Delayed McKinney Conference Center May Be Moving Forward

Gateway project is getting City Council's support

McKinney's Gateway Hotel and Conference Center project is finding support after years of stalled progress.

Earlier this week, City Council signed a letter of intent to proceed with developing the site, which has sat partially completed since 2008.

"We have a structure out there that's unfinished, which is, quite frankly, an eyesore," Mayor Brian Loughmiller said.

McKinney has been dealing with bankruptcy litigation involving the project's former developer, as well as considering how strong of a return the investment in the conference center could deliver the city.

The city intends to work with a new developer and a new hospitality company to build what it's marketing as the "gateway" to McKinney.

The property located near where U.S. 75 meets the State Highway 121 is considered prime real estate.

Loughmiller said McKinney needs meeting space like what the Gateway project would offer to attract corporations to the area.

"We have a lot of opportunity for corporate development, but this is a missing piece we need to fulfill," he said.

"Currently a lot of those companies are using Embassy Suites in Frisco, or they're going to Allen, they're going to Dallas, and we want to be competitive with those communities," he said.

The McKinney Convention and Visitors Bureau agree, saying the area could use more hotel rooms as it continues to grow.

"We did, about a year ago or two years ago, have to turn down a 100-person meeting because they all needed to stay in the same place and have four breakout spaces for smaller meetings," McKinney CVB spokeswoman Beth Shumate said. "It was something we just couldn't accommodate."

The City Council has to address several steps before the project officially can proceed, but construction is expected by the end of the year.

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