OKC Convention Center, Hotel Sparks Debate Over Tax Burden

Tuesday, October 7th 2014, 5:46 pm
By: Karl Torp

On Tuesday, a possible convention center hotel downtown sparked debate over how much taxpayers would have to fork out.

The city says it's very early in the process and consultants are working on funding options.

Private and publicly funding options are being examined and how much money spent in public tax subsidies has not been announced.

"It also keeps our options open and keeps us from getting locked into one specific idea of how a hotel should be developed," said Cathy O'Connor with the Alliance for Economic Development of OKC.

Councilman Ed Shadid says not revealing development dollar details has more to do with not publicizing the burden to tax payers.

"For an initial convention center hotel, no city has been able to do this without massive public subsidies. But we continue the myth, the Fairly Tale that we are going to be the first," said Shadid.

The city claims in six months it may be in a position to look to hire developers for the hotel.

Shadid believes the city and consultants will go back and forth at least six more months before the price for taxpayers is estimated. He says people should not expect to see that number until after city council elections in March.

The City Council still has to approve building the hotel.