaders had to shown patience with the project.
"It has been a little frustrating that we haven't been able to move quite as quickly as we would have liked," Deputy City Manager, Jim Dockery said.
But it has paid off as Gatehouse Capital is very close to securing its $20 million portions of the $30 million DoubleTree hotel. With the funding nearly in place, councilors passed a resolution expressing their intention to pass bonds for the project.
Wichita Falls will pay for the additional $10 million of the hotel with 4B economic development funds and the entire $7.6 million conference center. Councilor Brown said this is a project that has to get done.
"Conventions don't want to go to a city or convention center that does not have a hotel on-site," Brown said. "For me as a city councilor, if we deny this, then we have just cut ourselves out of any kind of future convention funding or tourism dollars coming here to Wichita Falls."
On November 21 city councilors are expected to pass the bonds for those two projects, and then break ground soon after in January. Dockery said Gatehouse Capital will not be taking any loans from local banks because the loan is too big and complex. But he said they support the project.
Councilor Brown said there are similar projects going on in Lubbock, Midland, and Abilene. He added it has to be done or Wichita Falls will lose conventions and dollars to those respected cities.