No Convention Center Offers Yet

Deadline for proposals is January 31; city may abandon plans

The deadline for proposals for a long-discussed conference center in Jefferson City is drawing closer. So far, though, no one has stepped up with a plan. Mayor Eric Struemph told ABC 17 News Monday afternoon the city hadn't received any proposals yet, after it made public a Request for Proposals (RFP) a couple months ago. But, he noted most bids for projects like this come in the final days before the deadline. "I'm anxious as anyone would be when you've worked on a project for a long time," Struemph said. "We'll just have to wake up on February first and say, 'OK, what do we want to do? Is there something maybe that we had in the RFP that maybe kept people away?'" "This is the first time that we've gotten to this step in a very long time as a community," he said. The city is looking for a hotel operator to build a hotel next to a $9 million, city-financed conference center. The requirements are that the conference center be 30,000 square feet and the hotel have more than 200 rooms. After construction, the hotel operator would take control of running the conference center and any profits or losses from it. The money comes from a previously-approved lodging tax increase for Jefferson City. But the idea of a conference center has floated around the city for decades. In some cases, the previous plans also died when no operator stepped up to the plate.

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