The City Council, during its Tuesday evening meeting, unanimously voted in support of the hotel development near St. Joseph’s hospital by Medical Missions for Children, a city based non-profit organization.
Council members endorsed the hotel development plan near St. Joseph’s hospital that was discussed last week. “I support this job generator,” said Andre Sayegh, 6th Ward council man and council president. “It will be ideal for our city to have people actually stay overnight especially in that area which is populated with restaurants and other types of stores where people can go shopping and spend their money in our city,” said Sayegh. The hotel which will sit on Main Street will be only steps away from the large number of ethnic restaurants that dot that avenue.
Excluding Kenneth Morris, councilman at-large, who recused himself from voting on the resolution due to a conflict of interest, and Julio Tavarez, the 5th Ward councilman, who voted against the resolution saying there was not enough information for him to make his mind, every other member of the council voted in support of the resolution. Tavarez later changed his mind after receiving more information from William McKoy, 3rd Ward councilman, and voted in favor of endorsing the development.
The resolution does not do much other than help Frank Brady, chairman of Medical Missions for Children, whose organization is building a 17 storey structure, to qualify for a credit under the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit. Brady explained that his organization will not receive any money during the construction of the site, but it will receive tax credits once the building is in place from the State.
The hotel, convention center, and medical office building, will encompass two large towers on both sides of the street: one will be 17 storey high and another will be 7 storey. “It’s going to be a convention and banquet center,’ said Brady last week when he initially sought the council’s endorsement. Brady said, if everything goes well and his organization gets the urban tax credit, construction at the site will start in spring 2014.
Although Brady has received the endorsement of the council, he must procure another from Jeffery Jones, the city’s mayor; Charles Thomas, business administrator, said Jones is “reviewing” and making an assessment of the development before coming to a decision. “We need for him to be on board,” said Sayegh importing the mayor to give his endorsement to the development project. Sayegh said, the project is a “game changer” and the mayor should be on board for the jobs it will create. Brady last week said the hotel would create 3,500 jobs in the city.
“There is a deadline,” pointed out Sayegh to the business administrator; the implicit message being the mayor does not have much time to engage in pondering.