A year and a half after voters passed a measure to build a new conference center in Jefferson City, three developers are contributing. The city received the proposals Thursday, after releasing the request in December. The city will not release the names of the bidders, because they say details will have to be negotiated. Mayor Eric Struemph says all three proposals are very good. They are looking for a developer who wants to build a conference center next to a hotel. The developer would own the hotel, but would also operate the conference center. The proposal request asked for a minimum of 30,000 square feet of ballroom space, and set a cap on construction costs at $9 million. Those funds will come from a lodging tax, passed in February 2011. In 2012, the chamber of commerce backed a plan for a $30 million – $40 million conference facility, but after the “Transform Jefferson City Tax” failed, the city went with the mroe modest plan currently on the table. Monday night, City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus will review the proposals with the city council, but some council members say they are worried none of the proposals will be just what they are looking for. Carrie Carrol says, “I’m really glad we had three responses, I think that’s great. So until I see them I’ll just be open to seeing what they are.” There are a lot of details still up in the air — like where the center will be built, who will build it, and when taxpayers might actually see a groundbreaking. There are three meetings scheduled in February to nail down more details.
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