• Sioux Falls developer wants to bring Courtyard Marriott or Hilton, more meeting space to Swiftel
Brookings city councilors will get their first look Tuesday at a proposal from a Sioux Falls company to build a hotel and conference center onto the city-owned Swiftel Center.
“Introduction to Hegg Companies and discussion of a preliminary MOU for a hotel and conference center” is on the agenda for the council’s first-ever study session this week.
The session, a replacement for the council’s former work sessions, will be held on the third Tuesday of the month, beginning at 5 p.m. in the community room (Room 300) at the Brookings City & County Government Center.
The purpose of the study sessions is for educational information on previously determined issues, and no council action will be taken. They will include no public hearings, and there will be no comment by the public, except at the councilors’ specific invitation.
Development to the east
According to a conceptual site plan, posted on the City of Brookings website as a part of the city council packet, Hegg Companies and Prairieland Partners have proposed building a four-story, 59,000-square-foot hotel onto the southeast side of the Swiftel Center. Proposed conference center/exhibition space is recommended to be built onto the east side of the Swiftel Center.
The City of Brookings solicited proposals from interested parties for creative public-private partnerships that would result in the development of an upscale hotel for the city. The council issued the request for proposals earlier this year in response to what it felt was a shortage of lodging in Brookings, which could hurt the city’s tourism and visitor promotion efforts.
The solicitation process yielded one response, according to the city council packet.
The proposed Memorandum of Understanding lays out the overall goals and framework that would lead to a “mutually-beneficial economic development partnership between the parties.”
The developer wants to build a hotel with approximately 80-100 rooms that would carry the franchise label of either Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, or a similarly branded property. The hotel would have a restaurant with bar/lounge, fitness center, business center and an aquatic center. The developer could seek a restaurant liquor license for the hotel, and the conference center would utilize the Swiftel Center’s license.
The conference center would be designed to be consistent with the Swiftel Center addition proposed by the VenuWorks and HVS consultant studies in 2008.
The MOU also proposes that the City of Brookings and the developer work together to acquire the Brookings County Resource Center space from Brookings County and incorporate it into the overall design.
Under the draft plan to be presented this week, the city would sell the property upon which the hotel and conference center are built to the developer.
The MOU proposes that the developer would build and then lease the conference center to the city, and that the city would operate and manage the conference center in conjunction with the Swiftel Center as one, seamless contract through VenuWorks. The developer would continue to own and operate the hotel.
No dollar figures for the proposed conference center lease are included in the MOU, but it does say that the contract-for-deed or lease-purchase arrangement would be over a term of 15-20 years, at which time ownership of the conference center and the property upon which it is built would revert back to the city.
The land sale proceeds may also be applied to the city’s lease of the conference center from the developer.
The MOU says that both the city and the developer would undertake a market study for the entire project, and it sets the goal of starting construction by March 2013.
The MOU also “strongly encourages” the developer to use local trades, suppliers, vendors and contractors as much as possible in constructing and operating the project.
The Tuesday study session at the Brookings City & County Government Center is open to the public, and the meeting will also be televised on Channel 9 and broadcast on the city’s website.
Contact Jill Fier at firstname.lastname@example.org.