Omni to bring downtown Tempe its largest hotel-conference center
City of Tempe
Tempe, AZ – Downtown Tempe will get its long-awaited, larger conference center hotel, bringing jobs and greater opportunities for tourism and business gatherings.
The Tempe City Council voted Jan. 11 to approve an Omni hotel and conference center for the southeast corner of University Drive and Mill Avenue, a key downtown gateway. The land is currently being used as a parking lot.
The hotel includes 330 rooms and a conference center capable of hosting at least 1,000 people.
A public-private partnership among Tempe, ASU and Omni makes it possible to develop the conference center hotel. The project also has the support of the Tempe Tourism Office and the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re grateful to have an amazing downtown, and this conference center will open us to a whole new tier of conference activity, generating new revenue for the whole city. Omni is a world-class brand and by committing to build this hotel conference center, they are also committing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to promote tourism in Tempe and create hundreds of jobs in our community,” said Mayor Mark Mitchell. “This vacant parcel, which currently contributes no revenue to Tempe or the State of Arizona, is going to change the face of our downtown and bring millions of dollars into our economy. That will improve quality of life for all Tempe residents.”
The land for the Omni project is currently a parking lot. ASU is providing the land, with a stipulation that it be used for this purpose for a minimum of 60 years.
The city will rebate its portion of the hotel sales and bed tax generated by the project for 30 years. City sales taxes for transit and the arts will still be collected in full, as will the state’s portion of sales taxes. The maximum amount that could be rebated is $21 million.
Over the course of the 60-year agreement, the net direct economic benefit is projected to be more than $136 million. The average annual economic impact on the Tempe economy is more than $32 million. This includes expected revenues from new jobs created and impacts to businesses that benefit from Omni’s presence, such as restaurants and recreation centers.
“The economic impact from visitors is a great benefit to our community and any opportunity to enhance that is a positive for Tempe,” said Brian McCartin, president and CEO of Tempe Tourism Office. “The addition of another full-service hotel, with a well-respected brand like Omni, is a significant addition to our current hotel mix.”
Tourism is the second largest industry in Arizona. It is expected that many larger conferences will choose Tempe with the addition of a larger facility. The Omni hotel and conference center is expected to open in 2020.