WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Adjacent to the Palm Beach County convention center, along busy Okeechobee Boulevard in downtown West Palm Beach, will be the site of a new Hilton hotel.
It took 11 long years to get the green light. From a series of failed attempts to a former county commissioner going to jail, Palm Beach County Commissioners approved the public-private development deal during an anti-climactic vote Tuesday morning.
The 400-room Hilton hotel is expected to generate more than one thousand new jobs and $500 million in economic impact, just in the first 5 years.
But, taxpayers are helping to pay for it: $27 million dollars. That was part of the deal for the publicly subsidized hotel, county leaders say, will help put Palm Beach County on the map.
"It's very different when event planners are looking for facilities to bring large conferences to. They want a venue to have a hotel attached to a convention center, so it's because of the lack of the convention center that we've been missing a lot of opportunities as it relates to conferences," explained Assistant County Administrator Shannon LaRocque who helped lead the deal to success and called the final vote, "an exciting milestone."
As part of the deal, the county will own the hotel and the property it sits on, which means it will be exempt from property taxes.
Groundbreaking is expected well ahead of the May 2014 deadline. In fact, county leaders are hoping to see progress on the site before the end of this year.