At the top of Mayor Norm Archibald’s wish list for Abilene is a new downtown hotel.
Mentioning the potential project during his State of the City address Tuesday, Archibald said he hoped to demolish the old Greyhound bus station, which the city purchased last year, and for a convention-style hotel connected to the Civic Center to be built.
Archibald said he is exploring funding options for the project.
So far, he said, no hotel chains had approached him with an interest to build downtown. Using Development Corporation of Abilene money, Archibald said, isn’t an option.
Even so, business owners expressed excitement about the prospects of such a project.
"We have no doubt in our minds that it would help businesses in the downtown area of Abilene if we had a downtown hotel," said Betty Hukill, executive director of the Paramount Theatre.
"A convention-style hotel adjacent to the Civic Center would open up opportunities for much larger events, much larger conventions and of course that's sales tax revenue, that's heads in beds, that's really important to this community," said Brian Green, who owns Cypress Street Station restaurant.
Why do business owners think a convention-style hotel is needed when there are other hotels just minutes away?
"This is a convention where you bring in hundreds of people for one event that need to be centrally located, adjacent to a large convention-style facility, much like our great Civic Center," Green said.