STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — City Council members cleared the way for the proposed eastside footprint of a hotel/conference center, which is part of private-public partnership coordinated by the Marble Falls Economic Development Corp.
On Aug. 1, Marble Falls City Council members voted unanimously to abandon sections of city right-of-way along Avenue H (about one-half acre) adjacent to Lake Marble Falls and a tract (about one-fourth acre) at the intersection of Main Street and Buena Vista Drive.
The city right-of-way abandonment — which involves deeding the property to the EDC — also includes two former alleyways at the heart of the project’s footprint to “consolidate” the lots.
“The next step in the development of the downtown hotel and conference center is land consolidation of the tract of land into EDC ownership,” according to the council agenda item, presented by Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel.
EDC officials struck a deal, which allows for sales-tax based funding incentives, with Georgetown-based Novak Cobalt Partners to lease the property for the hotel/conference center project.
In the future, Marble Falls City Council members are expected to consider whether to acquire bond debt — approximately $4.5 million — for an adjacent four-story parking garage, proposed to be an additional private-public partnership. Funding sources to cover the debt could include a 10 percent contribution by the developer, hotel/motel tax (HOT) funds, and parking garage fees.
The council unanimously passed the abandonment request with no discussion.
Councilman William “Dee” Haddock made the motion to accept the city’s request to abandon the property to the EDC. Councilman Craig Magerkurth seconded the motion.
The remaining votes of approval were from Megan Klaeger, Mayor John Packer, David Rhodes, and Reed Norman.
Councilman Richard Westerman was not present.
According to public renderings and goals of the city’s downtown master plan, the city-abandoned property along Avenue H is located in the area of the private hotel swimming pool. A hotel operator for the project has yet to be publicly announced.
City officials have proposed eventually closing Avenue H to motorists along the abandoned tract, which would allow for a walkway along the east side of the hotel/conference center adjacent to Lake Marble Falls waterfront.
A rendering of the project area site plan described the potential walkway as “variable ROW (right-of-way).”