|By Salesha Wilken, Claremore Daily
Progress, Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 01, 2012--CLAREMORE -- Leisure Hospitality LLC. founder Robert Patel decided this week to pull out of the $8.5 million development of the Hampton Inn and Suites that was to be located in Claremore Plaza.
"I'm done!" Patel said.
He had announced plans to build the $8.5 million 80-room hotel at the end of 2011, until the Claremore Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCVB) decided to no longer offer a $200,000 incentive.
"It is a matter of principle, why would I come into a city that isn't greeting you," Patel said, "It is unfortunate and I hope Claremore learns from this experience."
The lengthy process to get the hotel development to a groundbreaking stage has been extremely difficult, according to Patel
In addition to the CCVB decision, the $100,000 incentive the City of Claremore was offering expired Jan. 1, 2012.
Both of the incentives were negotiated and approved late in 2011 to bring the hotel to Claremore.
The frustrations about how the incentives were handled by the CCVB led to Patel's decision.
Patel said that a meeting was held originally approving to extend the groundbreaking deadline. Then the vote was rescinded due to a "mistake" that was made during the meeting.
Another meeting was then held but this time not all of the members were present and the measure failed, according to Patel.
"If the city isn't in support of this I shouldn't be in the City of Claremore," he said.
Patel reports he has been developing hotels in the area for many years and not had this kind of experience with a city.
Glenpool offered me $1 million, Bartlesville offered $4.5 million and most importantly they welcomed me with open arms, he said.
Patel owns the land that the proposed hotel would have been built upon in Claremore Plaza. However, the option to return the land to Tapp Development is available.
At this time Patel has no plans to continue to develop the property and is going to move on to continue his other development opportunities around Tulsa.
"Because of the Open Meeting Records Act the votes that were made were not made public and due to the act the vote was deemed invalid. As a result a special meeting was called and another vote was taken," CCVB Executive Director Tanya Andrews said.
"I am hopeful that Patel will continue on with the project, Claremore does need a tier one hotel, it would be a great assist to add to our ammentities, however the board felt that it was not the CCVB place to continue with this incentive place when original deadlines were not met," she said.
City officials confirmed that the CCVB declined to participate in the extension of the incentive offer.
"I am currently not at liberty to discuss this project without confirmation by the participant," said Executive Officer Cassie Wood.
City officials have released no other official statement at this time.
(c)2012 the Claremore Daily Progress (Claremore, Okla.)
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