|By Brian Cuaron, Victoria Advocate,
TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Sept. 07, 2011--The verdict is in: Victoria needs a more upscale hotel with a conference center.
Randy McCaslin, vice president with PKF Consulting, delivered the news to the city council on Tuesday. The council awarded the company a $30,000 contract in May to study whether Victoria could support a hotel and convention center.
In the study's survey, McCaslin said that 27 percent of respondents said they booked their events outside Victoria.
"That is business that should be staying in Victoria," he explained.
McCaslin said his company looked at eight possible sites for a convention center. However, three sites stood out.
One was near the Victoria Mall that had lots of land and nearby amenities. Another suggested site was across from the Caterpillar site near Business Highway 59, which reportedly had potential for growth.
The last suggested site was near U.S. Highway 77 and Navarro Street that McCaslin said was workable but not really near the mall.
McCaslin recommended a semi-full service hotel that would offer a restaurant with three meals but a limited menu. Such a hotel would have 150 rooms, a conference center attached to it and would open in 2014.
McCaslin said the benefits of a conference center include job creation, increased tourism, increased citywide visitor spending, increased sales and hotel occupancy taxes.
Also, the semi-service hotel could spur development.
"Wherever you put this, people are going to want to be next door with their restaurant," McCaslin said.
The city council took no action on the item.
(c)2011 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)
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