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Convention Hotel Bill Passes House

The possibility of a new convention hotel in Salt Lake City is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would provide tax incentives for a private developer to build the hotel.  

House Bill 356 Sponsor, Representative Brad Wilson, says Utah can’t compete with other major convention destinations like Albuquerque, San Diego, Denver and Phoenix because it lacks adequate convention space to hold bigger shows, and hotel space. His bill offers a tax rebate for a private developer to build, own and operate a 1000-room hotel and meeting space near the Salt Palace Convention Center.

“If we’re able to attract an additional hotel to the area that has additional meeting space related to the Salt Palace, we’re not only going to be able to retain a lot of the shows and conventions that have quite frankly outgrown our space, but we’re going to be able to attract hundreds of thousands of additional convention-goers and room nights,” Wilson says.  

The additional tax revenue generated from the new hotel would be used to promote tourism, lease meeting space back from the hotel and create a mitigation fund to offset the anticipated financial losses of surrounding hotels.

If the hotel doesn’t generate new revenue, the owner doesn’t get the rebate. Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County have also stepped up to provide part of the tax incentive.

Republican Representative Dixon Pitcher told the House it’s taken a lot of changes to this bill to get his support.

“In fact I really had my points and my presentation all ready to oppose this again,” Pitcher says. “But unbelievably, Salt Lake County has done the right thing.”

The bill now goes the Senate Floor for consideration.

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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