Black Meetings and Tourism

March/April 2012

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NABHOOD BY MICHAEL BENNETT Campaign rhetoric aside, an elected official can, and often ELECTED OFFICALS CAN PLAY A ROLE IN DEVELOPMENT DEALS does play a vital role in hotel development deals. In concert with their local planning boards, elected officials work years in advance developing infrastructure necessary to satisfy the needs of their constituents in terms of goods, services and eco- nomic opportunities. It is through the actions of local governments that hotel developers not only learnwhat's necessary to participate in the bidding process for a new development, but once approved much of the red tape often associated with government is reduced or eliminated paving the way for hotel developers to move quickly. These public/private partnerships, if done properly can be a win/win for both parties says Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD). The local community gets a much needed infrastructure improvement project which not only creates jobs, but depend- ing upon the location and size of the development often leads to other long- range improvements such as convention centers to fur- ther spur economic growth. Hotel developers on the ANDY INGRAHAM other hand seek growth opportunities that not only offset spiraling development costs, but also add value to the deal. That added value often comes in the form of development or expansion of a nearby convention center or sports complex, tax incen- tives, financing, land acquisition costs and new roads providing easy access to and from the local airport. In today's tight lend- ing environment local government support will often make or break a deal. A Public/Private partnership in hotel development isn't a recent trend. Hyatt partnered with the government of Trinidad and Tobago for a 22-story property as part of Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre — site of the Americas Summit attended by President Barack Obama in 2009. During last year's annual NABHOOD summit, the Honorable Franklin A. Meyers, Minister of Economic Tourism Affairs, Transportation and Telecom for St Maarten spoke of his government's economic incentives to developers willing to build certain types of resort properties. A little closer to home, many of you may remember the much publicized public/private partnership between Miami Beach and 22 R.DonahuePeebles to develop theRoyalCrownePlazaResort —a property he sold a fewyears back for a tidy profit. More recently, Commissioner Albert Turner, Jr., from Perry County, Alabama spearheaded efforts for a $3 million Sleep Inn and Suites property — the first of its kind in the county. Turner says he recognizes "that businesses will not just come to small rural communities out of the goodness of their hearts, but a partnership must be created between business and government to make economic develop- ment work in rural Alabama." The hotel will bring a much needed tax base to the county and city along with improving the quality of life for Perry County residents. Perry County spent $150,000 to purchase the land for the property. The county will lease the property back to the developer, who in turn will build and man- age the property. The county also used bond funds derived from President ALBERT TURNER JR. Obama's economic stimulus package. These bond funds allow the county to issue a low interest rate bond and then loan the funds to the developer at low interest rates to build the property. The developer would not have been able to secure the fund- ing necessary at a low interest rate to make it an economically viable development otherwise. William B. (Bill) Fortier, is senior vice president of MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Development,Americas,HiltonWorldwide. Fortier has been a staunch supporter of NABHOOD and "committed to a level play field," says Ingraham. Fortier was previously WILLIAM B. FOSTER honored with NAB- HOOD's Award in recogni- tion of his contributions to diversity and inclusion of AfricanAmeri-can's in hotel ownership. TheHilton brand has also been honored by NABHOOD as "Hotel Company of the Year" for their efforts in this area, largely as a result of Fortier's hardwork and achievements. Black Meetings & Tourism March/April 2012: NEWS

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