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Proposed downtown Monroe events center and hotel unveiled

(KNOE)
Published: Mar. 5, 2020 at 10:34 PM CST
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Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo and a design team unveiled a proposal Thursday night for a new events center and hotel in downtown Monroe.

Mayo says it will transform the downtown area and bring in much-needed revenue for the city. "We wanted to have the best economic impact on the city of Monroe that we possibly could," Mayo says.

The events center and hotel would sit on the riverfront on Walnut Street. The plan is projected to cost $135 million dollars. Mayo says they hope to source most of the funds through bonds, state and federal governments and naming rights. "The city would only have to come up with $50 million, and my administration has already identified that $50 million," Mayo says.

Officials say there are no new taxes or general obligation bonds required in the plan.

The 7500-seat events center includes a hotel that will all be in the same facility. The hotel portion will have more than 200 guest rooms. Mike Woollen, with Odell Associates, says the two complement each other. "What we've found in the market is there was not only a need for a very versatile event center, but there's also a significant need for a full-service hotel in the downtown area," Woollen says.

Woollen says putting both in one building not only saved $25 million, but the two will also create an economic boom for more than just downtown Monroe. "This is a tool to drive a lot of business, hotel business, meetings and conventions, indoor amateur sports, concerts, sporting events, all kinds of business to the community from inside and outside the parish."

Mayo says he one day sees the revenue from the events center and hotel helping tackle other much-needed projects in the city. "This is a transformational project. It's a generational project,” Mayo says. “It is a game-changer for our city, and of course, it will do some great things to take us to another level."

Mayo says they hope to finalize a few details like the naming rights for the event center in the coming months. They will then take the final plan to the city council for a vote to continue the next steps.

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