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Convention Center delays continue

December 31, 2018

HARLINGEN — The city has pushed back the completion of the $16.7 million convention center — again.

After about 14 months, the convention center’s construction now officially has a deadline.

On Feb. 21, contractor Killian Construction of Springfield, Mo., will complete the 44,436-square-foot building or face possible fines, Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez said yesterday.

“That’s the bottom deadline the contractor has established,” Sanchez said.

In September, City Manager Dan Serna said the convention center’s construction was expected to be completed by January.

Originally, the city had planned to complete the construction by September.

However, rain delays and subcontractor scheduling pushed back the project’s completion, according to Sanchez.

If the project is not completed by Feb. 21, BC Lynd Hospitality, the San Antonio-based developer building a 150-room hotel to be attached to the convention center, would work with the contractor to complete the project, Sanchez said.

Afterward, he said, the contractor would face penalties of as much $1,000 a day if the project is not completed by the deadline.

The project’s “guaranteed maximum price” remains at $16.7 million, Sanchez said.

“It’s important to know the project is still within budget,” he said.

The city, he said, is planning to hold the convention center’s ribbon cutting in March.

As part of an agreement, the city is funding construction of the convention center while BC Lynd builds a $25 million, five-story Hilton Garden Inn across an eight-acre site at Teege and Harlingen Heights roads off Interstate 69.

However, groundbreaking for BC Lynd’s hotel is unclear.

In October, Mayor Chris Boswell said the hotel was expected to break ground by the end of this year.

Yesterday, Boswell said Serna, who was on vacation, recently spoke with BC Lynd about the project.

However, Serna could not be reached for comment.

“We still anticipate that it will be soon,” Boswell said of the hotel’s groundbreaking.

The hotel, which was expected to break ground about the same time as the convention center, is more than a year behind construction.

In November, Brandon Raney, BC Lynd’s chief executive officer, said the company had secured financing after an 18-month process.

Sanchez said the hotel will help the convention center book events.

“The sooner it gets done, the better,” Sanchez said. “The proximity of the hotel makes it attractive to conventions. It provides the convenience of having the facility next door. It makes it more attractive for the convention center. To promote and attract conventions to the area, the ability to say we’ve got a hotel right next door gives the convention center an advantage because a lot of people like to walk back and forth from the facility.”

fdelvalle@valleystar.com

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