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EDT Convention Hotel rendering

JRA selects EDT as top choice for convention hotel developer

By TED CARTER

Washington, D.C.-based Engineering Design Technologies has been named the preferred developer for a downtown Jackson convention center hotel.

The selection of EDT’s $75.5 million proposal came at Wednesday’s meeting of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority, capping a request for proposals process that began last spring. EDT and its local team, Mississippi Developers LLC, beat out Red Leaf Development of Herndon, Va., after a several month review of the proposals by a JRA-appointed evaluation team that included three JRA members and representatives of the Jackson Convention Complex and Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau.

JRA member Rodric Donaldson, chair of the JRA’s projects review committee, a panel that reviewed and endorsed the hotel evaluation committee selection, said EDT presented a strong across-the-board proposal.

EDT won in the experience and financial stability categories, Donaldson said in an interview after the JRA’s board’s acceptance of his committee’s selection.

EDT also proposed a more attractive level of minority and local contracting than did Red Leaf, according to Donaldson.

Red Leaf proposed building an $83.6 million, 302-room hotel with a 1,000-space garage. The proposal included a covered cross walk from the hotel’s Pascagoula Street location to the convention complex.

Engineering Design Technologies did not make a cross walk part of its proposal; further, it gave the option of either covered or surface parking for the 300 spaces it would provide.

Donaldson said the JRA hopes to get commitments from EDT for a cross walk and covered parking during the negotiations over a final development agreement.

EDT’s proposes 236,070 square feet of hotel space, of which 15,555 square feet would be function space, including a 7,000 square-foot grand ballroom and 3,000 square-foot junior ballroom.

Also included is a 120-seat restaurant and a bar and lounge with 60 seats.

EDT has agreed to cover the $7.5 million cost of the 14 or so acres on Pascagoula Street on which the hotel is to be built. The $7.5 million would go to repay money the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provided for purchase of the parcels across from the convention complex.

On the costs side, EDT would put up $41.3 million and obtain a city/JRA-backed loan of $11.3 million. The project would also require $11.3 million in tax increment financing. This would be money rebated from a portion of sales taxes collected in a tax increment district that would be created for the hotel property and properties close to it.

EDT also plans to use $3.7 million in New market Tax Credits and to invest $7.5 million of its own money, or about 10 percent of the project’s cost.

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