ERC unanimously approves downtown hotel developer - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

ERC unanimously approves downtown hotel developer

A developer for the new Downtown Convention Hotel has been approved.

The walkway to no where, the overgrown weeds in the empty lot behind me, all sights that many want to see go away sooner rather than later.

Though a developer is in place, there are some other very important details that still have to be hammered out before we know just how soon the dirt may turn and a new hotel go up.

"All those in favor signal ay. Ay.  Any opposed.  Thank you very much," was how the vote went Wednesday morning.

A fairly quick decision to move forward with Branson-based developer, HCW.

"One more step along the way, but a big step," said Ed Hafer, the ERC president. 

Of course, quick is a word that doesn't often come to mind when we talk about the convention hotel. 

Mayor Winnecke on Wednesday acknowledged that it's been a long process.

"We've taken the last year to really research the market and come up with a  process that we think really will benefit taxpayers. We've certainly lost opportunities, but at the end of the day, I think we've made smart steps," Mayor Winnecke said.

As for what set HCW apart from its competitors, ERC President Ed Hafer says the company was just a good fit.

"They're doing projects in similar sized cities and markets. In their visits to Evansville, they seemed to grasp what was a good vision for downtown Evansville. That yes, a convention hotel is very necessary for a lot of reasons, but we also need to continue downtown development," Hafer told 14 News.

That's why there's more to these images submitted by HCW. Adding to the hotel, there's also retail space, a parking garage, and on the left section of the building, a residential tower of apartments.

"There's a certain air of excitement that, ok, now we're going to sit down and begin to negotiate with the developer in terms of what's best for the city of Evansville," Hafer said.

We should know many more details like cost, room numbers, hotel flag and any city or county investment in the hotel once negotiations on a development agreement are wrapped up.

The mayor says it's possible ground could be broken as early as this summer with construction lasting between a year and 15 months, but nothing is set as of now.

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