CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi City Council approved an amended contract with Hunden Strategic Partners, on Tuesday.
This agreement was originally passed in March, and the goal is to look at the feasibility of adding a hotel to the American Bank Center, along with more nearby development.
“People want progress, but at what cost?” Johnny Philipello said, chairman of Visit Corpus Christi's Board of Directors.
The ABC you see today has hosted your favorite events since 2004. But what other events could have been held there that were passed up?
“Large conventions, mid-size conventions, one of their requirements is we want an adjoining hotel," said Philipello, who lead the committee in bringing in an advising firm. "So, how many of those are out there and how much business are we losing? And what type of partnership could we form with the private sector to get one.”
City employees were unavailable for interviews, but we did receive some answers to our questions.
A city staff member said the reason for the study comes after a tourist economic study shows lost potential.
A hotel was the initial thought for the survey.
Philipello said this has been in discussion long before he arrived in the city seven years ago.
“Let's settle this once and for all," he said. "Either we get the data to determine whether we move forward with the economics of putting a hotel at the convention center and a partner for that. Or we go in a different direction and stop talking about it.”
The city staff member said the study will answer what is possible. Is there a potential for retail, office spaces, or restaurants around ABC?
“You have downtown and then you have the S.E.A. District and neither of them are connected," said Philipello. "So, our hope would be if you could create more traffic down there, more businesses will come, restaurants, shopping, other hotels beyond the convention center hotel.”
The study will cost the city $176,000.
City staff expects a preliminary report in mid-September.
Hunden has worked on similar projects across Texas, including convention centers in Abilene and Amarillo.
To see the full details of the study, you can click here.