DES MOINES, Iowa -- It’s been in the works for years and Thursday afternoon, ground will finally be broken on a new hotel attached to the Iowa Events Center.
“We are excited,” said Tom Hockensmith, Polk Co. Supervisor.
The new hotel will be a 330-room Hilton complex. The estimated budget is $101 million and construction is slated to be completed in the spring of 2018.
“We know that the Iowa Events Center will never reach its full potential without an attached headquarters hotel,” said Hockensmith.“That is what our competition has. It’s a convenience issue for folks that come to conventions.”
Over the last six months, downtown has hosted major events and that is a trend officials want to see stay.
“It’s a lot about booking the larger conventions,” said Hockensmith. “We know that we’ve lost multiple large conventions to our competition due to the fact that we don’t have an attached hotel.”
While Hockensmith admits this will help attract bigger conventions to Des Moines it’s not without a little bit of risk.
“Sure there is. Absolutely. There is risk to the county. There is risk to the city. We have the Iowa Reinvestment Act money that is involved in it also,” said Hockensmith. “The hotel has to perform. There is no doubt it has to perform. All of our projections show that it will. We believe that it will.”
Supervisor Hockensmith said this situation is very similar to when Wells Fargo Arena was built with the amount of subsidies. But he hopes it will be a success just like the arena is.
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the Community Choice Convention Center in the west atrium. The program is set to begin at 3:00 p.m.