Development plans continue for the Abilene downtown hotel project.
The Chamber of Commerce created the new position of Executive Director for the Abilene downtown initiative. The Chamber recently filled the position with Steve Dieterichs.
"For most of the last decade I have been involved promoting communities in Texas as good places to visit and new business,” said Dieterichs.
The downtown plan forecasts more 500 new jobs, 75-million dollars in new capital investment and more.
"I believe it's like a sleeping giant. I feel like some of colleagues and around the state don’t know what Abilene has to offer in the downtown,” said Dieterichs.
Many are looking forward to much anticipated hotel, dubbed the Festival District.
Thanks to H.B 2445 passing last year, it will allow the city to leverage from state and local dollars by matching the debt services tied to the hotel.
"One of the things I want to do in the next few years, as soon as we get the hotel built downtown, is host the Texas Downtown Association’s annual conference,” said Dieterichs. “It takes place every November and it just brings downtown professionals and developers from all across the state,"
The big plan also has some street scaping set for parts of downtown, parking and Minter Park.
"The hotel is probably the one furthest along and I believe we will be signing a master development agreement within the next probably two or three months and that will allow things to really ramp up and start. I think we will see a groundbreaking later in the year," said Dieterichs.