The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 16, 2013

Hotel builders find funding

ENID, Okla. — Enid’s downtown hotel is one step closer to fruition after the development company secured enough funding to proceed.

Out of an estimated $21 million to demolish existing structures and build a hotel and parking garage, Kansas-based LodgeWell Group got loans to fund more than two-thirds of it, managing member David Owen said. The rest comes from private investors.

“We would expect to borrow somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 percent in debt financing on it,” Owen said.

He would not say who signed on as an investor, or even whether they were locals.

LodgeWell and the city of Enid signed a deal for the city to hand over land at the intersection of Maine and Independence. The historic Kress Building’s facade will remain as the front of the Hilton Garden Inn. The inside of the building, however, will be demolished.

Owen said Wednesday he was meeting with architects, engineers and contractors who will build the hotel and parking garage. Now, he wants to get started as soon as possible. The parking garage will be built where Cherokee Strip Conference Center now stands.

“We’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of months just getting the financing squared away,” he said. “It just takes time to put all this together, but I don’t see any issues that are going to be a problem.”

A preliminary timeline noted construction could be completed within 18 months of the city and LodgeWell signing a Master Development Agreement, which happened March 1.

According to the MDA, the 95,000-square-foot hotel will be no more than four stories tall and will have at least 131 rooms. Construction also will permit pedestrian access to Enid Event Center and Convention Hall.

The parking garage will have at least 250 stalls and will be no higher than four stories.

Any fees Lodgewell would have to pay for permits are waived, and the land — once the buildings are demolished — will be transferred for $10.

The contract also states the city will provide a 10-year, 100 percent rebate for all undedicated sales tax generated in the parking garage retail space.

The city will rent the parking facility and retail space for at least a decade, with the total rental cost being equal to the cost of constructing the parking facility and “all operating and reasonable management fees and expenses.” Upon completion of the 10-year lease term, LodgeWell would transfer title for the parking facility to the city.

A preliminary budget would fund $200,000 worth of renovation The Non-Profit Center, so PEGASYS, Enid’s public-access television station currently located in the conference center, could move in. City Manager Eric Benson said Visit Enid, currently in the Kress Building, also will have to move.

After construction of the Hilton Garden, LodgeWell will conduct a master plan and study of the market, and possibly build a second hotel nearby.

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