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Mayor's Office

2004 Media Releases


Date:
December 16, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Dallas McGee, Urban Development, 441-7857


Mayor Seng and Hammons Announce New Hotel Project
Downtown’s Embassy Suites also set for remodeling

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today welcomed hotel developer John Q. Hammons of Springfield, Missouri to Lincoln and committed to work with him on his investment of nearly $20 million in launching a new hotel in the Antelope Valley area and updating the downtown Embassy Suites.

Hammons is proposing the construction of a $16 million Residence Inn by Marriott®, a four-story, 150-room hotel, on the block bounded by 17th, 18th, “P” and “Q” streets. Hammons also plans to spend $3 million to update and improve the Embassy Suites, a $30 million 250-room hotel that opened at 1040 “P” Street in 2000.

“Mr. Hammons once again has demonstrated his commitment to Lincoln by announcing his intention to reinvest in the Embassy Suites and by proposing the first major investment in the Antelope Valley redevelopment area,” Mayor Seng said. “This is very exciting news on projects that will benefit downtown, Antelope Valley and the entire community.”

On November 29, the Lincoln City Council approved a plan for the Antelope Valley redevelopment area, which allows the City of Lincoln to work with private investors to build new projects in the area.

“As a longtime downtown supporter, and one of Antelope Valley’s earliest advocates, I am pleased to see private business making plans to invest in one of Lincoln’s oldest areas,” Seng said. “With regard to Antelope Valley, I have believed from the beginning that a commitment to remove 50 acres of land from the floodplain and providing new infrastructure in this part of the City would prompt the type of reinvestment Mr. Hammons announced today.”

Seng praised Hammons for his vision of five years ago, when he saw the potential for a major hotel on what had been a surface parking lot downtown. Hammons was chosen for the project in 1997 through a competitive, open public process. Today, Seng said, Mr. Hammons is again demonstrating his vision for the future.

“Redevelopment of older areas can be a tremendous challenge,” she said. “The Embassy Suites has been a great success in Lincoln, and we have every reason to believe the Residence Inn Mr. Hammons has proposed would have the same success in the Antelope Valley area.”

Next month, the City Urban Development Department will prepare an amendment to the Antelope Valley Redevelopment Plan to reflect the project Hammons has proposed. The amendment will be presented to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Lincoln City Council for approval.

If the amendment is approved, John Q. Hammons Hotels will submit more detailed plans for the Residence Inn by Marriott® in response to a City request for proposals. Other developers could submit competing proposals for the same site, and the Mayor said the selection process must be open and competitive. Once a redevelopment agreement is negotiated with a developer and approved by the City Council, the City’s role likely would be to assemble the land and assist businesses now on the block to relocate.

If the Hammons proposal is selected, he said he intends to break ground for the Residence Inn by July 2005. Remodeling the Embassy Suites will begin immediately.

“Expecting private investors to recognize the strategic importance of the downtown and Antelope Valley areas is one thing. Seeing it happen is quite another,” said Mayor Seng. “I am confident that the vision Mr. Hammons has for this area will generate more interest from local, regional and national developers wanting to invest in Lincoln.”


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