(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) City Council held a work session Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of a $40 million dollar project to build a new event center where the Civic Arena is now.
Council members spoke with representatives from Inner Circle Investments, who own the Radisson hotel downtown, to talk about future development on the Civic Arena, the Radisson Hotel and surrounding parking lots.
The project is estimated to cost about $40 million. The proposed event center, which would be owned by the city, would have 31,500 square feet of multipurpose floor space for conferences, small conventions, concerts and meetings. The center would also include an over 6,000 square foot banquet area on the second floor.
The Radisson would also be renovated as part of the project to include more hotel rooms and a pedestrian bridge that would connect the hotel to the event center.
Director of Planning and Community Development Clint Thompson said city officials will begin talking about ways to fund the project.
"The next step is how do we fund it because we're actually building something that we [the city] own," Thompson said.
The city discussed the possibility of using general obligation bonds and the existing hotel-motel tax to fund a portion of the project.
InnerCircle Investments also spoke about their plans for working alongside Affinity, who own the Frontier Casino, to bring the casino to downtown. The proposed space for the casino would be the area just north of the Radisson.
"They're not going to bring the casino downtown if we still have a 40-year-old Civic Arena. So, the casino is interested based on the initial concept," Thompson said. "The added attractiveness of working with the casino is the opportunity at the property of their current location if they were to relocate downtown - opens up that area for redevelopment."
Some community members who attended the work session expressed their concern for the project effecting the historical aesthetic of downtown. City Manager Bruce Woody said this isn't something to be worried about.
"If we do replace the Civic Arena it's outside-it's architecture would be architecturally compatible with the nature of the older buildings that we have downtown," Woody said.
No final decisions have been made on the project. However, City Council approved the motion to move forward with discussing the financial aspects of the proposed million dollar event center.