The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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September 24, 2013

Deal may bring downtown hotel to Muskogee

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — What some may have seen a decade ago as a pipe dream could become a reality after city councilors inked a deal that could lead to the development of a downtown hotel.

City councilors approved a $60,000 agreement with LodgeWell Development of Overland Park, Kan., to breathe some life into the idea. The terms of a memorandum of understanding defines the project as the development of 120-room hotel branded by a national franchise.

Interim City Manager Roy Tucker described the deal as “a good step in the right direction.” He said LodgeWell was selected based upon good reviews of the firm’s work in Enid, which is enjoying a renaissance of sorts in its downtown district.

“There have been discussion about a downtown hotel for years,” Tucker said. “The city of Enid, with which we have developed a great relationship, has been very happy with the work LodgeWell has done for them, and we think it can do the same for us here.”

The terms of the agreement state LodgeWell during the course of six months “define the preliminary scope, size, costs and potential funding sources for the project.” The project is defined as “the development, design, financing, construction and management” of a 120-room nationally branded hotel, conference center and other commercial development.

The firm’s work also may include a “market analysis or feasibility study to determine demand and the types of amenities that should be included as part of the project.” LodgeWell also will work with city officials to identify “governmental incentives and financing tools” that would help move the project forward.

LodgeWell is a limited liability company managed by Dave Mashburn and Dave Owen. Mashburn boasts more than 30 years of experience in the development, design, construction and management of hotels, resorts and conference centers with project costs totaling more than $3 billion. Owen, a former state senator and lieutenant governor of Kansas, has expertise in banking, investment banking and real estate.

Mayor Bob Coburn said he is “all in favor of” the plan.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

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