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[00:00:01]

OKAY.

EXCELLENT.

THANK YOU.

ALL RIGHT, WELL WE HAVE A QUORUM.

SO I'M CALLING THIS,

[CALL TO ORDER]

UM, JANUARY MEETING OF THE TOURISM COMMISSION BOARD TO ORDER.

AND, UH, FIRST ITEM ON OUR AGENDA IS PUBLIC COMMUNICATION.

DO WE HAVE PUBLIC SPEAKERS? NOPE.

OKAY.

[APPROVAL OF MINUTES]

MM-HMM.

.

SO NEXT ITEM ON THE AGENDA IS THE APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES.

UM, THESE ARE OUR OCTOBER 19TH MINUTES.

COMMISSIONER RONAN.

GOOD AFTERNOON.

I WAS JUST WONDERING IF WE CAN ASK WHO'S IN THE AUDIENCE.

NEVER REALLY HAVE AN AUDIENCE.

, .

UH, THESE ARE, UH, LADIES FROM THE AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER.

OH, I SEE.

THAT WE'RE GONNA BE TALKING TO ON THE AGENDA.

SO LET'S GO AHEAD WITH, UH, OUR MINUTES AND THEN, UH, WE WILL GET TO THE CONVENTION CENTER STAFF.

IN A MOMENT, I MOTION TO PROVE THE, UH, MEETING MINUTES FROM OCTOBER 19TH, 2022.

HAVE A MOTION.

IS THERE A SECOND? IT'S BEEN REGULARLY MOVED IN.

SECONDED TO APPROVE THE OCTOBER 19TH MINUTES.

ANY DISCUSSION? ANY CORRECTIONS? I HATE TO THROW A BANNER IN THE, TO THE WORKS, BUT CAN WE APPROVE THESE MINUTES WITH BILL NOT HAVING BEEN HERE? GIVE US ONLY FIVE PEOPLE WHO WERE HERE.

.

DIDN'T THAT HAPPEN LAST TIME? YEAH.

SO WE HAVE A QUORUM SO WE CAN CONDUCT BUSINESS.

UH, BILL COULD ABSTAIN FROM THE VOTE CUZ HE WASN'T HERE CAUSE HE CAN'T VOTE IF THEY'RE ACCURATE OR NOT.

BUT THE REST OF US THAT ARE HE, IF WE WERE HERE, WE CAN, UM, I KNOW WE'VE NOT, WE'VE AVOIDED THAT IN THE PAST, BUT HAVEN'T LOOKED AT ROBERT'S RULES ON THAT.

AGAIN, I BELIEVE AS LONG AS WE HAVE A QUORUM, WE CAN CONDUCT BUSINESS AND, UM, SO WE COULD TAKE A VOTE ON APPROVING THE MINUTES.

UM, IS THERE ANYONE ELSE HERE PRESENT WHO WAS NOT AT THE OCTOBER MEETING? EVERYBODY ELSE WAS HERE.

I THINK SO.

OKAY.

IS THERE, IS THERE ANY OBJECTION TO HANDLING IT THAT WAY? THAT WE GO AHEAD AND TAKE THE VOTE THAT, THAT BILL WOULD'VE ABSTAIN FROM THE VOTE BECAUSE HE, SO I BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED IN OUR LAST MEETING.

WE, WE HAVE ANOTHER.

OH, GOOD.

HEY.

OH, THERE WE GO.

GOOD.

GOOD.

YES.

WHAT WERE YOU GONNA SAY? DID WE APPROVE THE SEPTEMBER MINUTES? I DON'T REMEMBER.

I THINK THAT WE, UM, I DON'T REMEMBER, BUT I KNOW WE HAVE POSTPONED IT IN THE PAST BECAUSE OF THIS POINT.

WELL, WE CAN JUST LOOK AT THEM, BUT I THINK ACTUALLY AS LONG AS WE HAVE A COURT APPROVED, THEY WERE APPROVED AT 5, 5 0 1.

OKAY.

YEAH.

OKAY.

AND WE CAN WAIT FOR, UM, COMMISSIONER SMITH TO JOIN US BEFORE WE TAKE THE VOTE.

AND THAT WAY THERE'LL BE NO DOUBT.

GOOD AFTERNOON.

HI.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

DID YOU ALSO THINK IT WAS A THREE O'CLOCK START? YEAH.

OKAY, GOOD.

MAKE ME FEEL BETTER CUZ I DID TOO.

WHY DID START? I JUST GOT HERE.

.

IT'S TWO 30 START.

OH WAS IT? YEAH.

GOING FORWARD.

GOING FORWARD ALL THIS YEAR.

IT'S NOW TWO 30 TO FOUR 30.

.

TWO 30.

FOUR 30.

WOW.

WELL YOU MAKE ME FEEL BETTER CUZ I MADE THE SAME MISTAKE.

WOW.

.

ALRIGHT, READY TO TURN.

? NO, WE'RE READY TO VOTE ON THE, UH, OCTOBER MINUTES.

IT'S BEEN REGULARLY MOVED IN.

SECONDED TO APPROVE THE OCTOBER 19TH MINUTES.

UM, HAS BEEN, UH, NO ONE HAS OFFERED ANY CORRECTIONS.

NO.

HAS OFFERED ANY DISCUSSION.

SO AT THIS TIME I'LL TAKE THE VOTE.

ALL THOSE IN FAVOR OF APPROVING THE OCTOBER 19TH MINUTES.

RAISE YOUR HAND AND DO I HAVE TO GET, I HAVE TO COUNT, RIGHT? SO, SIX IN FAVOR? ANY OPPOSED? NO.

AND ONE ABSTENTION.

IT SHOULD BE COMMISSIONER BILL.

COMMISSIONER BUNCH.

ALL RIGHT.

UM,

[2. Discussion and possible action on Downtown Commission Recommendation 20220420-2(d) on Convention Center Expansion adopted by the Downtown Commission on April 20, 2022]

NEXT ITEM OF BUSINESS IS THE DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION ON THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION AND, UH, ON THE CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION, UM, THAT WAS ADOPTED BY THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION ON APRIL 20TH, 2022.

AND, UH, WE WANTED TO HAVE CONVENTION CENTER STAFF WITH US BEFORE WE TOOK UP THIS DISCUSSION ITEM TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.

UM, THEY HAVE EMAILED SOME QUESTIONS WERE EMAILED AND RESPONSES WERE GIVEN, WHICH YOU HAVE PRINTED COPIES AND I'D NOW INVITE COMMENCE CENTER STAFF, UM, TO COME UP AND INTRODUCE THEMSELVES AS SOME OF US SOME OF US KNOW YOU, SOME OF US DON'T.

AND IF THERE ARE ANY COMMISSIONERS, UM, THAT HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS, UM, WELCOME.

GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

UH, I'M KATIE'S MESNICK.

I AM THE CHIEF ADMIN OFFICER FOR THE AUSTIN COMMISSION CENTER.

GOOD

[00:05:01]

AFTERNOON.

I'M TRICIA TATRA, THE DIRECTOR OF THE AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER DEPARTMENT.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR, UM, ANSWERING THE QUESTIONS THAT WERE SENT.

UM, DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY OTHER QUESTIONS FOR THE CONVENTION CENTER? I I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT, OH, SORRY.

IS IT, IS IT ON? NO, YOU CHECK, CHECK .

UM, HI.

UM, YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION NUMBER THREE GOT ME CURIOUS WHERE, UH, IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH, UH, YOU SAY A CONVENTION CENTER THAT'S PRIVATELY CONTROLLED IS NOT COMPELLED TO PROVIDE REVENUE TO THE CITY, UH, NAMELY, ET CETERA, IN THE MANNER OF THE COMMISSION CENTER DOES, BUT THE DISTRIBUTION OF HOT FUNDS IS BAKED INTO THE CITY CODE.

SO WE'RE THERE TO BE A PRIVATE OPERATOR, THE LAW WOULD STILL REQUIRE, REQUIRE THE FULL FUNDING OF PRESERVATION AND ARTS AND THE LIVE MUSIC FUND.

RIGHT.

SO THE WAY WE APPROACHED THAT QUESTION WAS THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER WOULD NO LONGER BE A CONVENTION CENTER OR A CITY OF AUSTIN DEPARTMENT, BUT IT WOULD BE PRIVATELY CONTROLLED AND OPERATED AND OUTSIDE OF THE CONTROL OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND THEREFORE IT WOULD BE A PRIVATE ENTITY WHICH WOULD NOT BE COMPELLED BY THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

I'M STILL CONFUSED BECAUSE I MEAN, THE LAW IS, THE LAW AND OUTSOURCING THE MANAGEMENT OF THE CONVENTION CENTER WOULDN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT THERE'S A LAW IN THE BOOKS.

IT SAYS 15% OF ALL COLLECTED HOT HAS TO GO TO ARTS AND 15% OF ALL COLLECTED HOT HAS TO GO TO PRESERVATION.

SO COULDN'T THAT BE BAKED INTO A MANAGEMENT CONTRACT? WE'D HAVE TO GET THE LEGAL OPINION ON THAT.

UM, STATE LAW DOES NOT DICTATE THAT ALL THAT IT HAS TO BE 15%.

SO IT'S CITY LAW AND IT WOULD, IT WOULD DEPEND ON WHICH WOULD TRUMP IN THAT, IN THAT INSTANCE.

AND I THINK IT WOULD PROMPT, MOST LIKELY COME DOWN TO THE NEGOTIATIONS WITH WHATEVER THE OPERATOR THAT WAS CHOSEN TO DO SO WAS, THANKS.

ANYONE ELSE? I JUST WANT, WE'LL I JUST WANTED TO CLARIFY AS I RECOLLECT AND I'M, I AM RECOLLECTING SINCE IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE WE'VE BEEN TOGETHER AND I DON'T HAVE THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION IN FRONT OF ME, BUT IF IT'S MY, IF I'M REMEMBERING CORRECTLY, THE FIRST QUESTION ON HERE WAS RELATED TO A STATEMENT THAT WAS IN THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION.

RECOMMENDATIONS IS, IS THAT CORRECT? YEAH, I HAVE IT.

IS THAT CORRECT? I HAVE THE DTC RECOMMENDATION.

OKAY.

I JUST WANTED TO, CUZ I WAS TRYING TO REMEMBER A, I WAS TRYING TO SAY WHERE DID ALL THESE QUESTIONS COME FROM? AND I KNOW THAT SOME OF THEM CAME FROM HERE AND I, CUZ I THINK THE FIRST ONE I MADE A COMMENT IN THE MEETING ABOUT THE FAIRMONT, WHICH MIGHT HAVE PUT IT ON THE BOARD HERE FOR THESE QUESTIONS.

BUT I ALSO WANTED TO, JUST BECAUSE WE'RE LOOKING AT, UH, THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION, I WANTED TO JUST ASK WHILE WE'RE IN THIS SECTION OF THE MEETING, IF I WAS CORRECT THAT THE FAIRMONT WAS MATERIAL AND THAT RECOMMENDATION AND THAT'S WHY IT ENDED UP IN THIS, THIS Q Q AND A FROM THE CENTER.

SO JOHN SAID YES, IT WAS, IT'S MENTIONED OR NOT.

YEAH, IT IS.

OKAY.

UM, I'M HAPPY TO READ IT IF YOU WANT.

YEAH, THAT'D BE GOOD.

SURE, GO AHEAD.

ONE OF THE, WHEREAS IN THEIR RESOLUTION IS WHEREAS THE COMPLETION OF THE FAIRMONT, WHICH IS CONNECTED TO THE AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER AT A NEARLY 140,000 SQUARE FEET OF MEETING ROOM SPACE, EFFECTIVELY EXPANDING THE CONVENTION CENTER AT NO COST TO TAXPAYERS TO ACCOMMODATE LARGER EVENTS WHILE INCREASING COMPETITION FOR SMALLER EVENTS.

AND THE MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN OFFERS OVER 60,000 SQUARE FEET OF MEETING SPACE AND IS LOCATED ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER WITH SIMILAR BENEFITS AND COSTS TO THE CONVENTION CENTER.

UM, SO THAT'S JUST ONE OF THE, WHEREAS AT LEADS TO THEIR RESOLUTION THAT THE CITY, UH, THE RESOLUTION BASICALLY IS RIGHT, WE NEED A NEW ANALYSIS OF THE CONVENTION CENTER MARKET IN LIGHT OF SEVERAL FACTORS, INCLUDING THE ADDITION OF THAT PRIVATE, UH, CONVENING SPACE.

RIGHT.

AND I THINK THAT IN THAT CONVERSATION, I, I MADE A COMMENT THAT YOU CAN'T ASK, THE FAIRMONT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT OF OUR CONVENTION CENTER ANY MORE THAN THE JW MARRIED AS A REPLACEMENT BECAUSE THEY'RE PRIVATELY HELD COMPANIES AT LEAST JW BY THE WHITE CORPORATION OR WHATEVER, AND THEY'RE GONNA DO WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE WHITE LODGING CORPORATION IN THEIR PUBLIC STOCK OR WHATEVER THEY NEED TO DO.

AND THAT YOU CAN'T COMPARE THE CONVENTION CENTER TO A PRIVATE CORPORATE ENTITY THAT'S GOTTA MAKE QUARTERLY NUMBERS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO, TO DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO ATTRACT THE BUSINESS.

WE NEED TO ATTRACT, THEY'LL ATTRACT WHAT FITS IN THEIR MO IN THEIR MOUSE TRAP, BUT NOT, THEY'RE NOT GONNA SERVE THE WHOLE CITY.

I THINK THAT WAS MY COMMENT, BUT I THINK THE QUESTION WENT HERE WAS A DISTILLATION OF THAT COMMENT IN THE, SO CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSION A BUNCH.

THANK YOU.

JUST TO STICK WITH THAT BEFORE GOING BACK TO THE OTHER, I THINK THE, THE POINT WASN'T TO COMPARE THEM CUZ THEY ARE DIFFERENT ANIMALS,

[00:10:01]

BUT THAT, UH, AS YOU KNOW, THAT, THAT THERE IS A, AS AN EFFECT, UH, AN ADDITION THAT DOES REQUIRE COORDINATION, BUT IT'S THERE, THAT COORDINATION HAPPENS AND THERE'S ACTUALLY A PHYSICAL WALKWAY THAT CONNECTS THE TWO MM-HMM.

AS Y'ALL ARE WELL AWARE, AT LEAST FOR THE FAIR AMOUNT.

UM, SO, BUT WHAT THIS, THE ANSWER FROM THE STAFF ADDRESSES THE EXPANSION AND THAT EFFECT OF BENEFITING, ESSENTIALLY GIVING US THIS FREE EXPANSION, ALBEIT, UH, WITH A REQUIREMENT OF ADDITIONAL COORDINATION FOR LARGER EVENTS THAT WOULD UTILIZE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME, BUT THEY DON'T ADDRESS THE QUESTION OF TAKING SMALLER EVENTS, COMPETING FOR SMALLER EVENTS WITH THE CONVENTION CENTER ITSELF.

AND I GUESS MY QUESTION TO STAFF WOULD BE THAT'S A FAIR STATEMENT, ISN'T IT? AND, AND AN IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THINK LOOK THINKING ABOUT AND LOOKING AT THE VIABILITY OF A GIANT EXPANSION THAT'S GONNA COST A LOT OF MONEY, THAT NOW WE HAVE THIS COMPETI EX EXPANDED COMPETITION FOR SMALLER EVENTS.

SO CAN YOU REPEAT WHAT YOUR STATEMENT IS? THAT WAS NOT WHAT WAS ASKED IN THE QUESTION.

SO I I'M TRYING TO UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ASCERTAIN AS A FAIR STATEMENT THAT THE FAIR AMOUNT WITH THAT ADDED SPACE AND, AND NOW THE, UH, THE HYATT, UM, ARE IN EFFECT BOTH, UH, HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO HELP THE CONVENTION CENTER ACCOMMODATE LARGER EVENTS BUT THEN UNDERCUT AND COMPETE FOR SMALLER EVENTS.

IS THAT A TRUE STATEMENT? SO WE DO COLLABORATE WITH ALL OF THE HOTELS IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, BUT IT IS A PARTNERSHIP.

THERE IS NOT ANY WRITTEN AGREEMENTS, UH, BETWEEN THE CITY OR ANY OF THESE CITY OR ANY OF THESE HOTEL IN ENTITIES, UH, THAT WOULD ESSENT IT ESSENTIALLY GIVE US ANY MORE CONTROL OVER THE, OVER THE SPACE.

SO WE ALL WORK COLLABORATIVELY.

YOU ARE CORRECT.

THE BUSINESS MODEL IS THAT THERE ARE HOTELS THAT BOOK THEIR OWN IN-HOUSE BUSINESS AND THEN THERE ARE THE HOTELS BOOK IN CONJUNCTION FOR CITY WIDES WITH THE CONVENTION CENTER.

IT IS A DELICATE, A DELICATE BALANCE, UM, WITH THE ADDITIONAL HOTELS THAT HAVE COME INTO THE MARKET AND INTO THE HOTEL INVENTORY.

UM, THEY, THEY ARE GROWING AND INCREASING THE HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX, UH, THROUGH THE LEISURE.

BUT, UH, A LOT OF THE HO THE EVENTS THAT THE HOTEL'S HOST, UM, YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE MORE LOCAL EVENTS AND SO THAT THEY'RE NOT GROWING THAT PART OF THE BUSINESS, UH, OR TAKING THAT PART OF THE BUSINESS AWAY FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER.

IDEALLY, UH, WE, YOU KNOW, WE MA WE TRY TO MAXIMIZE THE HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX AND WHEN WE WORK WITH VISIT AUSTIN TO BOOK EVENTS AND BRING THEM INTO OUR CITY, UM, WE WORK WITH THE HOTELS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THAT.

UM, BUT I WOULD, I WOULDN'T SAY THAT IT WOULD NECESSARILY BE A FAIR STATEMENT.

UM, THE CONVENTION CENTER DOESN'T COMPETE WITH THE HOTELS FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS.

UH, WE STRIVE TO MAXIMIZE THE HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX AND BRING EVENTS INTO THE CITY THAT DO THAT.

IF I, IF I MIGHT CHAIR WELL, I, I WAS HAD A, I RESERVED A FOLLOW UP QUESTION, SO GO AHEAD CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSIONER SMITH.

WELL, I, I WOULD JUST MENTION THAT THE MAIN, THE MAIN PURPOSE BETWEEN THE CONVENTION CENTER AND THE HOTELS DOESN'T REALLY REVOLVE AROUND SPACE IN PARTICULAR, IT REVOLVES AROUND GUESTROOMS. THEY CAN'T BRING A MAJOR HO A MAJOR CONVENTION INTO THE CITY UNLESS THEY HAVE THE APPROPRIATE NUMBER OF GUEST ROOMS THAT GO ALONG WITH IT.

AS AN ANCILLARY TO THAT, A LOT OF TIMES WHEN YOU HAVE CONVENTIONS PUT IN AND THEY HAVE THEIR MAIN MEETING AT THE CONVENTION CENTER, WHICH TAKES UP A LOT OF SPACE, THEY MAY HAVE AUXILIARY COM MEETINGS IN THE VARIOUS HOTELS THAT TAKE UP SPACE AS WELL.

ON THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT, IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE A CONVENTION CENTER PER SE, THE HOTEL IS NOT GONNA GO AFTER MAJOR CONVENTIONS BECAUSE FOR THEM TO COORDINATE THE MAJOR CONVENTION IN GENERAL, THEY'D HAVE TO COORDINATE WITH ALL THE OTHER HOTELS, WHICH IS WHAT THEY DO.

AND THEY WOULD ALSO HAVE TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT MAJOR SPACE FOR THE MAJOR GENERAL SESSION TYPE OF EVENTS AND OR EXHIBITS THAT THEY HAVE THAT WHETHER IT'S THE FAIRMONT, THE, UM, THE, UH, J UH, W OR THE HILTON OR WHATEVER AREN'T GONNA BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE.

AND PART OF THAT REASON IS, IS BECAUSE THESE MAJOR CONVENTIONS DON'T WANT TO SEGREGATE ALL THIS BUSINESS IN DIFFERENT PLACES WHERE THEY HAVE TO WALK BACK AND

[00:15:01]

FORTH TO SEE EXHIBITS OR WHATEVER THEY WANT THAT MAIN AREA WHERE THEY CAN DO THEIR GENERAL SESSION EXHIBITS AND MOST OF THE MAIN THINGS THAT THEY DO, WHATEVER THEIR AGENDA IS, AND THEN THE ANCILLARY STUFF GOES INTO THE HOTELS.

BUT THEIR MAJOR THING THAT THEY COORDINATE WITH HOTELS IS GUEST ROOMS. I MEAN, THAT'S THE, THAT'S THEIR FIRST, UH, THAT'S THEIR FIRST WINE THAT THEY DO WHEN THEY'RE CONTRACTING WITH HOTELS IS THEY HAVE TO MAKE SURE THESE, THESE MAJOR CONVENTIONS, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL HAVE 50,000 ROOM NIGHTS ON PEAK NIGHT AND THEY GOTTA MAKE SURE THAT THE HOTELS ARE, HAVE THE AVAILABILITY AND ARE AGREEING TO, UH, CONTRACT WITH THE CONVENTION CENTER, THOSE HOTEL ROOMS. AND THAT'S THE FIRST THING THAT THEY DO.

I THINK ANOTHER POINT, UH, TO MENTION, UM, YOU'RE KIND OF COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES.

UM, AND A MAJOR ADVANTAGE THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER HAS OVER THE HOTELS, WHETHER IT BE A SMALL EVENT OR A LARGE EVENT, IS EVENTS GENERALLY BRING, UM, A LOT OF, UM, WHAT WE CALL IN OUR INDUSTRY GEAR WITH THEM.

SO THEY NEED DOCK SPACE WHERE THEY CAN UNLOAD FREIGHT, UNLOAD WHAT THEY'RE EXHIBITING AND DISPLAYING AND SHOWING, UH, ROLL IT OUT ONTO THE FLOOR, UM, YEAH, TO FIT IT THROUGH THE DOORS.

UM, I'VE WORKED IN A LOT OF THE HOTELS ON SMALLER EVENTS AND UH, I THINK ALL OF THEM, PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THEM HAVE A SLOPING DOCK, WHICH MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT TO UNLOAD.

THEY ALL HAVE TWISTS AND TURNS, THEY HAVE LOW CEILINGS, THEY HAVE SMALLER DOORWAYS.

SO, UM, IT CAN BE KIND OF IMPOSSIBLE TO GET, UH, EVERYTHING THAT YOU WANT TO BRING WITH YOU, UM, INTO THEM.

AND THE CONVENTION CENTER, UM, DOESN'T HAVE THAT PROBLEM.

IT'S PURPOSELY BUILT FOR THAT KIND OF, UM, FREIGHT AND, UH, GEAR THAT GOES ALONG WITH, UH, AN EXHIBIT OR A CONVENTION OR DISPLAY.

UM, NOT, NOT TO MENTION THE, UH, TYPES OF LABOR THAT THEY HAVE THAT ARE, UH, HAVE SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES LIKE ELECTRICAL ENGINEER TYPE OF PEOPLE OR WHATEVER IT MAY DB THAT HOTELS DON'T HAVE SOME OF THAT BACKGROUND OF TYPE OF PEOPLE TO HANDLE SOME OF THE EQUIPMENT STUFF THAT THEY HAVE, AV EQUIPMENT, ET CETERA, ET CETERA.

SO, UM, YOU HAD A FOLLOW UP QUESTION? YES.

UM, GOING BACK TO QUESTION NUMBER THREE FROM QUESTION NUMBER FOUR AND UM, UH, COMMISSIONER REED'S QUESTION, UM, I MEAN THIS IS A PET PEEVE OF MINE WITH COUNCIL MEMBERS NOT CALLING OUT STAFF TO BE COMPLETELY STRAIGHTFORWARD AND HONEST.

THAT FIRST SENTENCE SAYS THE MONEY'S COMING FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER AND THAT IS JUST FALSE.

AND YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE WRITTEN THAT SENTENCE.

IT'S VERY MIS IT'S, IT'S, IT'S MISLEADING, IT'S FALSE, IT'S INCORRECT.

WHICH SENTENCE ARE YOU REFERRING TO? WHICH THE FIRST SENTENCE IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH UNDER THREE A CONVENTION SENTENCE, IT SAYS, SAYS THE MONEY COMES FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER.

IT DOES NOT, AS COMMISSIONER REEDY POINTED OUT, IT COMES FROM THE COUNCIL AND THE COUNCIL CAN ADJUST IT HOWEVER THEY WANT.

IT IS NOT MONEY THAT'S GIFTED FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER TO THE OTHER PURPOSES THAT THE COUNCIL HAS ALLOCATED.

THAT'S A GOOD STATEMENT.

PLEASE BE STRAIGHT WITH US AND THE COMMUNITY.

WE, THIS COMMISSION HAS A HISTORY OF THIS STAFF NOT BEING HONEST WITH THE COMMUNITY, NOT BEING HONEST WITH US.

AND WE'D REALLY LIKE TO END IT WITH THE NEW AND RELATIVELY NEW AND FRESH FACES THAT WE HAVE.

I, WELL, I DON'T KNOW IF I ACTUALLY READ IT LIKE THAT.

THE WAY I READ IT WAS, WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO SAY IS THAT IT'S COMING FROM THE HOT TAX, WHICH IS WHAT THEY, THEY GENERATE FOR THE CITY.

I DON'T THINK THEY'RE JUST SAYING IT'S, THAT'S NOT, THAT'S HOW I TOOK IT AS WELL.

NO, IT'S SAYING THE CONVENTION CENTER PROVIDES THE 30% OF REVENUE.

THAT'S WHAT IT SAYS.

COME ON GUYS.

I TOOK IT TO MEAN THAT THEY ARE WORKING TO GENERATE HOT TAX.

I MEAN THAT WAS WHAT WAS IN THEIR OPENING STATEMENT, BUT THEY'RE WORKING TOWARDS GENERATING HOT TAX, SAYS NAMELY.

YEAH.

30% OF ALL ELIGIBLE HOT THAT IS COLLECTED IS GIVEN TO THE CITY FOR THE LIVE MUSIC.

I DON'T THINK THEY SAY THAT THEY'RE DOING THAT.

AND THEY SPOKE TO IT WHEN, WHEN THEY FIRST CAME UP, IS THEIR, THEIR BELIEF IS THAT IF IT WERE PRIVATELY CONTROLLED, THERE WOULDN'T BE THAT OBLIGATION.

CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSIONER RE WELL, I DIDN'T WANT TO GET AS HARSH AS COMMISSIONER BUNCH, BUT THIS WAS ENTIRELY DISINGENUOUS.

AND I'VE BEEN WATCHING THE CONVENTION CENTER DEPARTMENT FOR 12 YEARS AND THEY, AND I WOULD LIKE A FRESH START WITH YOU GUYS.

MARK USED TO JUST PRETEND THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER GENERATED ALL THE HOT IN TOWN AND HE WAS SO GENEROUS TO GIVE SOME OF IT TO ARTS.

AND YOU'RE CONTINUING THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER IN FACT GENERATES LESS THAN 3% OF HOT.

AND EVEN THOUGH ALL OF IT GOES THROUGH YOU GUYS TO REDISTRIBUTE, THE FACT IS THE LAW REQUIRES 30% TO GO TO OTHER USES.

AND THAT WOULD NOT CHANGE IF THERE WAS A PRIVATE OPERATOR.

SO I AGREE WITH BILL, THAT FEELS DISINGENUOUS.

UM, YOU KNOW, I MEAN MARK CAME HERE AND

[00:20:01]

OVERSTATED ATTENDANCE ONE TIME.

WE JUST WOULD LIKE THE DEPARTMENT TO BE STRAIGHTFORWARD WITH US.

I'M NOT A SUPPORTER OF PRIVATIZATION AT ALL.

I'M NOT PUSHING FOR THAT.

BUT, YOU KNOW, TO NOT HAVE A STRAIGHTFORWARD ANSWER ON A MATTER OF CITY LAW IS A BUMMER.

SO, WELL, I DISAGREE.

I THINK IT'S, I MEAN, I READ IT AS, AS, AS WE UNDERSTAND IT, THE CONVENTION CENTER IS A LAW FOR BRINGING EVENTS TO AUSTIN THAT THEN GENERATES HOTEL RO HOTEL OCCUPANCY, WHICH THEN GENERATES THE HOT TAX.

I MEAN THAT'S, THEY'RE, IT ONLY GENERATES A TINY PERCENT OF THE HOT TAX AND IN FACT IT LOSES OPERATIONAL MONEY AND REQUIRES SUBSIDIES.

BUT IT STILL GENERATES IT 3%.

BUT IT'S STILL, THE 30% IS NOT COMING FROM THE COMMISSION CHAIR.

THE 30% IS NOT COMING FROM COMMISSION CENTER.

IT DOESN'T NEED TO GENERATE ENOUGH.

ARE YOU, IS THAT WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? I DON'T LOOK AT IT AS THE 30%.

IT, IT JUST SAYS THAT 30% OF ALL ELIGIBLE HOT THAT IS COLLECTED IS GIVEN TO THE CITY.

IT DOESN'T SAY THAT THEY, IT SAYS GENERATE 30%.

READ THE SENTENCE.

I AM READING THE SENTENCE.

IT'S SAYING THE MONEY'S COMING FROM THE CONVENTION CENTER.

IT IS NOT COMING FROM THE CONVENTION.

IT SAYS LITERALLY PROVIDE REVENUE IN THE MANNER OF THE CONVENTION CENTER CURRENTLY DOES.

SO THE CONVENTION CENTER DOES NOT PROVIDE THE REVENUE FOR ARTS AND PRESERVATION.

THAT'S JUST A FACT.

SO IT SEEMS THAT WE HAVE ALL READ THIS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENTLY.

LET'S ASK THOSE WHO WROTE IT, WHAT THEIR INTENTION WAS BEHIND THE STATEMENT.

COULD YOU SPEAK TO THE INTENTION BEHIND THE STATEMENT? OUR INTENTION WAS NOT TO SAY THAT WE WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING THE 30%, THE CONVENTION CENTER IS THE AVENUE BY WHICH HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX IS GENERATED BECAUSE THROUGH THE ACTIONS OF THE AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL, 30% OF ALL HOTEL, ALL ELIGIBLE HOTEL TAX THAT IS COLLECTED, IS TRANSFERRED TO ARTS AND LIVE MUSIC.

IF YOU HAVE SUGGESTED LANGUAGE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE US TO INCLUDE AND PROVIDE A REVISED STATEMENT FOR YOU, WE'RE HAPPY TO DO SO.

WE ARE NOT HERE TO TRY AND BE COMBATIVE.

WE ARE NOT HERE TO TRY AND LIE TO YOU.

WE HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT HONEST.

WE HAVE PROVIDED ANSWERS TO ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS AND I QUITE FRANKLY, I DON'T APPRECIATE THAT WE ARE BEING CALLED LIARS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.

THIS IS GROSSLY MISLEADING.

SORRY IF, AND AGAIN, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PROVIDE US SOME ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN IT, WE'RE HAPPY TO HAVE IT SO THAT IT CAN BE POSTED PUBLICLY AS BACKUP.

WELL, AND I, AGAIN, THAT'S YOUR OPINION.

THAT IS GROSSLY MISLEADING, SO YEAH, IT IS.

WELL, YOUR OPINION, I'VE BEEN READING ENGLISH FOR A LONG TIME, SO I I THINK WE ALL HAVE, AND I THINK IT'S, UH, UNFAIR TO, UM, I THINK IT'S UNFAIR TO TAKE A POSITION THAT IF ONE PERSON READS ONE THING ONE WAY AND ANOTHER READS IT A DIFFERENT WAY, THAT ONE PERSON IS RIGHT AND ONE PERSON IS WRONG, IT JUST SIMPLY SAYS WE READ IT DIFFERENTLY.

UM, THOSE, THE AUTHORS OF IT HAVE ANSWERED THE QUESTION AND I'M SATISFIED WITH THAT ANSWER.

I DON'T BELIEVE ANYBODY'S TRYING TO MISREPRESENT ANYTHING AND WE SHOULD MOVE PAST THIS OBSTACLE.

UH, COMMISSIONER ROLAND, I HAVE A, AND THANKS FOR COMING TODAY.

I'M A NEW COMMISSIONER AS ABOUT FIVE, SIX MONTHS AGO.

UM, I AM, UH, INTERESTED IN, IN LEARNING HOW ONCE THE REVENUES ARE COLLECTED FROM THE HOT TAX AND ARE, UM, BROUGHT INTO THE CONVENTION CENTER DEPARTMENT, CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE BIT OF THE PROCESS OF HOW THOSE FUNDS ARE MANAGED WHEN THEY'RE IN THE CONVENTION CENTER'S BUCKET, SO TO SPEAK, MANAGED? HOW? WELL, SO, YOU KNOW, I'M INTERESTED IN, YOU KNOW, FROM WHAT I'VE HEARD, IT'S, AND, AND FORGIVE ME IF I'M NEW TO THE COMMISSION AND I I NEED TO BE BETTER EDUCATED, BUT THAT'S WHY I'M ASKING THE QUESTION.

ABSOLUTELY.

UH, SO WHEN THE REVENUES COME INTO THE CONVENTION CENTER, CAN YOU JUST EXPLAIN HOW THOSE REVENUES ARE COLLECTED, LIKE DOWN TO, YOU KNOW, THE PARTICULAR PROCESSES AND THEN HOW THEN THOSE ARE REALLOCATED OUT FOR THESE SPECIFIC CITY PROGRAMS? SO THE, UH, HOTEL TAX COMES INTO THE HOTEL TAX FUND, UM, AND THAT, THAT COLLECTS THE MAJORITY OF IT.

THAT'S WHERE IT KIND OF SITS AT A HIGH LEVEL THAT'S NOT CONTROLLED BY THE CONVENTION CENTER.

IT'S THEN DISTRIBUTED TO THE VARIOUS FUNDS.

UM, HIS CULTURAL ARTS, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, UM, THE VENUE FUND, WHICH PAYS FOR THAT, THE 2% THAT'S GOING TO PAY FOR THE ORIGINAL EXPANSION.

UM, THEN FOUR AND A HALF PERCENT IS THEN DISTRIBUTED TO THE CONVENTION CENTER FUND.

UM, THEN THAT PAYS DEBT SERVICE ON OUR REMAINING DEBT.

UM, WE HAVE A CO COUPLE MORE YEARS LEFT, I THINK, OF SOME GENERAL, UM, SOME GENERAL OBLIGATION DEBT.

AND THEN THE BALANCE COMES INTO THE CONVENTION CENTER, UH, FOR OPERATIONS.

AND WHAT'S THE BALANCE THAT COMES IN AFTER ALL OF THOSE? UH, I'D HAVE TO, I CAN, I CAN GET THAT INFORMATION FOR YOU.

THAT'S ONLINE, ISN'T IT? YES.

AND IT'S ALL PART OF THE BUDGET PROCESS.

UM, AND THEN I DID ALSO FORGET TO MENTION THE, THE 2% THAT COUNCIL APPROVED IN 2019 FOR THE EXPANSION GOES DIRECTLY INTO THE CONVENTION CENTER CAPITAL FUND.

IT'S, IT CAN ONLY BE SPENT ON THE EXPANSION.

UM, AND THEN THE CONVENTION CENTER ITSELF TRANSFERS FIF THE EQUIVALENT OF 15% OF THAT 2% TO

[00:25:01]

THE LIVE MUSIC FUND.

UM, AND ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR, UH, THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION.

AND WE HAVE A FLOW OF FUNDS.

IT'S VERY COMPLICATED AND I, IT'S NOT AN EASY, IT TOOK ME QUITE A WHILE TO, TO GET UP TO SPEED TO IT.

UM, WE DO HAVE A FLOW OF FUNDS CHART THAT I'M HAPPY TO PROVIDE TO YOU THAT KIND OF, THAT MIGHT HELP SHOW HOW IT ALL WORKS.

THAT WOULD BE GREAT.

AND ALSO, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW WHEN THOSE DOLLARS HIT, UM, YOU KNOW, FROM, YOU KNOW, WHICH SAY QUARTERS AND HOW THAT HITS YOUR BUDGET.

UM, JUST THE TIME THAT LAPSES FROM SAY, A VISITOR SPENDING A ROOM NIGHT AND THAT COMING INTO THE CONVENTIONS.

I'D JUST LOVE TO SEE THE TIME AS WELL, NOT JUST THE PROCESS.

HOTEL TAX COLLECTION LAGS A QUARTER.

A QUARTER.

OKAY.

YEAH.

AND THEN I'D BELIEVE WE GET QUARTERLY DISTRIBUTIONS TO ALL THE, ALL THE VARIOUS FUNDS.

OKAY, COOL.

I'LL LOOK OUT FOR THAT INFORMATION.

THANK YOU.

ABSOLUTELY.

AND THAT'S ALL ONLINE ALSO? YES.

CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSIONER VAN.

THANKS, OFFICER.

THANK YOU.

UM, I JUST, I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S RELEVANT HERE AND, AND Y'ALL CAN CALL ME BACK OR NOT, BUT SINCE YOU'RE ASKING THE QUESTIONS, I THOUGHT POSSIBLY JUST, IT'S NOT IN THIS, BUT WE TALKED ABOUT THE TPI, THE TPI ITSELF AS A PART OF THESE ALLOCATIONS AND, YOU KNOW, THIS BODY MADE A VOTE OR MADE A RECOMMENDATION TO COUNSEL ABOUT THE TPI BEFORE YOU WERE A PART OF THIS.

BUT IT'S RELEVANT, I BELIEVE THE FUNDING AND THE ADDITIONAL DOLLARS FOR THESE FUNDS ARE TIED TO A POTENTIAL TPI, WHICH I THINK MIGHT BE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE CIRCULATING AGAIN THIS YEAR AS PART OF THE NEW COUNCIL'S ACTION AND THE NEW MAYOR'S ACTION IN THOSE CONVERSATIONS.

SO I DON'T KNOW IF THAT CONNECTS BACK TO PART OF YOUR ANSWER ABOUT HOT TAX BECAUSE THERE'S ADDITIONAL DOLLARS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY GONNA BE UNLOCKED ONCE THE TPI IS PUT INTO POSITION.

YES.

AND THAT DOES NOT RELATE TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE HOTEL OCCUPANCY TAX.

IT'S KIND OF ABOVE AND BEYOND THAT.

BUT THE, THE, THERE IS A NEW DRAFT THAT IS, I BELIEVE BEING FINALIZED AND THEY'RE RERUNNING SOME PROJECTIONS.

UM, AND WE CAN CERTAINLY HAVE VISIT AUSTIN PROVIDE A, A STATEMENT ABOUT KIND OF THAT PROCESS AND WHERE THEY ARE IN IT.

UM, BUT WE DO ANTICIPATE THAT WE WILL BE SEEING SOME MOVEMENT ON THE TPI THIS YEAR.

OKAY.

THAT'S, THANKS.

THAT'S GOOD.

THAT'S GOOD TO HEAR.

UM, I'D LIKE TO ASK SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT EXPANSION.

UM, YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR ANSWER THAT, UM, IN ANSWER TO WHEN DOES THE CONVENTION CENTER CLOSE? THE ANSWER WAS, UH, YOU'LL HAVE A CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE AND CLOSURE DATE WHEN THE RFQ IS RELEASED.

WHEN DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE RFQ BEING RELEASED? WELL, UH, , WE, UH, ARE FINALIZING SOME OF THE LAST BITS OF NEGOTIATION.

UM, WE WILL STILL NEED TO DO SOME BRIEFING WITH COUNSEL AND SOME OTHER, SOME OTHER STEPS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN.

BUT WE ARE, UM, HOPING BY THIS SPRING THAT THE RFQ WILL BE RELEASED.

AND WHEN YOU SAY YOU'RE, UH, NEGOTIATING, WHAT ARE YOU, WHAT IF YOU CAN TELL, IF YOU'RE ABLE TO SHARE WITH US WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU NEGOTIATING OR AND WHO WITH WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I DON'T KNOW THAT WE ARE, ARE WE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT, UM, I BELIEVE WE HAD, WE HAD WRITTEN COMMUNICATION BRIEFING THEM ABOUT THE BOND DENTURE.

SO, UM, THERE'S A BOND INDENTURE IN, SO THE, THE CITY OWNS AND OPERATES OR OWNS THE, UM, HILTON HOTEL DOWNTOWN.

WE DO NOT OPERATE IT.

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FINANCING.

I THINK THAT'S A, A PIECE IN THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION RESOLUTION THAT IS, UM, IN INCORRECT.

UM, IT'S STATING THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT DEBT.

WE ARE NOT, UM, THE ACE CORPORATION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR IT, IT, AND, AND HANDLES ALL OF THE DEBT.

SO THEY HAVE, UM, OUTSTANDING DEBT RELATED TO SOME DEBT THAT WAS ISSUED.

I CAN'T REMEMBER EXACTLY WHEN.

UM, BUT IN THE LANGUAGE THERE, IF THERE IS A CLOSURE OF THE CONVENTION CENTER, IT COULD, IT COULD CONSTITUTE AN EVENT OF DEFAULT.

SO WE HAVE BEEN WORKING DILIGENTLY WITH THE BOND HOLDERS, UM, AND HILTON THEMSELVES ON A RESOLUTION TO THAT AMENDMENT OR TO THAT PIECE OF THE INDENTURE TO GET AN AMENDMENT DONE.

UM, AND WE'RE, WE'RE IN THE FINAL STAGES OF THAT NEGOTIATION.

OKAY.

SO PRESUMABLY YOU'RE TRYING TO NEGOTIATE SO THAT IF IT, IF WHEN THE CONVENTION CENTER CLOSES, IT DOESN'T TRIGGER THIS DEFAULT? CORRECT.

OKAY.

I HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT CLOSURE, BUT I RECOGNIZE, UH, COMMISSIONER REED.

UH, WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE HILTON? I WAS A LITTLE CONFUSED TOO BY THAT STATEMENT IN THE DOWNTOWN.

SO MY QUESTION WAS, THE CITY IS NOT PAYING THE BONDS FOR AUSTIN CONVENTION ENTERPRISES PROPERTY? THAT'S CORRECT.

IT'S NOT THE CITY OF AUSTIN RESPONSIBILITY? THAT IS CORRECT.

IT'S THE HILTON.

OKAY.

OKAY.

UH, ANYONE ELSE? OKAY.

UM, I ALSO WONDERED, AND IT MAY BE TOO SOON, BUT UM, YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT WHEN IT CLOSES, UM, THE GOAL IS TO STILL BRING EVENTS AS, AS WE CAN DURING CLOSURE, UM, AND, UH, OPERATE SORT OF LIKE A CAMPUS APPROACH WITH THE HOTELS MM-HMM.

.

UM, AND YOU ALSO MENTIONED THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER EMPLOYEES OVER 300

[00:30:01]

FULL-TIME STAFF.

SO I'M JUST WONDERING, LOOKING FOR SORT OF, UH, AN UPDATE ON WHAT CONVERSATIONS, WHAT, WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE IT'S GONNA LOOK LIKE FOR THE 300 STAFF, UH, ON CLOSURE AND, AND EXPLAIN WHAT YOU ENVISION THE CAMPUS STYLE BEING LIKE? I IMAGINE WE'VE, FOR HOWEVER LONG IT'S CLOSED, OBVIOUSLY WE'RE GOING TO DO WITHOUT SOME SIGNIFICANT BUSINESS.

UM, IT SOUNDS LIKE FROM YOUR ANSWERS, THERE'S GOING TO BE A GOAL TO ENSURE THAT AS SOON AS IT'S UP AND READY AND BACK ONLINE, THERE WILL ALREADY BE EVENTS BOOKED.

AND I'M ASSUMING EVEN THOUGH WE'LL BE TEMPORARILY LOSING BUSINESS, WE SHOULD STILL HAVE THE AUSTIN DRAW, WHICH IS WHAT A LOT OF EVENTS CHOOSE US FOR OVER OUR NEIGHBORING CITIES.

BUT, UM, WHAT KIND OF ARE THE THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW THE CLOSURE'S GONNA BE HANDLED IN TERMS OF EMPLOYEES AND BUSINESS? YEP.

SO, UH, OUR CURRENTLY OUR MODELS, WE ARE PLANNING TO KEEP ALL 300 OF OUR CURRENT FULL-TIME STAFF ON BOARD.

UM, WE, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE MANY NEEDS THROUGHOUT THE CITY FOR CUSTODIAN STAFF, THAT KIND OF THING THAT WE CAN, UM, PROVIDE SOME HELP TO SOME OTHER CITY DEPARTMENTS WITHOUT HAVING THEM TO GO OUT AND HIRE OTHER FOLKS FOR THE, YOU KNOW, THE HOWEVER LONG WE'RE UNDER CONSTRUCTION.

UM, SO WE'VE INCLUDED THAT IN ALL OF THE MODELS THAT WE'VE BEEN RUNNING IS, IS HAVING THAT COST ON THE PAYROLL.

UM, AND WITH REGARDS TO THE CAMPUS APPROACH, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY WE'RE NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE ALL OF OUR BUSINESS.

UM, AS YOU GUYS, AS YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT EARLIER, THE EXHIBIT HALLS AND, AND SUCH, UM, THERE ARE JUST SOME EVENTS THAT ARE TOO LARGE THAT THAT CANNOT, THE HOTELS OBVIOUSLY CAN'T TAKE.

SO SOME OF THE SMALLER EVENTS WE'RE GONNA BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE.

AND WE'VE ALREADY HAD SOME CONVERSATIONS, UM, AROUND THAT.

UM, AND THEN THE ONES THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT WE ALREADY DO HAVE ON THE BOOKS FOR THOSE YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION, WE'LL BE WORKING TO REBOOK THEM AS KIND OF, YOU KNOW, FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE, UM, IN, WITHIN THE NEW CENTER WHEN WE REOPEN.

UM, AND SO HOPEFULLY THAT KIND OF, WE'LL BE ABLE TO KEEP THAT BUSINESS BUT JUST SHIFT IT TO A LATER DATE WHILE ALSO PURSUING NEW BUSINESS.

SO IS IT THE GOAL THEN THAT, UM, YOU WILL FARM THE CURRENT EMPLOYEES OUT TO OTHER DEPARTMENTS, OTHER AREAS TO KEEP THEM EMPLOYED AND THEN WHEN THE CONVENTION CENTER REOPENS THAT THEY WILL COME BACK? SO YOU WILL HAVE A, YOU'LL BE FULLY STAFFED WITH PEOPLE THAT KNOW HOW TO OPERATE THE CONVENTION CENTER? OKAY.

THAT'S CORRECT.

AND THEN WHEN YOU SAY, UM, BRINGING EVENTS, UM, WHAT EVENTS YOU CAN ACCOMMODATE AND ACCOMMODATING SMALLER EVENTS, ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT WILL THOSE EVENTS BE ACCOMMODATED ON CITY PROPERTY LIKE THE PALMER OR IS IT, ARE WE TALKING ABOUT PARTIAL CLOSURE OF THE CONVENTION CENTER NOW OR IS IT STILL A FULL CLOSURE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO GO DOWN AND UP? SO IT WOULD STILL BE A FULL CLOSURE OF THE CONVENTION CENTER? UH, WE WILL, WE WILL BE WORKING WITH THE HOTEL COMMUNITY, UH, TO SEE HOW WE CAN, UH, BEST ACCOMMODATE THOSE SMALLER EVENTS, UH, IN AN, IN A CAMPUS TYPE APPROACH.

UNDERSTANDING, LIKE KATIE SAID, THAT THERE WILL BE A LAR THERE WILL BE A LARGE AMOUNT OF EVENTS THAT, THAT WE JUST SIMPLY WILL NOT BE ABLE TO, TO FIT.

UH, BUT WE PLAN ON USING OTHER CITY FACILITIES AND, UH, OTHER LARGER VENUES, UH, AS WE WORK THROUGH THIS PROCESS.

BUT WE DO HAVE THE PALMER EVENT CENTER, WE HAVE EXHIBIT HALLS THERE.

UM, AND SO WE WILL BE WORKING JUST AS DALLAS AND OTHER CONVENTION CENTERS THAT ARE UNDERGOING RENOVATIONS AND CLOSING PORTIONS OF THEIR FACILITIES.

UM, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT IS SOMEWHAT, UM, A STANDARD PRACTICE WITHIN THE INDUSTRY.

SO, UH, WE, YES, WE WILL BE WORKING TO ACCOMMODATE, UH, AS MANY SMALL EVENTS AS POSSIBLE.

UH, OUR STAFF WILL BE WORKING AT, WE, WE WILL STILL OWN AND OPERATE TWO GARAGES DOWNTOWN AS LONG AS WELL AS THE PALMER EVENT CENTER.

UM, AND WE HAVE A MARSHALLING YARD AND WAREHOUSE THAT WE, UH, HAVE AS WELL.

SO OUR STAFF WILL BE WOR EMPLOYED WITHIN THE CONVENTION CENTER AND WITHIN OTHER CITY DEPARTMENTS, UM, DURING THE TIME OF THE CLOSURE.

OKAY.

AND I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY WHEN THIS STARTED ORIGINALLY, UM, THERE WAS, UH, OH, MY COMMISSIONER CANNADY IS LOOKING TO JOIN US ONLINE IN, UM, I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY, UH, WHEN THIS, WHEN THIS PLAN FIRST STARTED, IT WAS HOPED THAT IT WOULD BE PARTIAL A PHASE CLOSURE SO BUSINESS COULD CONTINUE.

UM, SO, YOU KNOW, AND I THINK HOTELS, I THINK EVERYBODY WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT, INCLUDING THE HOTELS.

SO IS THE HOTEL COMMUNITY NOW THAT IT'S A FULL, A FULL CLOSURE, ARE THEY BEING GENERALLY SUPPORTIVE? UH, YES.

THEY'RE GENERALLY SUPPORTIVE OF A SINGLE PHASE CLOSURE, UH, BECAUSE THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER WOULD BE OUT OF COMMISSION WOULD BE MUCH, MUCH SHORTER.

UM, RATHER THAN TRYING TO DO A PHASED APPROACH, UH, WHERE YOU HAVE EVENTS IN HALF OF A FACILITY, THOSE EVENTS ARE, YOU KNOW, GENERALLY FACING CHALLENGES WITH CONSTRUCTION AND CONSTRUCTION SOUND AND NOISE.

UM, AND UH, SO IT, THE, THE HOTEL COMMUNITY IS GENERALLY SUPPORTIVE OF THAT.

AND HOW, HOW SHORT, HOW LONG WOULD THE CLOSURE BE IS THE ESTIMATE? UH, UNDERSTANDING YOU DON'T HAVE AN RFQ YET? THE ESTIMATE CURRENTLY IS FOUR TO FIVE YEARS.

UH, BUT WE, YEAH, WE WILL, THAT WILL BE, UH, DETERMINED DURING THE, THE DESIGN PHASE IN THE CONSTRUCTION.

MM-HMM.

, ANYONE ELSE? ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? COMMISSIONER

[00:35:01]

REEDY? IS THERE ADDITIONAL COUNSEL ACTION NEEDED BEFORE THE RFP IS ISSUED? THERE IS NO OFFICIAL ACTION REQUIRED WHEN COUNSEL APPROVED THE CONSTRUCTION MANAGER METHODOLOGY, UH, BACK IN JUNE 10TH, 2021.

UM, WE ARE REQUIRED TO NOTIFY COUNSEL, UM, BUT THERE IS NO FURTHER ACTION REQUIRED BY COUNSEL.

THEY WILL OBVIOUSLY BE APPROVING ANY CONTRACT RIGHT.

RECOMMENDATION THAT THIS, THAT STAFF BRINGS FORWARD FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THAT PROCESS.

THANKS.

OKAY.

ANYONE ELSE? I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS UNLESS ANYBODY ELSE WANTS TO JUMP IN.

UM, OKAY.

UM, SO DALLAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT THEY'RE GOING TO EXPAND THEIR CONVENTION CENTER.

UM, WE ARE ALREADY, THEY'RE ALREADY FOUR TIMES THE SIZE OF OUR CONVENTION CENTER AND THEY'RE GONNA GO BIGGER AGAIN.

UM, WHAT IMPACT DO YOU FEEL THAT IS GONNA HAVE ON THE FUTURE? EVEN WHEN WE OPEN OUR EXPANDED CONVENTION CENTER, IF ANY? I THINK THAT WE'LL STILL BE COMPETING WITH A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT MARKET THAN DALLAS WILL BE.

UM, EVERY CONVENTION CENTER IN EVERY DIFFERENT CITY.

YOU KNOW, THEY, THERE'S DIFFERENT NICHES IN DIFFERENT MARKETS, BUT, UM, YOU KNOW, NATIONALLY WE BELIEVE THAT THERE'S ENOUGH BUSINESS, UH, TO SUPPORT OUR EXPANSION AND DALLAS'S EXPANSION, UM, IN ADDITION TO, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S KIND OF HAPPENING AND GOING ON ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

SO WE BELIEVE THAT WE WILL STILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BOOK OUR BUILDING SUCCESSFULLY.

AND, UM, WE HAVE THE REPORTS, YOU KNOW, THAT WE'VE, UH, HAD OUR CONSULTANTS RUN AS WELL.

UH, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALL OF ALL OF THE ACTIVITY THAT'S TAKING ON THAT'S TAKING PLACE WITHIN THE INDUSTRY AND CONVENTION CENTERS BEING BUILT ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

OKAY.

CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSIONER BAILEY, SINCE YOU BROUGHT THAT UP.

IT, IT REMINDED ME AND, AND SOME OF OUR PREVIOUS, UM, PRESENTERS THAT HAVE APPEARED BEFORE US THAT THE DISCUSSION OF THE CONVENTION CENTER SEEMS TO REVOLVE AROUND THE WORD MAKING IT BIGGER.

AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT BASED ON A COMMENT YOU JUST MADE ABOUT THERE'S DIFFERENT NICHES, DIFFERENT MARKETS AND DIFFERENT CENTERS KIND OF PERFORM IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

I THOUGHT IT WAS WHERE THE REVIEWS, BECAUSE I THINK JUST SAYING WE WANT A BIGGER, BIGGER IS NOT WHAT I SAW ON MY, IN OUR EARLY FEASIBILITY STUDIES WITH UT AND OTHER THINGS, THERE WAS A LOT OF PLANNING OF THE DOWNTOWN MM-HMM , THE AREA AROUND SHOAL CREEK AND THE NEED TO THE CENTER NEEDS TO BE A LEADER OR AT LEAST PART OF A BIGGER PROCESS OF REDEFINING THAT AREA.

AND THAT ACTUALLY THE CENTER ITSELF NEEDS CERTAIN TYPES OF NEW FEATURES THAT ARE DRIVING MODERN AND CURRENT MEETING, UM, AESTHETICS.

WHETHER IT'S DIFFERENT KINDS OF DIGITAL FIRE POWER, DIFFERENT KIND OF AV EQUIPMENT INSTALLED AND READY AT, AT THE READY AND READY TO USE VERSUS BREAKOUT ROOMS. I JUST WONDERED IF YOU COULD COMMENT ON, SO WE DON'T JUST KEEP STICKING WITH THE SAME IDEA.

WE WANT A BIG, WE WANT A BIG BOX THAT COMPETES WITH DALLAS, CUZ DALLAS HAS GOT A BIG BOX.

I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE CONVERSATION AND I WOULD LOVE TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO REFINE OUR THINKING ON THAT.

UM, YEAH, YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

SO, UM, I BELIEVE WE PROVIDED YOU ALL WITH THE PROOF OF CONCEPT THAT WE DRAFTED I THINK ABOUT A YEAR AGO.

IF, IF WE'RE HAPPY TO PROVIDE THAT AGAIN.

UM, AND YOU'LL NOTICE WHAT, TO ME, THE BIGGEST THING ABOUT THAT PROOF OF CONCEPT IS THAT IT DOESN'T LOOK LIKE WE HAVE A CONVENTION CENTER ON THAT QUADRANT ANYMORE.

YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES THAT WE HEAR IS IT'S A BIG BOX.

ARE WE JUST GONNA BUILD A BIGGER BOX? UM, AND WITH THIS REDEVELOPMENT OF THE, OF THE CENTER, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACTIVATE THE STREET GRID AGAIN, OPEN UP SECOND AND THIRD STREET, PROVIDE GREEN SPACE ALONG RED RIVER, PROVIDE THE OP THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A P THREE, SOME TOWER ON, UM, THE SOUTHERN PORTION OF IT.

ALTHOUGH, AGAIN, PROOF OF CONCEPT IS NOT A DESIGN, IT IS JUST A STARTING POINT FOR THE DISCUSSION.

I WANNA MAKE THAT VERY CLEAR.

UM, BUT WE, YOU KNOW, HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTEGRATE ALL OF THE BRAND NEW TECHNOLOGY.

UM, WE'VE ALREADY SHIFTED FROM THE 2015 ORIGINAL MASTER PLAN TO KIND OF OUR RE OUR RETHINKING THAT WE DID IN 2020 TO WHEN WE RELEASED THE PROOF OF CONCEPT, WE'VE INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF MEETING SPACE.

UM, I THINK THAT, UH, MR. HAZINSKI, WHEN HE SPOKE BEFORE YOU IN AUGUST, KIND OF SPOKE TO THAT TREND, UH, THAT WE'RE SEEING MORE MEETING SPACE BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT TO HAVE THOSE BREAKOUT SESSIONS.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO FOSTER THOSE CONNECTIONS WITH FOLKS RATHER THAN JUST HAVE THE BIG BALLROOM SPACES.

SO WE'RE WORKING ON, BUT YOU STILL NEED THE BALLROOM SPACE AND YOU STILL NEED THE EXHIBIT HALLS FOR ALL OF THE OTHER IMPORTANT PIECES THAT GO ALONG WITH THE CONVENTION.

UM, SO WE HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY THROUGH THE DESIGN AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO LEARN MORE AS WE'RE EMERGING FROM COVID AS WE GO THROUGH THE DESIGN PROCESS ON HOW WE CAN REALLY MAKE THIS CONVENTION CENTER, THE CONVENTION CENTER OF THE FUTURE, UM, AND MAKE IT FLEXIBLE AND NIMBLE SO IT CAN RESPOND TO THE CHANGING TRENDS AS WE MOVE FORWARD.

UM, AND AGAIN, I THINK WHAT I, ONE OF THE THINGS I'M MOST EXCITED ABOUT IS, AGAIN, THAT ACTIVATION

[00:40:01]

AT THAT STREET LEVEL, UM, TO JUST KIND OF INTEGRATE WITH ALL OF THE GOOD WORK THAT THE PALM DISTRICT IS DOING.

WATERLOO GREENWAY, UM, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN WITH I 35, WE'LL BE ABLE TO JUST KIND OF BE THAT STAIR STEP FROM, YOU KNOW, THE NEW BOULEVARD.

SO WE'RE, WE'RE EXCITED ABOUT THAT OPPORTUNITY AND WE AGREE IT'S NOT JUST, IT'S NOT JUST A BIG BOX.

WE'RE TRYING TO REMOVE THE IDEA OF A BIG BOX, UM, FROM THIS PART OF DOWNTOWN.

AND I THINK THAT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

GREAT.

THANKS.

I DID THAT FOR YOU.

DANIEL .

I JUST WANNA PAUSE FOR A MOMENT.

COMMISSIONER CANNADY.

UM, I JUST WANNA CHECK YOUR, THERE YOU GO.

WE NEED TO HAVE YOUR CAMERA ON, UM, WITH ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU WISH TO ASK THE STAFF? CUZ IF YOU'D HAD YOUR HAND UP.

I HADN'T SEEN YOU, YOU WERE A BLACK BOX AND YOU'RE MUTED.

I DID NOT HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.

I WAS JUST WAVING.

OKAY, GOOD.

I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE.

UM, ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSION A BUNCH.

IS THERE ANY, UM, UH, YEAH, HAVE, HAVE Y'ALL DONE ANY SORT OF, UH, WRITTEN ANALYSIS OF HOW THE NEW MOODY CENTER MAY AFFECT YOUR BUSINESS? IT'S A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BUSINESS.

I'LL LET TRISHA KIND OF SPEAK TO THAT.

YEAH, WE HAVEN'T DONE ANY ANALYSIS ON THAT, BUT THAT'S A COMPLETELY SEPARATE TYPE OF BUSINESS.

UH, WE DON'T HAVE AUDITORIUM THEATER SEATING, WE DON'T PR WE DON'T, DON'T PRODUCE CONCERTS.

UM, WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANY CHANGE IN SPORTING EVENTS, UH, IN THE BOOKINGS OF SPORTING EVENTS THAT WE HAVE SINCE THE MOODY CENTER HAS OPENED.

UM, SO I DON'T BELIEVE THAT THERE'S BEEN ANY NEGATIVE IMPACT, UH, AT THIS POINT.

THEY, THEY HAVE BEEN ADVERTISING THE CENTER FOR CONVENTIONS AND SPECIFICALLY TALKING ABOUT THAT BEING A PIECE OF THEIR BUSINESS.

THEY'VE NOT NEGATIVELY IMPACTED, UH, OUR BUSINESS TO DATE THAT WE KNOW OF AND WE'RE AWARE OF.

ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? UM, I HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION.

UM, THIS IS SORT OF OUT OF YOUR PURVIEW, BUT JUST, UH, WANTED TO, UM, SOLICIT YOUR OPINION OR EXPERIENCE.

UM, HOMELESSNESS HAS INCREASED OBVIOUSLY IN AUSTIN SUBSTANTIALLY.

UM, WE ARE A TOURISM BOARD.

DO YOU THINK, OR HAVE YOU HEARD FROM, UM, UH, ANY OF THE ATTENDEES? UM, IS, IS OUR HOMELESSNESS, DOES IT HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON TOURISM? WE HAVE HEARD FROM OUR ATTENDEES, THERE HAS BEEN SOME NEGATIVE IMPACT FROM THE, THE, UH, PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS.

UH, WE WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH D AA, WE WORK WITH A P D, WE'RE WORKING WITH VISIT AUSTIN, WE'RE WORKING WITH THE HOTEL AND LODGING ASSOCIATION.

THE OVERALL TOURISM INDUSTRY, UM, IS EXPERIENCING, UM, I BELIEVE SOME NEGATIVE IMPACTS FROM PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA.

HOWEVER, UH, WE ARE, YOU KNOW, WE ARE A VERY NIMBLE GROUP AND WE'RE PROBLEM SOLVERS AND WE'RE COLLABORATIVE PEOPLE.

SO WE ARE WORKING TOGETHER.

ALL OF THESE ENTITIES ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO ENSURE THAT, UM, WE'RE PROVIDING THE SAFEST FACILITIES, UM, AND, YOU KNOW, WALKABILITY FROM THE HOTELS TO THE CONVENTION CENTER AND VICE VERSA.

UM, YOU KNOW, OUR CONVENTION CENTER TEAM, OUR SECURITY TEAM IN PARTICULAR, YOU KNOW, THE FACT THAT THEY A CITY EMPLOYEES AND WE HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH A P D, UM, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY, UH, WORK HARD, UH, TO ENSURE THAT WE'RE PROVIDING THE UTMOST SECURITY AND SAFETY FOR OUR OVERALL ATTENDEES.

BUT WE HAVE, WE HAVE HEARD THAT FEEDBACK.

UM, I WILL SAY I BELIEVE THAT THE FEEDBACK THAT WE'RE RECEIVING IS, IS, UH, FAR LESS THAN A YEAR AGO WHEN WE WERE COMING OUT OF COVID.

UM, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF WORK THAT HAS BEEN DONE.

UM, I HOPE THAT ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION.

ARE YOU AWARE OF ANY PARTICULAR, UM, DEPARTMENT IN THE CITY THAT'S ACTIVELY WORKING TO HELP IMPROVE THINGS? I MEAN, I WOULD, I WOULD SAY THAT EVERY, AT EVERY DEPARTMENT IN THE CITY THAT'S TASKED WITH HOMELESSNESS IS ACTIVELY WORKING TO IMPROVE THINGS.

UM, I CAN TELL YOU, UM, IT IS A TOPIC OF CONVERSATION AND I BELIEVE THAT, UH, THE HOMELESS STRATEGY OFFICER AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, I BELIEVE, I BELIEVE THAT ALL THE CITY DEPARTMENTS ARE DOING WHAT THEY CAN.

UM, AND WE'RE COLLABORATING WITH THEM IN, UM, IN PARTICULAR, YOU KNOW, IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, THE AREAS SURROUNDING THE HOTELS AND THE CONVENTION CENTER.

THANK YOU.

MM-HMM.

, .

ANY OTHER QUESTIONS? COMMISSIONER ROMAN? I, I JUST HAVE A COMMENT.

I THINK THAT'S, UM, THAT'S GREAT THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT SOLUTIONS FOR THE HOMELESSNESS.

UM, SOME WOULD SAY HOUSELESSNESS CRISIS, UM, AND I THINK IT PROVIDES ADDITIONAL, UH, I THINK IMPETUS FOR PICKING UP THE TWO PAID CONVERSATION THAT WE'VE LEFT EXACTLY, UM, IN THE PREVIOUS MAYORAL ADMINISTRATION.

SO I REALLY HOPE TO SEE SOME TRACTION ON THIS THIS YEAR WITH THIS NEW MAYOR AND NEW COUNCIL.

MM-HMM.

.

AGREED.

ANY

[00:45:01]

OTHER QUESTIONS? ALL RIGHT.

ANY, ANY LAST COMMENTS? THANK YOU FOR HAVING US TODAY.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR, FOR JOINING US.

APPRECIATE YOUR TIME.

YES, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

GOOD JOB.

NICE AS COMMISSION A BUNCH.

YEAH, LIKE TO MAKE A MOTION.

UM, I HAVE COPIES IF ANYBODY DOESN'T HAVE THEIRS OF THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION'S MOTION.

YES, PLEASE SEND, SEND THEM DOWN.

OKAY.

UH, THERE WE GO.

UH, I THINK THAT'S ENOUGH FOR Y'ALL, BUT I HAVE A FEW MORE.

UM, I WOULD LIKE TO, UH, MOVE THAT WE SECOND THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION'S MOTION AS WRITTEN AS I PASSED OUT WITH ONE CHANGE.

UM, THAT BEING ON THAT REFERENCE TO THERE NOT BEING COMPLETELY ACCURATE ON THE FOURTH, WHEREAS THAT PERTAINS TO THE BONDS RIGHT NOW, IT SAYS AT THE FOURTH, WHEREAS, UM, AUSTIN IS CURRENTLY PAYING FOR MULTIPLE CONVENTION CENTER RELATED BONDS.

UM, STRIKE IS CURRENTLY PAYING FOR AN INSERT MUST CONSIDER, AND THAT WOULD BE THE ONLY CHANGE.

AND JUST FOR THE RECORD, ALSO I'D LIKE TO READ JUST THE BE IT RESOLVED PART SO THAT ANYBODY WHO'S PAYING ATTENTION IS TRYING TO FOLLOW ALONG AND CAN'T READ THIS.

UH, I WON'T READ ALL THE WAREHOUSES, BUT IN SHORT, THE MOTION THAT THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION PASSED ALMOST UNANIMOUSLY, I BELIEVE THERE WAS ONE DISSENT OR ONE ABSTENTION, UM, SIMPLY CALLS FOR THE COUNCIL TO SLOW DOWN AND UNDERTAKE SOME FURTHER STUDIES, UM, OF THE CONVENTION CENTER BEFORE MOVING FORWARD WITH THIS MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR COMMITMENT THAT WOULD ESSENTIALLY TIE UP HUGE CHUNKS OF OUR HOTEL TAX FOR ANOTHER 30 YEARS MINIMUM.

UM, AND IT READS BE RESOLVED BY THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF AUSTIN BEFORE MOVING FORWARD WITH ANY ACTIONS RELATED TO THE EXPANSION OF THE AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER.

THE CITY MANAGER, COUNCIL AND STAFF SHOULD NUMBER ONE, DIRECT THE CITY MANAGER TO DIRECT STAFF TO INDEPENDENTLY ANALYZE A, THE OVERALL CONVENTION CENTER INDUSTRY CONDITION AND TRENDS.

B, THE FINANCIAL TRACK RECORD ATTENDANCE AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS COMPARED TO THE PRIOR 2001 CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION C, THE AVAILABILITY AND USE CASES FOR ADDITIONAL MEETING ROOM SPACE AT THE FAIRMONT, FAIRMONT, AND OTHER NEARBY HOTELS.

D THE OVERALL OPPORTUNITY THAT HAS BEEN IMPACTED BY A COMBINATION OF HISTORICAL TRENDS, THE PANDEMIC AND A TECHNOLOGY SHIFT TO HYBRID AND ONLINE CONVENTIONS.

AND THEN THE SECOND PART OF THE RESOLUTION, UH, DIRECT AGAIN, DIRECTING THE CITY MANAGER TO, UH, OR RECOMMENDING THE COUNCIL TO ISSUE I'M READING AGAIN, ISSUE A REQUEST FOR A PROPOSAL FOR POTENTIAL PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS TO REDESIGN A CONVENTION CENTER THAT INCLUDES DOWNTOWN HOUSING, INCLUDING SIGNIFICANT AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT 50 TO 60%, UH, UH, MEDIUM FAMILY, MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME AVAILABLE TO ARTISTS AND SERVICE INDUSTRY WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

UH, AND THEN CONCLUDING THE CITY MANAGER, COUNCIL AND CITY STAFF WILL PRESENT AN ASSESSMENT OF EXPECTED UPSIDE AND DOWNSIDE EXPANSION SCENARIOS WEIGHTED BY PROBABILITY IN EARLY 2024 AFTER CONSULTING A SPECTRUM OF INDUSTRY EXPERTS THAT INCLUDES BOTH OPTIMISTIC INSIDERS AND CRITICS.

AND THAT'S MY MOTION.

ALL RIGHT, SO THERE'S A MOTION, UH, MOTION FROM COMMISSIONER BUNCH THAT THE TOURISM COMMISSION SECOND THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION'S RESOLUTION WITH AN AMENDMENT TO THE FOURTH, WHEREAS REPLACING IS CURRENTLY PAYING FOR WITH MUST CONSIDER.

IS THERE A SECOND TO THAT MOTION? IT'S BEEN REGULARLY MOVED AND SECONDED.

DISCUSSION CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSIONER READING.

YOU KNOW, I JUST WANT TO GO BACK.

I'VE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS SINCE 2016, SO ABOUT SEVEN YEARS OF THIS CONVERSATION.

AND WHAT I LEARNED WAS THAT, UM, CONVENTION SUBS, PUBLICLY SUBSIDIZED CONVENTION CENTERS ARE AN OUTDATED BUSINESS MODEL.

UM, YOU KNOW, THE FACT REMAINS

[00:50:01]

THAT IT GENERATES VANISHINGLY LITTLE BUSINESS IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF OVERALL VISITORS AND TOURISM IN AUSTIN, AND YET IT SOAKS UP 70 ISH PERCENT OF OUR HOTEL TAXES.

UM, IN FACT, THE DETECTIVES COMPTROLLER HAS STATED AND, AND ISSUED A REPORT THAT AUSTIN SPENDS MORE TO SUBSIDIZE ITS CONVENTION CENTER THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN TEXAS.

SO I'VE ALWAYS ADVOCATED FOR A BALANCE AND A WELL AND OPEN CONVERSATION.

IT'S BEEN TOUGH TO GET TO.

UM, I SUPPORT THIS BECAUSE I THINK WE NEED MORE RESEARCH.

I THINK THAT, UM, WE HAVEN'T SEEN THE WHOLE PICTURE AND IN PARTICULAR IT'S BEEN A FACT STATED AND SH PROVEN BY HAYWOOD SANDERS AND OTHERS THAT THE EXISTING CONVENTION CENTER HAS NEVER MET EVEN 50% OF ITS BUSINESS PROJECTIONS.

SO THAT LEADS ME NOT TO TRUST FUTURE PROJECTIONS FOR THIS PROJECT.

UM, I THINK WE'VE ALSO SEEN THAT THE CONSULTANTS HIRED TO GENERATE THESE REPORTS HAVE MADE AN INDUSTRY OUT OF SAYING YES TO CITIES THAT THEY ALL NEED NEW CONVENTION CENTERS.

WE'VE ALSO SEEN PROVEN THAT SUPPLY IS OUTPACING DEMAND NATIONALLY.

UM, AND WHILE I DO BELIEVE AUSTIN HAS AN EDGE BECAUSE OF OUR CULTURE, UH, THE CONVENTION CENTER ACTUALLY PRESENTS A THREAT TO THAT CULTURE BY LOCKING UP ALL OF OUR HOTEL TAX FOR THOSE MANY YEARS, 30 YEARS.

WE PUT ARTS AND PRESERVATION FUNDING AT RISK.

AND IF YOU LOOK AT THE VISITOR IMPACT TASK FORCE REPORT BACK FROM 2017, THEY ACTUALLY SHOW THAT GIVEN THE BUSINESS PROJECTIONS, IF THE CONVENTION CENTER FALLS SHORT OF THE PROJECTIONS THEY MADE, AND IT HISTORICALLY HAS FALLEN 50% BELOW PROJECTIONS, IT WILL CANNIBALIZE JUST TO PAY OFF THE BONDS OTHER USES OF HOTEL TAX.

SO I THINK IT DEFINITELY NEEDS MORE RESEARCH.

UM, I THINK WE CAN DO A BETTER JOB FOR AUSTIN BY JUMPING OUT OF THE SOUTH DATA BUSINESS MODEL INTO SOMETHING NEW.

I DO LOVE THE WHOLE IDEA OF THE STREET GRID AND ALL THAT STUFF IS REALLY COOL.

I GET WHY THAT'S APPEALING AND ATTRACTIVE, BUT QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK WE WOULD BE BETTER OFF BUILDING A HUNDRED PERCENT AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN THAT LAND AND TOURISM IN AUSTIN WOULD CONTINUE TO GROW IF WE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A CONVENTION CENTER.

SO I JUST WANNA THROW ALL THAT OUT THERE.

I MEAN, THE FACTS I THINK ARE ON THE SIDE OF NEEDING MORE RESEARCH.

UM, AND I JUST WANTED TO REMIND YOU GUYS THAT HISTORICALLY THIS INDUSTRY HAS UNDERPERFORMED AND THE CURRENT EXPANSION HAS UNDERPERFORMED.

AND THE REASON I GOT INVOLVED SEVEN YEARS AGO WAS SOMEBODY TOLD ME THAT THE CONVENTION CENTER HAD NEVER MET ITS BUSINESS PROJECTIONS.

AND THE ANSWER I GOT WAS, WELL, IT WASN'T BIG ENOUGH TO BEGIN WITH.

AND THAT'S JUST GOT ME TO START DOING MY OWN RESEARCH.

YOU KNOW, I'VE READ MULTIPLE ACADEMIC PAPERS, TONS OF RESEARCH ON THIS.

THIS IS NOT A GOOD MODEL.

UM, AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE AUSTIN TRY TO TAKE A TURN OUT OF CHASING DIMINISHING RETURNS WITH BIGGER AND BIGGER PUBLIC INVESTMENTS.

THANK YOU.

YOU'VE HEARD AN ARGUMENT FOR THE MOTION.

IS THERE AN ARGUMENT AGAINST THE MOTION CHAIR RECOGNIZES COMMISSIONER SMITH? WELL, I THINK FIRST OF ALL, THE DOWNTOWN COMMISSION, WHILE IT DID LISTEN TO MR. SANDERS, WHO HAS NEVER FOUND A CONVENTIONAL CENTER THAT HE LIKED, THEY DIDN'T INVITE THE VISIT AWESOME PEOPLE TO EVEN COME AND TALK TO THEM.

SECONDLY, WHEN WE WERE LOOKING AT, YOU KNOW, NOT EVEN 50% OF THE ROOM NIGHT GOALS, EVEN ACCORDING TO THIS, THE NUMBER IN 2018 WAS 2 46, WHICH IS BIGGER THAN FIF MORE THAN 50%, PROBABLY ABOUT 70% OF THE 3 32 ROOM NIGHT GOALS THAT THEY HAD.

AND OF COURSE, THE BUSINESS MODEL SINCE THEN HAS CHANGED IN THAT IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT HOTEL ROOMS ANYMORE, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT AIRBNB, WHICH PICKS UP A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF GUEST ROOMS OVERALL.

AND NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PERHAPS AT SOME POINT DOING SOME TYPE OF OCCUPANCY TAX ON THEM, WHICH SHOULD BE DONE.

UM, WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF BUSINESS IN GENERAL, YOU KNOW, CENTER ROOM NIGHTS, ACCORDING TO THIS, A TOTAL CONVENTION CENTER ROOM NIGHTS WERE FOR, UH, CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, YOU KNOW, 246,000.

I MEAN, IT'S FEWER THAN 9% OF THE TOTAL BUSINESS DISTRICT.

THERE'S STILL A LOT OF ROOMS. I MEAN, IT'S NOT LIKE IT'S, UH, A SMALL AMOUNT.

YOU'RE STILL TALKING ABOUT AN EASY $5 MILLION THAT THEY BRING INTO THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, GET THESE INFORMATION.

IF THIS INFORMATION IS, IS CORRECT, THE FAIRMONT, AND AGAIN, YOU KNOW, 40 YEARS IN THE HOTEL BUSINESS, THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE A LARGE HOTEL WITH A LARGE BALLROOM, ET CETERA, REALLY IS ANCILLARY

[00:55:01]

TO A CONVENTION CENTER.

I USED TO RUN THE CHICAGO HILTON AND TOWERS AND, YOU KNOW, THE CONVENTION CENTER UP IN CHICAGO IS ONE OF THE LARGEST ONES EXCEPT FOR PROBABLY LAS VEGAS.

AND OUR BUSINESS MODEL WAS NOT TO JUST COUNT ON WHAT THE CONVENTION CENTER BRINGS IN, BUT WHEN THE CONVENTION CENTER BRINGS IN LARGE CONVENTIONS, IT GIVES IT, YOU KNOW, IT, THE, THE HOTEL DECIDES WHETHER THEY'RE GONNA PARTICIPATE OR NOT.

AND TO SAY THAT IT'S EASY FOR THE CONVENTION TO JUST MOVE SOME OF THEIR STUFF OVER TO THE, OVER, TO THE, UH, UH, FAIRMONT ET CETERA, IS NOT, IT'S DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT.

THAT'S NOT WHAT THE CONVENTION PLANNERS WANT TO SEE.

SO IT'S, IT DEPENDS ON THE CONVENTION.

THEY'RE ALL VERY, VERY DIFFERENT.

THEY ALL HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS, ET CETERA, THAT THEY DO HAVE.

THE OTHER THING I'D LIKE TO SAY IS THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE'S DEATH BY ANALYZATION TOO.

I MEAN, YOU CAN SIT HERE, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS STARTED BACK IN WHAT, 20 13, 20 12, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

AND I MEAN, YOU KNOW, THE, HAS THE MARKET CHANGED SINCE THEN? SURE.

DID THE MARKET CHANGED SINCE 2018 COVID? SURE.

IS THE MARKET GONNA CHANGE IN ANOTHER EIGHT YEARS? SURE IT IS.

BUT YOU HAVE A, YOU HAVE A, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE A QUESTION OF DO YOU WANT A, A GHOST TOWN OF A CONVENTION CENTER THAT IS NOT EQUIPPED TO HANDLE SOME OF THE MORE LARGER LUCRATIVE TYPES OF BUSINESS, OR YOU WANT TO TRY AND STAY UP WITH IT IN ORDER TO PROVIDE, AGAIN, MORE HOT TAX? REMEMBER THE MORE HOT TAX YOU CUT THAT COMES IN THE MORE, AND IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF PERCENTAGE, IT'S DOLLARS.

I MEAN, 30% OF A MILLION IS NOT THE SAME AS 30% OF 10 MILLION.

SO YOU'RE GONNA GET MORE MONEY INTO THOSE AREAS THAT ARE NOT STANDALONE PROFIT CENTERS LIKE, YOU KNOW, BARTON SPRINGS OR LIKE MUSEUM OR WHATEVER.

AND THAT'S NEEDED IN ORDER TO MAKE THOSE VIABLE FOR THE COMMUNITY, OBVIOUSLY.

SO THIS HELPS THAT.

I THINK THE LAST THING I'D, I'D LIKE TO MENTION TOO IS WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ANALYZATION, ET CETERA, THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN PASSED, YOU KNOW, BEEN APPROVED BY THE MAYOR, BY THE CITY COUNCIL, BY THIS COMMISSION, AND BY THE VOTERS.

I MEAN, THEY HAVE ALREADY APPROVED THIS.

AND WE'VE BEEN BEATING ON THIS FOR, SINCE I'VE BEEN ON THIS COMMISSION FOR A COUPLE YEARS.

THANK YOU.

RIGHT.

WE'VE HEARD AN ARGUMENT FOR, AND AN ARGUMENT AGAINST.

I'M GONNA RECOGNIZE COMMISSION POINT OF CLARIFICATION.

SO I I, I WOULDN'T WANT TO FRAME THIS AS PRO AND AGAINST.

I MEAN, THIS IS SHOULD BE THE DISCUSSION.

IT IS THE DISCUSSION PART.

AND ACCORDING TO ROBERT'S RULES, THE CHAIR SHOULD, UH, ALTERNATE BETWEEN THOSE WHO ARE FOR, OR THOSE WHO ARE SPEAKING AGAINST THE MOTION.

I'M, AND THAT'S WHY I'M ASKING FOR, FOR AND AGAINST I TRYING TO MAKE THIS LESS CONTENTIOUS.

I DON'T THINK IT NEEDS TO BE POSED THAT WAY, IS WHAT I'M SAYING.

THANK YOU.

I'M NOT SURE HOW ELSE TO OPPOS IT , BUT I WILL, I WILL TRY YOU FOR THE AMENDMENT AND NOT WORTH THE AMENDMENT.

EXACTLY.

IT'S NOT ABOUT EXACTLY, EXACTLY.

I'M NOT TRYING TO MAKE IT CONTENTIOUS.

I'M TRYING TO ENSURE THAT WE OBSERVE ROBERT RULES