Price tag for downtown hotel raising some red flags - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Price tag for downtown hotel raising some red flags

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On Tuesday, at least one city council member told 14 News that he won't vote for Evansville's downtown hotel project as is and he says he's not alone. 

This comes as more details emerge about the price tag for the new hotel.

In the meeting Monday night, it was discussed the city would pay about $37.5 million for its part in the 250 room hotel proposal.

That's raising some red flags. But Tuesday, the mayor says a hotel on the downtown land would be the catalyst this city needs.

"I think people generally agree that we need a convention hotel. I understand and appreciate that the cost might be too much for some," Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said.  

$73 million for the proposed downtown hotel isn't connecting with Evansville Councilman-At-Large Conor O'Daniel.

"If the vote were today, I can't give you a number.  My sense is that it probably would not pass," O'Daniel said.

Mayor Winnecke said the proposal is a work in progress and both the city and developers are listening to the council's concerns.

"I certainly respect his opinion. I don't expect that all nine members of the city council are going to agree with me on 100 percent of the things we do. We're going to disagree," Mayor Winnecke said.

O'Daniel says the problem is with the size of the hotel, what the city would have to pay, and the $20 million assessed value developers believe the hotel will ultimately be worth.

"It's too much," O'Daniel said. "I think many of us are looking at it, do these numbers make sense at this level? If it was scaled back significantly, I think it would have a much better chance of passing."  

"If we don't, we're going to continue to leave a lot of business on the table. We're going to continue to lose money in the convention center, and we're going to continue to be "off the map" in a lot of people's sense," Mayor Winnecke said.  

Developers say the average room rate would come in at about $118 a night.

But for many, the question is can the city afford to build this hotel or can it afford not to?

We'll know more once the final proposal is completed in June.

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Price tag big question for proposed convention hotel

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