WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A project for a new full-service hotel and conference center next to the MPEC is still delayed.
The full-service Delta hotel and conference center were expected to break ground fall of 2017.
That date has been pushed back to the summer of 2018. However, it's not expected to impact any of the current conventions coming to Wichita Falls.
"We've let our event planners know about the project," Director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Lindsay Barker said. "And different organizations and groups. But at the same time, we haven't officially booked any events in that space because there was no formal decision made."
Wichita Falls has a number of conventions coming to the city in 2018 and 2019. They include the U.S. Quidditch Southwest Regional Championship, the Ink Masters Tattoo Expo, and the National Horseshoe Competition, totaling over a $41 million economic impact.
Barker said none of them are contingent on the hotel and conference center, adding its completion would be an added bonus.
"It would be premature of us to book any events there yet because a formal decision hasn't been made," she said.
Barker said they will begin booking conventions in the new hotel and conference center once the city gives them the green light. But what if a delay happens after and the project isn't completed in time?
"We would handle that situation as it comes up," Barker said. "But we're fortunate we do have a lot of great hotels in town that we would partner with and most likely would be able to still accommodate those events."
C.E.O. of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce Henry Florsheim said tourism is economic development and when people come from outside the area, that grows the economy.
"It's extremely important to get more people here so they can leave their money with us," Florsheim said.
He said the hotel and conference center play a huge part in the downtown efforts. But if the project fell through, they would adapt.
"We're still going to continue to push forward on our plans for downtown revitalization no matter what happens," Florsheim said. "Whether you land a deal or not, you just keep pushing forward because that's what the citizens of Wichita Falls expect us to do."
Barker said once the hotel and conference center is built, the sky is the limit for how many conventions can be brought to the Falls.
She said having a hotel on site is becoming an industry expectation. Last year they couldn't apply for conventions that would have brought 22,000 people, filled 19,000 hotel rooms, and brought in over $27 million.