Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the project?
The project includes the construction of a 200 room full-service Delta by Marriott Hotel and a 14,725 square foot Banquet Room. The entire Conference Center, which includes a pre-convention area and back-of-house space is approximately 35,960 square feet. The Delta by Marriott Hotel and Conference Center will be located on the grounds of the MPEC Facilities. The total cost of the hotel is estimated to be $48 million and the Banquet Room/Conference Center space is estimated to cost $14.8 million.
2. What is a “Full-Service Hotel”?
A hotel that offers a full kitchen, restaurant, bar/lounge, swimming pool, and fitness center.
3. Why is the project needed?
At present, the City is unable to compete for numerous larger conventions that require a full-service hotel in the vicinity of the meeting space where the conventions are held. This situation puts the City at an extreme disadvantage when recruiting conventions and erodes revenue to the MPEC operation, ultimately costing the taxpayers additional money. Market studies that were prepared by professional hotel marketing analysts indicate that there are enough lost convention opportunities to fully support a full-service convention-style hotel and conference center if it is located on the grounds of the MPEC facilities. Currently, there are no operational full-service hotels anywhere in Wichita Falls.
Below is a message directly from Tim O'Reilly, the CEO of O'Reilly Hospitality Management. Tim talks about why he chose Wichita Falls to build his next hotel and why he is excited to become involved with our community!
5. Who owns the Conference Center/Banquet Room?
The City of Wichita Falls is the owner of the Conference Center/Banquet Room, which will also be managed by O'Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC.
6. How is the construction cost of the hotel project being financed?
O'Reilly Hospitality Management, LLC is privately financing approximately 94% of the cost of the hotel with "No Guarantee" of the City of Wichita Falls. The 4B Sales Tax Corporation contributed $2 million in a forgivable loan. The City of Wichita Falls will donate land, waive building permit fees, and rebate property taxes and sales taxes that are paid by O'Reilly during construction.
7. How is the construction cost of the Conference Center being financed?
The City of Wichita Falls was approved through City Council to borrow up to, and not exceed, $19 million in 30-year sales tax revenue bonds, and the 4B Sales Tax Corporation will pay the annual debt service. Revenue bonds are entirely backed by the existing 4B sales tax revenue stream. Property taxpayers are in no way responsible for this debt. The 4B Corporation retired some outstanding debt in the 2018-19 fiscal year which lowered their annual debt service. That reduction in debt service obligations helps offset the additional debt service for the Conference Center parking spaces. In addition, the City has already utilized other City-owned property in the immediate vicinity of the MPEC to replace the lost parking spaces.
8. Has this project ever been voted on by the public in a bond election?
No, this project has not been voted on by the public and was not a part of the 2018 bond packages. Funding for the conference center will come from 4B sales tax dollars.
9. Why are 4B sales tax dollars being used to finance this project?
The 4B Sales Tax Corporation was established in 1997 by a vote of the public to encourage economic development through projects that improve the quality of life in Wichita Falls. This project is eligible for 4B sales tax funding because the Hotel/Conference Center project includes facilities that improve the tourism and convention industry and create jobs for the community. This sales tax already exists and its annual revenue will be used to finance this project. As a result, the taxpayers of this community will not be required to pay additional taxes to build these facilities.
10. What is the estimated economic impact of the project?
CBRE Hotels, which specializes in hotel market feasibility and econometric studies, recently updated the economic impact figures. The total estimated economic impact from construction is $31,734,000 million with an estimated 275 jobs created during construction. The estimated economic impact from operations over a 10-year period is $35,648,923 with an estimated 116 jobs created directly from the hotel operation. The total estimated economic impact over a 10-year period is $67,382,923. This does not include any additional economic impacts that are expected due to additional conventions that will be brought to Wichita Falls when these facilities are completed. The additional conventions mean more people from outside of Wichita Falls in our City staying in our hotels, shopping in our stores, eating in our restaurants, etc. This activity in turn generates sales tax revenue.
11. Why would the City consider financially incentivizing this Full-Service Hotel as opposed to other hotels?
The City views this Hotel/Conference Center as an extension of the MPEC facilities in that this hotel directly impacts the City’s ability to attract larger conventions to the MPEC facilities. Without this full-service hotel, more taxpayer money will be needed to subsidize operations at MPEC due to lost convention opportunities. It is also located in the downtown Central Business District, which should have a direct impact on the revitalization of downtown. Downtown revitalization is a goal of both the City and the 4B Sales Tax Corporation.
12. Will the business of other hotels in the community be adversely impacted due to this hotel?
On the contrary, all market study indicators suggest that this full-service hotel will provide more hotel nights at existing hotels as larger conventions are attracted to the community. This Delta by Marriott will only offer 200 rooms, causing convention attendees to book rooms in other limited-service hotels. Additionally, all local and non-local hotel owners/developers had an opportunity to submit a proposal for a similar hotel and chose not to participate.
13. Why does the City believe the Delta by Marriott will thrive when two full-service hotels in the downtown area were not able to remain financially solvent?
Marriott International is the largest hotel company in the world and has an outstanding reputation for the long-term success of its facilities. The project will include a requirement of 4% of annual operating costs to be deposited into a reserve account for future building repairs. The improved location on the grounds at MPEC will enhance the City’s ability to generate convention business for the hotel. The prior full-service hotels that were in downtown Wichita Falls were either located in a flood plain, difficult to access or were three blocks from our MPEC facilities. These two hotels were very nice originally, but began to decline when they lost their competitive position to other cities that built true convention hotels. That is why it is so critical for our new hotel to be a true extension of MPEC and in the immediate vicinity. Otherwise, we really won't gain much competitive position and would not get the Marriott or a nicer full-service brand to consider Wichita Falls. Finally, the prior two competing full-service hotels had trouble supporting the size of both of their facilities. This Delta by Marriott will only consist of 200 rooms and should be easily supported financially at 65-70% occupancy rates.
14. Why is an additional Banquet Room being built?
The first professionally prepared market study showed a need for 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space (14,500 banquet room and 1,500 junior meeting rooms). The second study reduced that to 12,070 sq. ft. (10,570 banquet room and 1,500 junior meeting rooms). The Delta by Marriott Banquet Room will seat about 980 guests in a banquet-style setup. The Delta by Marriott or other "full-service" hotels would not consider the Wichita Falls market without a Banquet Room. Once the full-service hotel is constructed, we expect there to be a need for large banquets at times when the MPEC banquet space is being consumed by other events such as Hotter'N Hell Hundred, Ranch Roundup, Gun and Knife Shows, Home and Garden Show, Heart of a Women, Sheppard Military Affairs banquets, Christmas Magic, and the T-O Fair, just to name a few. In addition, many of the larger conventions the City will target can utilize both MPEC facilities and the banquet room. For example, an event can host their tradeshow and meetings at the MPEC and then host their awards dinner or annual conference in the banquet room at the hotel.
15. How will parking at the MPEC be affected by this hotel?
The City has already utilized other City-owned property in the immediate vicinity of the MPEC to replace any parking that is lost due to the hotel. Once complete, the MPEC will actually gain a net of approximately 90 parking spots.
Below is an update Tim O'Reilly gave to City Council during November of 2019.