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Convention center inn expected to break ground by end of 2018

October 11, 2018

HARLINGEN — Construction of a 150-room hotel to be attached to the city’s $16.7 million convention center is apparently about a year behind schedule.

At City Hall, BC Lynd Hospitality submitted documents platting its $20 million, six-story Hilton Garden Inn back in March 2017.

However, the company has not applied for a building permit.

BC Lynd Hospitality is now expected to break ground on the hotel by the end of the year, Mayor Chris Boswell said yesterday.

Last month, City Manager Dan Serna said construction was expected to start “in the next few weeks.”

At the time, Serna said the project was delayed because BC Lynd was finalizing financial documents.

“ We have been communicating with them,” Boswell said yesterday, indicating the city keeps close contact with its partner in the construction project. “My understanding is they intend to break ground by the end of the year.”

Boswell said he was confident the project would develop according to plan.

“ Obviously we want to see them move forward with it,” Boswell said. “At this point we’re still confident that they’re still moving forward with it. The convention center is designed to be attached to a hotel and that’s certainly part of the plan.”

Questions rising

The gap between the projected completion dates of the convention center and hotel raises questions.

The hotel, considered a “select-service” hotel featuring banquet operations and an upscale restaurant, is apparently expected to provide food and beverage service for the convention center’s events.

However, the delay is not expected to impact the convention center’s food service because the facility will include a kitchen.

Meanwhile, city officials have said BC Lynd is working on booking events for the convention center.

In the industry, convention centers typically book events a year or more in advance.

However, the city has not provided information regarding the company’s success in booking events.

The contract

In late December 2015, city commissioners entered into a public-private partnership with BC Lynd, a hospitality company based in San Antonio.

As part of an agreement, the city is funding the construction of the 44,436-square-foot convention center while BC Lynd builds the attached hotel on an eight-acre site at Teege and Harlingen Heights roads.

Under a contract, BC Lynd will operate and staff the convention center while splitting any profits or deficits with the city.

Project delays

Last January, Brandon Raney, BC Lynd’s chief executive officer, announced a delay in the project to build the hotel.

At a meeting, Raney told city commissioners the finalizing of the project’s financing was delaying construction “a few months behind the opening of the convention center.”

Raney added he was “trying to align the convention center with the hotel as close as possible.”

At the time, he said the company had cut the hotel’s construction timeline from 12 months to 10½ months to tighten that gap.

Meanwhile, the convention center, which broke ground in early August 2017, was originally expected to be completed last month.

Last month, Serna said summer rains had delayed construction.

At that time, he said the project’s completion had been pushed back to January.

Yesterday, Serna was unavailable for comment while attending a Texas Municipal League conference.

Competition plenty

The hotel, which would become the city’s largest, is expected to compete with two hotels planning to open here — a $4 million, 89-room Homewood Suites by Hilton now under construction and an $8.5 million, 94-room Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, now in the platting stage.

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