ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Taylor County commissioners have decided they will not offer any tax abatements to help fund the City of Abilene’s downtown hotel project.
Mayor Anthony Williams approached commissioners during a meeting in November and asked if Taylor County would consider a 50% tax abatement on the proposed hotel property for 10 years.
The discussion was tabled for further study and in the following months, Taylor county commissioners tried working with the City to get information regarding the finances of the project, but that information was never provided, even after commissioners held a meeting with city officials.
Commissioners also got input on the project from 19 other hotels in Abilene, and all but one are against the downtown hotel, saying they are only 60% full as it is and they need at least 70% occupancy to break even and begin making a profit. They fear adding another hotel would further hurt their business.
A local economist and a local real estate agent also gave commissioners input on the downtown hotel project, claiming they both believe it is not a good idea financially.
During an interview with KTAB news last month, Mayor Anthony Williams said the downtown hotel project is not dependant on Taylor County’s financial support because he believes the private sector will step up and provide the rest of the funding.
Speculative plans released on the project last year show the full-service hotel, which will be attached to the Abilene Convention Center on North 6th Street, will feature 206 guest rooms and at least 19,500 sq. ft. of public meeting space, such as a ballroom, breakout rooms, and a boardroom.
Planned amenities include a 3-meal restaurant, a cafe, a lobby bar, room service, a pool deck/w entertainment suites, a rooftop bar, a business center, a fitness center/gym, high-speed internet, and a catering kitchen.
City Manager Robert Hanna says the City is currently in negotiations to bring either the Sheraton or Double Tree Brand onto the project, though the Sheraton brand is preferred.
Hanna referred to this project as a “luxury, first-class hotel” that’s designed to serve as a catalyst for development in downtown Abilene.
BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide updates on the Downtown Hotel and Convention Center as additional details are released.