Conference center plans to be revealed this week
Public hearing to be held Monday, council to vote April 7
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
After months of closed session meetings, the Jefferson City Council is ready to move forward with plans for a proposed conference center.
City Attorney Drew Hilpert said summaries of the final plans from two developers for the conference center will be revealed to the public this week and a public hearing on the two proposed plans will be held Monday. Hilpert said he hoped to have the summaries ready today.
“The council wants to hear from the public,” Hilpert said at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
In mid-November, the City Council voted 6-4 to move conference center proposals from both Jefferson City-based Farmer Holding Co. and Hannibal-based Ehrhardt Hospitality Group forward into the contract negotiation phase. There is no timeline for completing the next phase, with Hilpert saying at the time of the vote that it could take from two months to two years before contracts are ready to be presented.
Farmer Holding Co. has proposed a $36 million hotel and conference center at the Capital Mall; Ehrhardt Hospitality has proposed a $24.6 million hotel and conference center at the West McCarty Street site, which is owned by the state.
The Ehrhardt Groups’ total cost does not include an estimated $2 million for land acquisition, which is expected to be paid by the city, or an estimated $7 million for a city built and operated parking garage.
Hilpert said the plan would be to have the council vote on the two proposed conference center plans at their next meeting on April 7.
In other business, Hilpert was awarded a key to Jefferson City on Monday by Mayor Eric Struemph “in recognition of (Hilpert’s) leadership,” excellent customer service and his willingness to “go above and beyond” in his role as interim city administrator.
Hilpert served as interim city administrator since the council voted to fire former City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus in mid-September. The city’s new administrator, Steve Crowell, began his duties last week.
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