Proposed downtown Abilene hotel could be Sheraton

There's a vision to attract more people to Abilene and bring an economic boost to downtown. During an Abilene City Council retreat Friday morning, City Manager Robert Hanna gave an update on the proposed downtown hotel that’ll be located near the Abilene Convention Center.

Hanna said the $56.6 million project could be a Sheraton hotel, although the brand has not been finalized yet. Instead of a parking structure, they’ll have a parking lot to save money.

Business owner Haley Jo Oates is opening a catering business downtown and she said she chose to open her business on Pine Street because of the downtown hotel's potential to attract more people.

"If you visit a city, say Fort Worth or Dallas, you go to downtown Dallas. You go downtown Fort Worth. Abilene is growing and with people coming to visit and the new hotel that's going up behind the convention center, it's going to bring a lot of business to downtown," Oates said.

Steve Dieterichs, the executive director of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce's downtown initiative, said he foresees the downtown hotel bringing more development to the area.

“It’s going to spur a lot of private investment, in addition to the amenities and everything that are going into the hotel. We expect to see new businesses and new interest from other developers that will come out of the downtown hotel project," Dieterichs said.

Among those new businesses, Dieterichs expects to see more restaurants and music venues downtown.

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