Gatehouse Capital updates WF 4B board on hotel project

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Wichita Falls is, once again, moving full-steam ahead on a new full-service hotel and conference center next to the MPEC after developer Gatehouse Capital told the 4B board on Tuesday the financing portion could be approved in a week.

"That's the last piece to the puzzle and we feel like we're close," Deputy City Manager, Jim Dockery said.

"We are feeling earnestly optimistic about where we stand with our capital partners and the relationship, kind of the triangle between the city, the developer, and the lender," C.E.O. of Gatehouse Capital, Penn Collins said.

For nearly a year Gatehouse Capital has worked with the city to try and secure funding on the $30 million full-service Delta by Marriott hotel.

The 4B board passed two motions after the progress report.

The first was for $300,000 of pre-development funding.

"The purpose of that essentially is that we get a final cost," Dockery said. "Right now we're just working on cost-estimates."

The second was showing their intention of moving forward with the project and setting up a public hearing June 25 at 4 p.m. inside council chambers.

"We wanted to be ready to act on that as soon as possible," Dockery said. "And the notice of intent to issue those bonds starts the clock so to speak so that we can take action sooner rather than later."

Collins said the project has moved so slow because they have to follow a linear path with a bunch of items to address.

He said it's frustrating, but not uncommon.

Collins wants people to know Gatehouse Capital and Marriott remain 100 percent invested in the full-service hotel and conference center and Wichita Falls.

"We think that this project serves as kind of a point of pride not just for the company, but for the city as well," Collins said. "And I think it's logistically a necessary piece for the growth of the city. And as such, we couldn't be more eager to do it."

Dockery said the hotel and conference center would create $75 million in economic impact with all the events and conventions it would bring.

The project will not lead to an increase in taxes.

Gatehouse Capital will pay for $20 million of the hotel and the 4-B board the remaining $10 million.

The conference center will be paid for with certificates of obligation.

Dockery said the city will only pay that $300,000 if the project goes through.

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