Florida Hilton convention hotel project wins public funding

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA Taxpayers in Palm Beach County will be on the hook for US$27 million to help fund construction of a 400-key convention center hotel that is to be flagged by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

The project is being developed by The Related Cos., which will contribute about US$65.7 million toward the hotel’s construction. Another US$8 million is expected to come from the federal government.

Palm Beach County commissioners voted 4-2 to move forward on building the convention center hotel, agreeing in principle to put up US$27 million in taxpayer money. “We’ve agonized over this for many, many years, and our convention center will never be a success if we don’t have a hotel,” says Commissioner Burt Aaronson, The Palm Beach Post reports, although he questions the need to use public funds to build it.

Under the deal agreed to by county officials, taxpayers would contribute US$27 million in bond money, though possibly not for several years. By 2016, the cost would be offset by loans that are expiring.