Is Salt Lake convention hotel a boon or bust for hotels, convention industry?

Published: Monday, Jan. 6 2014 8:33 p.m. MST

Jason Mathis, executive vice president of the Salt Lake Chamber, said the chamber has studied the issue for more than a year.

The proposal meets every criteria the chamber had established: serving a public purpose and creating an incentive arrangement similar in nature to other public-private partnerships.

"If you're going to put together a proposal that business people can get behind, I can't imagine doing a better job than what the county has put together with this," he said.

Under the proposal, sales and property taxes from the "hotel footprint" would be captured and rebated to the private developer to pay for the public meeting space that would be built in conjunction with the privately funded hotel, McAdams said.

A direct appropriation from partners was the only other option for the additional meeting space, he said.

"I think this is better. We're funding additional meeting space through new economic activity," McAdams said.

Beck said Salt Lake can host large-scale conventions, but delegates are scattered among 32 hotels. Denver, for instance, can stage the same convention in 16 hotels.

That means extra work and logistical issues for convention and meeting planners, such planning transportation to leaving convention-related information in hotel rooms.

Beck said cities that have convention center hotels that serve as the headquarters of a convention have a competitive advantage because "people like to be where people are and have a central place to gather."

Email: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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