Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Council Not in Market to Buy Mall at Sheraton

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Council Not in Market to Buy Mall at Sheraton

Article excerpt

By Tim Hartley Journal Record Staff Reporter Saying it would not turn its back on the troubled downtown hotel and con- vention market, the Oklahoma City Council voted nevertheless Tuesday not to negotiate a purchase of the Century Center Mall. The owner of the Sheraton Century Center Hotel and adjacent 150,000- square-foot mall has promised to& upgrade the hotel if the city would purchase the mall and renovate it as an upscale wing of the Myriad Convention Center. "I haven't seen anything from your end other than a desire to sell us a piece of property," said Mayor Ron Norick, addressing Sheraton representative Steve Solomon, attorney for Oklahoma City Century Center Associates, the New York partnership led by Eugene Weiss which owns the hotel and mall complex. "I have some real discomfort with Mr. Weiss and his commitment to the hotel." Solomon said ITT Sheraton Inc. has been applying "continuing pressure on us to upgrade the hotel," but renovations cannot be justified without expansion of downtown convention facilities which would encourage other downtown hotels to open. The 400-room Sheraton has stood alone as the only major hotel in downtown Oklahoma City since the closing of the 210-room Skirvin Plaza Hotel at 1 Park Ave. in October 1988. The 200-room former Holiday Inn, 520 W. Main St., closed since March 1986, began an announced multi-stage reopen- ing last week as the Commonwealth Park Hotel. "We are at a crossroads," Solomon said. "Sheraton gave us notice a year ago that this facility needs to be upgraded to meet their requirements, and we certainly agree. Our proposal would allow the city to move forward with a convention center expansion program on its own time schedule, and allow us to move forward with the investment we need to make in upgrading the hotel." A proposal submitted in December called for Century Center Associates to convert the mall into a convention and exhibit center linked by sky bridge to the Myriad, whicn in turn would be con- veyed to the city through a long-term lease-purchase agreement. …
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