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Highgate Holdings and Phelps Development the Two Finalists Arlington, Texas Considering
 for the Planned Expansion and Hotel at theArlington Convention Center
By Susan Schrock, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jun. 16, 2008 - ARLINGTON -- The City Council could select a developer Tuesday for the planned expansion of the Arlington Convention Center.

The developer would also build business-class hotel rooms as well as meeting rooms and exhibit space for conventions.

The choice will be between Highgate Holdings, which proposes to expand the existing Sheraton Hotel, and Phelps Development, which would build a Marriot hotel near the convention center. A third finalist, FaulknerUSA, withdrew a proposal to build a Doubletree hotel.

After a finalist is selected, the city will begin negotiating how the project will be financed. Convention Center Director Mark Wisness said he expects that the hotel will be privately financed and the convention center expansion will be paid for by the city.

The project is expected to add at least 300 additional hotel rooms, 50,000 more square feet of exhibit space, and more meeting rooms to help the city attract more conventions and visitors, Wiseman said. The city hopes the project is complete before the 2011 Super Bowl at the new Cowboys stadium.

In other business:

Bond election: The council will continue prioritizing the list of bond projects that will be on the November ballot. The proposed bond package is expected to include $132 million for park, street and public infrastructure projects.

Miracle Field: The council will consider renaming two park facilities. One proposal is the official naming of the Doug Inman Miracle League Field at Randol Mill Park, 1901 W. Randol Mill Road. Inman, who died last year, founded the Miracle League in Arlington. The league uses a barrier-free field and volunteers to help mentally and physically challenged children play baseball for free.

Lake Arlington Golf: The council will also consider renaming the Lake Arlington Golf Course as Village Creek Golf Course. The course, in west Arlington, is undergoing major renovation and will remain closed until September.

Tierra Verde Golf: The parks department is also asking to spend $72,000 in gas well revenue to expand the covered patio area at the city-run Ventana Grille restaurant at Tierra Verde Golf Club in southwest Arlington.

New parkland: The parks department also plans to ask the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for a $500,000 matching grant to develop new parkland in southeast Arlington. The grant would help the city pay for construction of amenities such as playground equipment, playing fields and picnic facilities.

If you go The Arlington City Council meets at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 101 W. Abram St.

Telecast: Channel 16 on Arlington Time Warner Cable



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