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Convention center agreement approved

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The Tyler City Council is closer to bringing a new conference center hotel to Tyler. 

Back in June, KLTV told you about the proposed project that developers said would attract thousands of conferences a year, money Tyler has missed out on in the past. 

City officials said for the last 25 years, the have brainstormed the possibility of bringing a conference center hotel to the city.

Tom Mullins is the president of the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce. Mullins said the project could have been bringing major dollars.

"Over 20 years? I'm sure we've lost millions of dollars of potential tourism income, convention center income we could have had, had we had the facility in place," explained Tom Mullins. 

Which is why Mayor Barbara Bass and other city officials are excited about moving forward with Garfield Traub Development, L.L.C. , a company hired as independent consults to assist the city with upcoming the project phases. 

"It is because of their years of experience and their depth of knowledge that they were considered and were the ones who ended up being selected for this project," Mayor Bass explained. 

Garfield Traub Development, L.L.C. will assist the city with further pre-development activities and potential document negotiation, design, financing, construction, and operation of a conference center/hotel in partnership with a third party. 

The numbers for the facility are far from concrete, but Mayor Bass said the hotel could cost around 40 to 50 million dollars while the conference center is estimated at 15 to 25 million dollars. 

"It will be approximately one third funded by the city because we will only pay for the convention center and two thirds funded by the hotel group," said Mayor Bass. 

The proposed conference center hotel is anticipated to generate $600,000 per year in new hotel occupancy tax income of the city, in addition to new sales tax revenue, property taxes and operating income. 

"By having a conference center/hotel we can bid on for larger conferences, larger groups to come into Tyler stay sometimes a week at a time, that will have a big economic impact on Tyler's bottom line," Mullins said. 

Mayor Bass said if everything goes smoothly, construction could begin around September of 2014. 

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