DENISON, TX - It's a project 5 years in the making, and one city officials say will transform southern Denison. It started right before the economic recession, and when the economy collapsed, so did the project. But ton Thursday, the city finally turned dirt on a new hotel and conference center expected to turn up the economy.
The 120-room Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center across from TMC is finally a reality. The new complex will house 20,000 square feet of meeting space. The ballroom will hold up to 1,000 people. And it's bringing in over 100 new permanent jobs.
Robert Brady, who was Denison's mayor when this all started, says it wasn't always easy, especially during the recession.
"We made sure people didn't forget about the property and the potential it possesses," Brady said.
City leaders expect the hotel to usher in an economic boom to south Denison.
"It'll entice people to bring restaurants and other people, and it will really enhance this corner. That was the plan all along," Denison mayor Jared Johnson said.
In December, Denison approved a 40 percent tax increment financing plan with the developer to seal the deal on the $16 million hotel. Johnson says it could generate up to $12 million over 30 years.
"That money is turned right around to do other events that promote tourism to bring more people to Denison."
Johnson also says it'll also help local companies.
"As they bring in their international clients, and business partners and vendors, and people from their corporate office, this gives them another option in Denison to stay."
Construction has already started. It's expected to take about a year to complete. They say they'll be open by Christmas of 2014.