|By Benjamin Wermund, Austin
American-Statesman, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 16, 2012--GEORGETOWN -- Williamson County commissioners Tuesday got the ball rolling again on a stalled plan to bring a new hotel and conference center to Georgetown. The commissioners amended a tax increment reinvestment zone agreement with the city that was originally passed in 2008.
The commissioners reduced the Rivery Park Reinvestment Zone, near Rivery Park, from its original 32 acres to about 26 acres.
The zone will host a full-service hotel with more than 200 rooms and a conference center designed to accommodate 1,500 people. The hotel and conference center are expected to cost more than $40 million, and the total development -- set to include retail and housing as well -- could exceed $100 million.
The county and the city have each offered to give back up to $25 million in tax incentives through the reinvestment plan, which expires at the end of 2031. The city is also considering issuing about $10 million in bonds to buy the conference center.
As part of the agreement, the city will also give half of 1 percent of the sales tax generated in the zone back to the county.
The project's expected completion date -- originally set for October 2011 -- was extended through September 2015.
Georgetown Chamber of Commerce Chair Marlene McMichael, who also represents the Ledgestone group set to develop the land, said many details about the "landmark" hotel and conference center are still being worked out and that the developer will present artistic renderings to the court in the near future.
The development will be on the north side of Rivery Boulevard, bounded by the river and Rivery Park on one side and Rivery Boulevard on the other, she said.
"The river is right at the base of this -- it's beautiful land," Commissioner Valerie Covey said.
Under the agreement, the county would be allowed to use the conference center for free twice a year, a prospect the commissioners were excited about Tuesday.
"When we have a Williamson County growth summit, we won't have to go to Travis County to go to it," Covey said.
Contact Benjamin Wermund at 246-1150
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