Mayor: Hotel will be a new anchor for downtown Tuscaloosa - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Mayor: Hotel will be a new anchor for downtown Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

   On the busy corner of Lurleen Wallace and University Boulevards, the landscape of downtown Tuscaloosa will change with the construction of a new Embassy Suites hotel.

  The location is on the old City-Fest parking lot.

  The hotel will put visitors closer to local attractions and restaurants.

   Susan West with Tuscaloosa Sports and Tourism says, "They'll be within walking distance, they can enjoy our arts and entertainment district, our Harrison Gallery, the soon to be open Dinah Washington Culture Art Center, the amphitheater."

   That's the big picture, but it gets bigger.   The 31-million dollar hotel will have 154-rooms...banquet and executive rooms...something, downtown Tuscaloosa lacks...

      So the hotel will pull in lost revenue... "75 percent of the people who will be occupying the rooms here- have been staying in the Birmingham-Jefferson County market. So, what we're going to be able to do is go out and get people...maybe doing business at Mercedes or doing business at the university who would normally be staying in that business driving in can now stay in Tuscaloosa," says Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox

      That's why the hotel groundbreaking drew leaders from all over the business community...including the university president and chancellor, Dr. Robert Witt. "This hotel will be an invaluable asset to our city and help the downtown redevelopment effort progress," he said.

     The city gave the developers $4.8 million dollars in tax breaks but taxpayers will start getting a return -- as soon as the hotel opens.  "Currently, this piece of property generates zero tax dollars. In year one of this project, the city itself will take home over 300-thousand dollars even after the incentives," explained Mayor Maddox.  "We'll all look back on this day and remember this hotel development served as a catalyst that spring boarded this city into greater heights."

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