MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the plan for a new downtown convention center hotel.
The paperwork is in. And it appears that developers are serious about adding a new 500-room convention center hotel to the downtown Memphis skyline. A request from a special use permit has been filed with the Land Use Control Board. If and when approved, the permit would allow Loews Hotels and Company to build the structure on the Civic Plaza directly across from City Hall.
The renderings for the hotel are indeed impressive. But this building won’t go up without a fight.
That’s because the owners of the Downtown Sheraton Hotel, just a couple of blocks north, are crying foul. They claim in a lawsuit that Loews is getting an unfair advantage because the city is seeking public incentives to help with the construction. Sheraton is technically Memphis’ only convention center hotel. And the lawsuit is still pending in a Davidson County Chancery Court.
Who knows how or when the case will be resolved. But assuming Loews gets the green light, the new hotel would replace a large swath of mostly unused city-owned property within walking distance of the Memphis Convention Center that is undergoing $200 million dollars in renovations.
Government and tourism officials say the new hotel is needed to attract larger conventions and more of them. And that’s true. The courts will handle the legal issues. But Memphians should be crossing their fingers that this venture becomes a reality. And that’s my point of view.