Sara Story, Denton Reporter
The City of Denton wants to boost business and tourism with a hotel and convention center, that will be built on a vacant lot near the University of North Texas.
Denton wants to boost business and tourism with a hotel and convention center, but the city faces a host of roadblocks.
The city, a developer, and the University of North Texas would like to build a full-service hotel and convention center on a property next to Interstate 35E and North Texas Boulevard.
"It would provide a facility of friends, supporters and parents to be within walking distance of football games, basketball games, performances at the Murchison Performing Arts Center and graduation," UNT spokesman Buddy Price said.
It is university property, but the city is involved, and convention centers are against current zoning laws.
"We don't actually have a zoning for conference centers," said Linda Ratliff, Denton's economic development director.
She said the planning department must make some changes if it wants negotiations for the site to continue.
"We are excited to work with these folks and make this happen," Ratliff said.
Cities use convention centers as a tool to bring in traffic.
"We know it's important," Ratliff said. "It's something the community needs and wants."
Ratliff said her growing city is ready for a convention center and has needed one for a while.
"It is frustrating, and a matter of fact, the university and a lot of larger businesses in town and even some nonprofit will host their events outside of Denton when they do, like, a big fundraiser, because they don't have a place to have it in Denton," she said.
The proposed zoning changes could face a public hearing and vote by the end of February. The Denton City Council must then approve the final changes.