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House Speaker Lockhart On Board With New Convention Hotel Proposal

Brian Grimmett
File: Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams unveiled a new proposal today to get a hotel built to support the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake. 

The proposed legislation creates the potential for a public/private partnership where a private company would provide all of the funding to build and operate the hotel, but would also build additional meeting space the Salt Palace could use. The state would then use any new tax revenue brought in by hosting new conventions to lease that space back from the hotel. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the new plan is a risk free proposal for taxpayers.

“We’re not going to spend money that we don’t have," he says. "We will spend, if they build the hotel and they bring conventions we will, the taxpayer will see an upside. It will be new economic activity for the people of Utah”

The new proposal also bears the support of Republican House Speaker Becky Lockhart. McAdams says having her on board is huge for the bill’s chances of getting passed.

“The legislation last year passed the Senate and it went to the House and came just a few votes short in the House," he says. "It was three votes short in the House of Representatives to passage. And the speaker was on of the no votes last year. So, with her support this year we fill very confident at the beginning of the session that we can get the bi-partisan support to move this forward.”

McAdams says the proposed hotel won’t just help Salt Lake either. He says the state will use some of the additional revenue generated by visitors to help pay for marketing other Utah destinations.  

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