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Closure of Joplin Convention Center Puts Extra Emphasis on Finis - KOAM TV 7

Closure of Joplin Convention Center Puts Extra Emphasis on Finishing Doubletree Hotel

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Joplin, MO -

The former John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Joplin is indefinitely closed due to a bankruptcy settlement for John Q. Hammons Hotels and Resorts.  The settlement stipulates the company sell a number of hotels, assets and other properties, which includes the convention center in Joplin.  It's being sold to the New York investment firm J.D. Holdings.  There's no word on what's next for the Joplin convention center.

Members of Joplin's Convention and Visitors Bureau hope a new hotel will help fill the void of the closed convention center.  But work to open that hotel has been going on since 2016.  A new Doubletree hotel will be in what many local people know as the "old Holiday Inn" building.  Signs are still up in the area saying the Doubletree will open in 2016.

Crates of tile outside give the impression workers left behind unfinished business.  That's exactly what happened, according to the developer of Joplin's Doubletree.

"We noticed there were complications arising, which kept compounding each other," says Mike Patel with Florida-based Conor Acquisitions, which owns the Joplin hotel property.

Conor Acquisitions has already invested $6 million trying to renovate the property, and is facing an unexpected cost of $7 million more.  

"The property, with the work that's being requested now, is technically considered almost new construction," says Patel.

Patel says the former Holiday Inn building had to go through significant mold remediation. 

"We also had periodic inspections with Hilton, and as we were going through that demolition phase, we notated that there were other structural or enhanced values behind the walls that Hilton required," says Patel.

Patel says a former contractor couldn't fully handle this project, so another contractor has been hired.  

The head of Joplin's Convention and Visitors Bureau says until that new contractor finishes the job, there will be noticeable voids.

"About a 45 person meeting would be the largest we could handle right now," says Patrick Tuttle with Joplin's CVB.  "A lot of the state level associations that we would host every three to five years, we can't even compete with those right now."

Patel says he's going to soon have a meeting with Hilton and the project's new contractor to try and determine if remodeling costs will further increase.  Patel hopes work begins at the Doubletree property within the next 30 to 60 days, but he's not ready to commit to a completion date.

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