Negotiations collapse in effort to build Salt Lake City convention center hotel

Source: Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake Tribune, August 11, 2015

Plans to develop a convention-center headquarters hotel in downtown Salt Lake City are back at square one. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said Tuesday that contract talks for Omni Hotels and Resorts to build a megahotel adjacent to the Salt Palace Convention Center — augmented with tax incentives from the state, county and Salt Lake City — have collapsed. … County Council Chairman Richard Snelgrove, who was on the losing end of a 6-3 vote when the council opted in 2012 to pursue a public-private partnership, applauded McAdams’ decision to walk away from the talks. “I’ve felt all along that a tax-subsidized hotel was wrong,” Snelgrove said. “It should be left to developers and the private sector. We’d be helping a new hotel compete against existing hotels. That’s not fair.” That’s the position of Utah Taxpayers Association Vice President Billy Hesterman. “Utah taxpayers should not be footing the bill for a plan that favors one business over another,” he said, noting existing hotels already pay millions in taxes yearly. “We look forward to when Utah’s convention and travel market can demand such a facility without taxpayer assistance.” … The legislation provided for a hotel developer to pick a site. It would receive post-performance tax breaks of up to $75 million to help underwrite construction of “public spaces” — meetings rooms, parking, utility lines — at the otherwise privately financed hotel. Projections estimated its cost at $335 million.


Omni offers sole proposal for Salt Lake convention hotel
Source: Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune, October 27, 2014

One developer has submitted a proposal to build a large hotel near the convention center in downtown Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County officials announced Monday. Friday was the deadline to apply for the project, which comes with $75 million in possible tax credits. The submitted proposal from Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts will now be reviewed by a county selection committee assigned to endorse a developer. … Utah state and local governments are offering up to $75 million in possible tax credits if the new hotel increases sales-tax revenues in the years after it opens. Some lawmakers and others worried that the project and incentive could harm existing hotels, so lawmakers also included an $8 million lifeline for existing hotels if they have vacancies once the new hotel opens.