Conference center proposals to be revealed

Capital Mall one of three proposed sites

One of three proposals for a Jefferson City conference center is being made by F&F Development, owned by the Farmer brothers, who would put the center somewhere on their recently purchased Capital Mall location.

City Council members confirmed this proposal, but haven’t revealed the others. The city is expected to announce the three developers and their suggested sites today.

The other two proposals likely deal with the city’s prequalified sites, which are the old Missouri State Penitentiary and McCarty Street sites.

The City Council has been meeting in closed sessions this month to complete phase one of the conference center proposal process, which is mainly review. Phase one wrapped up Monday when the council voted to make public the names of the developers who submitted proposals and the sites they selected.

The city sent out notifications to the developers Wednesday afternoon, letting them know their names would be released to the media this morning. Missouri’s Sunshine Law gives 72 hours for governmental bodies to post any actions taken in closed session, and the city is expected to disclose that action today.

Council members said the process is moving forward and going well, but they are not ready to make a final decision.

Fourth Ward Councilman Bill Luebbert said there are so many aspects involved that it will be a long time before a proposal is selected.

“It’s a long way from being determined,” Luebbert said.

First Ward Councilman Rick Prather said all three proposals are very good prospects, but it has yet to be seen whether any of them can meet all the requirements laid out in the city’s request for proposals.

“It’s too early rule anybody out,” Prather said. “We’re keeping an open mind.”

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Carrie Carroll said she believes the process is going smoothly and she is pleased overall with the proposals. However, she said she did vote against moving one proposal forward, along with two other council members, though she did not specify which proposal she voted against. Carroll has said she would like to see a conference center at the MSP site.

Fifth Ward Councilman Larry Henry said the council is still trying to figure out who will be the right fit for the community.

“It’s going to take some time obviously,” Henry said.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Mihalevich said he’s glad the city has three developers with the financial capability to make a conference center happen and though many residents believe a facility should be located downtown, nothing is rejected as of yet.

“There are advantages to every site,” Mihalevich said.

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