Sunday, November 11, 2007


Under discussion since 2003 (when the Palm Beach County Convention Center was built), final city approval was given, with final county approval in April, for construction of a world-class Westin Hotel with more than 100 condo units and a 2500+ spaces adjacent city-owned parking garage with 7 levels above ground and one below (bottom and first level reserved for hotel guests and condo residents), construction will being next April. It will be located with fronting on Okeechobee Boulevard and Florida Avenue. 400 rooms and 104 condos will be built. The property is leased from the county for 99 years by Ocean Properties, which must then buy the hotel and land at fair market value after the 99-year lease ends. The County will also build a $2.6-MM tunnel permitting valets to shuttle autos from the convention center’s Okeechobee Blvd entrance to the parking garage and will maintain the tunnel. The County may reserve 75% of the hotel’s inventory 18-months out, and the maximum room rate can be no higher than the hotel’s published corporate rate, plus a maximum 6% annual increase. The Count cannot subsidize another hotel within 5 miles except for an area around the Palm Beach International Airport. IN August 2006 the County approved a one-cent increase in tourism bed tax to fund the County’s majority portion of the garage cost; Ocean Properties will fund the balance.

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