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VOL. 133 | NO. 161 | Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Convention Center Hotel Plans Reveal Likely Civic Center Location

Special to The Daily News

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Representatives with the New York-based company redeveloping 100 N. Main St., including their hotel partner Loews Hotel & Co., were in Memphis on Tuesday, Aug. 14, scouting locations for a convention center hotel.

Townhouse Management Co. and Loews made a presentation to City Council members about adding their proposed convention center hotel project as a “qualified public use facility” within the Downtown Memphis Tourism Development Zone (TDZ) in order to pay down the debt of construction using the tourist surcharge on certain goods and services sold within the TDZ.

Part of the combined presentation included measures of economic impact following the opening of a new group hotel, in which multiple rooms are booked to accommodate conventions and other events. In numerous markets, the opening of a group hotel has lifted the revenue per available room (RevPAR) of the entire market and boosted demand while at the same time increasing supply, the presentation stated.

Data showed the opening of the Omni Hotel in Nashville represented a 10.9 percent increase in supply and in the two years since opening in September of 2013, market demand outpaced supply with RevPAR increasing 8.7 percent.

“[With the opening of a convention center hotel] all hoteliers’ rates go up,” Constantine S. Dimas, senior vice president and chief business officer of Lowes Hotel & Co., told council members Tuesday. “That’s what we want. We can’t succeed as an operator unless bigger and better operators come into the market.”

As for other hotel companies that may be interested in coming to Memphis, Dimas said, “Memphis is currently undervalued. Memphis is a buy.”

The resolution received initial approval from council members during Tuesday’s Economic Development, Tourism & Technology Committee.

While in town, Townhouse and Loews also looked at different sites to determine the cost of the convention center hotel, said Jennifer Oswalt, president of the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Though subject to change, renderings presented before council showed a 26-story guest room tower atop three stories of ballroom and conference center space as an infill project on the Main Street Mall, between the Downtown Memphis Commission offices and Shelby County Commission building.

The entrance of the hotel would be on North Main Street facing Civic Center Plaza and Memphis City Hall. The nod from City Council is the first step of consideration this year, Oswalt said. The developers will then return to the Tennessee State Building Commission, which approves TDZs.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 28 305 3,056
BANKRUPTCIES 25 98 716
BUSINESS LICENSES 4 26 302
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0