Future Convention Center plans discussed at City Council meeting

Published: Nov. 18, 2019 at 10:27 PM CST
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Moving the Convention Center to an area other than downtown Laredo is a topic that's contractually forbidden to even discuss. However, a City councilmember is bringing it up in order to change that idea.

It was back in 2018 that voters decided against taxing visitors in order to pay for the Convention Center in downtown Laredo.

"The voters have not voted for, or against a Convention Center," said Alberto Torres Junior of District 4.

With that being said, the City of Laredo still has a role in making this happen downtown.

Torres told KGNS in a previous interview that due to a binding agreement with Palafox Hospitality, the owners of La Posada Hotel, the City can't talk about a Convention Center being located anywhere else.

"So being that that is the case, and if indeed the purchase of this property would be intended for some sort of civic center, convention center, conference center… then we would be violating that agreement."

The property he's talking about is Hal's Landing, a former hotspot for Laredo’s nightlife. The bar and grill officially closed their doors back in 2018 due to a lawsuit that the owner's lost, which resulted in the loss of their property.

The property is now the ideal spot of a possible convention center, something District 5 Councilwoman Nelly Vielma is aiming for and says it's a need.

"We want to just amend the exclusivity clause or just remove the exclusivity clause, that was we will not hinder any other prospects for economic development in other areas of the city."

When we asked Vielma, who's in charge of the area, if she was approached with the idea or if she created it on her own, this is what she said:

"It was a combination of both. There has been a study in the past where the District 5 area around the arena was identified as well but there had not been any sponsorship. There has been different investors that are interested, but at this point we cannot even discuss that opportunity so we want to be able to open up those doors for discussion.”

The agreement with Palafox is set to expire soon, so only time will tell if things will change for this long-awaited Convention Center.

The topic was set for discussion at Monday night's City Council meeting, but we're told that the item was tabled.

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