New Convention Center Hotel Means Critical Tax Revenues

It was recently revealed that the County and The Related Group (Related) have been working on a new agreement to construct a long-anticipated Convention Center Hotel in West Palm Beach.

As this has been part of the public discussion for over a decade, we as a city are encouraged to see that such a project is once again on the drawing board. A convention center hotel not only will benefit the City of West Palm Beach but will serve as an economic catalyst for the entire county.

This project falls under a 2005 Settlement Agreement between the City of West Palm Beach, the County and Related. That agreement provides for much-needed tax revenues from the project which will benefit all the citizens of West Palm Beach.

The upcoming July 24, 2012 County agenda item refers to the Settlement Agreement and seems to suggest that the Agreement requires the construction of private condominiums along with the hotel.

Given the economic importance of this project, in anticipation of Tuesday’s County Commission meeting we have reviewed the terms of the existing Settlement Agreement. We are pleased that it already addresses the possibility of building the hotel without condominiums.

According to the Agreement, “If the improvements constructed upon the Hotel Site do not include condominiums, then as the sole remedy for failure to include condominiums, the hotel constructed on the Hotel Site shall remain on the tax roles.”

We agree that the current economic climate may not be ideal for the construction of condos as part of the project. Fortunately the Settlement Agreement already provides for this possibility.

The existing agreement between the City of West Palm Beach, the County, and Related allows for the project to move forward without condos as long as the hotel is on the tax roles. Since both the County and Related signed the Settlement Agreement, and given the project’s importance to the community, we look forward to the fast-tracking of this project as it will not require any additional renegotiation involving the City of West Palm Beach.