It was on hold for a while but now it is back in play. Thanks, of course, to a healthy public subsidy by way of the Convention Center.
The latest proposal comes after years of stalled negotiations with the same local businessmen, Darryl Berger and Joe Jaeger, who previously were negotiating to build a larger, $1.5 billion development that would have included the hotel as well as retail space, restaurants and entertainment venues on a 47-acre site upriver of the facility.Now we could go on our usual harangue here about how, yet again, the public money generated by the hotel/motel tax isn't going to fund badly needed infrastructure projects in the city, or to benefit any of the wage earners who actually make that revenue possible in the first place but is instead being shoveled into the pockets of the NOligarchs. But that is just the standard way we go about things.
Under a timeline discussed last week, negotiations for the hotel alone are expected to wrap up by July, with construction potentially beginning in late 2019 and the hotel opening by April 2023.
The development team now also includes Matthews Southwest Hospitality, a Texas-based real estate firm, and Preston Hollow Capital, a Texas-based finance company, as well as Omni Hotels.
Under the latest plans, the total project costs are estimated to be more than $550 million. To help cover them, the developers are seeking $41 million from the Convention Center, as well as a rebate of hotel occupancy taxes equal to 10 percent of gross revenues and 4 percent of other revenues until the bond debt is repaid — roughly 40 years.
In the first year, the hotel is projected to generate almost $57 million in revenue from rooms — making that rebate worth about $5.7 million, according to financial documents that were included in the developers' proposal. It is projected to generate about $44 million in food and beverage sales, making that rebate worth almost $1.8 million.
The group is also seeking a break on property taxes, under an arrangement that will see the hotel owned by a nonprofit
So let's skip it for now and recall instead that Joe Jaeger, along with tons of help from the Advocate in the form of serial news features, editorials, and an especially flattering in-depth profile by Tyler Bridges here, just got finished leading a personal crusade against a Harrah's deal he and they swore up and down was a shady abuse of political power. It is by sheer coincidence, of course, that that would have put a competing (and likely unionized) hotel right down the street from his publicly subidized development.
Don't expect too many questions about this, though.