Tyler hotel-conference center stalled, city optimistic about new - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Tyler hotel-conference center stalled, city optimistic about new investors

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TYLER (KYTX) -
For several years city leaders have been bullish on a new hotel and conference center on South Broadway. On Tuesday they said negotiations to build it are back on track after the original development group pulled out of the project.

By now you've probably seen the small army of construction workers building a very large shopping center along South Broadway. The stores and restaurants are part of the equation that--once solved--is supposed to bring untold millions into the city's economy.

"People have been kind of curious," Tyler Economic Development Council President and CEO Tom Mullins said, adding that convention planners call his office frequently. "We're probably losing several million dollars a year because, with our size of market, we're a location where a lot of conferences would like to come. But they need a bigger facility."

For now that bigger facility is still a drawing.

"We just don't bid on a lot of those because we know we can't compete," Mullins said.

The hotel itself is supposed to be built privately--with the city chipping in for the conference center.

Several weeks ago, then-Mayor Barbara Bass said several groups had pulled out of the hotel negotiations. They were concerned about a soft economy and doing business in a town the size of Tyler.

"I do think it will happen," current Mayor Martin Heines said Tuesday.

Heines confirmed the difficulties the deal has faced. He said a new group has entered talks with the city.

"Whenever you go through the process of making sure the private sector meets with our criteria, it takes time," he said. "I don't think we should put a timeline [on it]. We are slowly working through the process."
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