EL PASO, Texas -

The City of El Paso has put out an official request for proposals for a convention center-full service hotel in Downtown.

The hope is to increase the number of top quality hotel rooms in the Downtown area, putting the City in position to attract its share of large conventions to the Borderland.

"We'd be able to move into the next tier by having that convention-level property," said Bryan Crowe, general manager of Destination El Paso. "This is an important step to continue to develop as a destination for meetings and conventions and sporting events and activity."

The City of El Paso has a number of specifications for such a property, within walking distance of the Downtown Ballpark and Convention Center.

"We're looking at a minimum of 250 rooms," Crowe said. "We're looking at a property that is of a convention quality nature with a national reservation system and flag. Brands are things like Hilton, Hyatt, Westin and Omni."

In addition, Crowe said they usually have on-premise restaurants, room service, pool and spa, a business center, a full service sales staff and about 15,000 to 18,000 square feet of meeting space.

Crowe said El Paso has exceptional convention space, however, it just doesn't have enough hotel rooms Downtown.

Currently they have about 600 and he says they need about 850 to 1,000.

"The convention center is adequately sized to host larger meetings, but we have a mismatch in terms of available rooms versus the convention space we have here Downtown," Crowe said. "So there's a whole level we could be playing at that we're not right now."

He said the current Camino Real and Doubletree hotels Downtown don't meet the specifications at this point, but could be renovated to fill the need.

"It's a great thing overall for our city," Crowe said. "It's another step in our process. We have the Downtown Ballpark, we have the way-finding and other projects coming online in the Downtown area with the passing of the bonds in 2012. These are all building blocks in terms of creating that Downtown place we're been working towards."

Whoever wins the bid for a convention-level quality hotel Downtown will have to buy the land, finance the construction and run the hotel.

Crowe said he doesn't think it's possible to do the project without some support from the City.

According to the request for proposal document, the City wants to minimize the level of "public financial participation" in the project.

The deadline for proposals is December 10.

Details from Request for Proposal:

Hotel Facilities
The facility must offer the upscale accommodations expected by high-end corporate groups andconventioneers, as well as independent business travelers, and a wide range of event and assemblygroups, including religious and sports groups. While variations from this program are permitted,proposers will need to justify such variations in their response. The management team for the hotel's operations is a critical component of the project. It is expected that the proposed management team willhave significant experience with full-service, convention-oriented hotels in major business travel markets.

Guestrooms 
The proposed hotel should offer a minimum of 250 guestrooms, in order to compete with otherconvention destinations and allow Destination El Paso (DMO) to sell the convention center andguestroom package. Each guestroom should offer, at a minimum, the following desired amenities:
• sufficient area to accommodate a king or two double sized bed/s and work area;
• a desk with ample work space and lighting, and comfortable desk chair;
• two telephones, speakerphone, voice mail and data port access;
• high-speed internet access and wifi service;
• television, with cable and on-command movies;
• a comfortable lounge chair;
• an iron and ironing board;
• a coffee maker and complimentary coffee; and,
• bath/dressing area equipped with a hand held hair dryer, bathrobe, and amenity tray
• supplied with upscale branded soaps, shampoo and conditioner

Food and Beverage
The hotel should offer at a minimum a bar/lounge and full-service restaurant that offers breakfast, lunchand dinner. The restaurant should offer a separate exterior entrance to attract diners and not only residents in the hotel. Room service should be available from 6 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week withovernight service preferred but not required.

Other Facilities and Amenities
The hotel should offer a swimming pool, health spa/fitness center, business center, complimentaryairport shuttle, complimentary Downtown/Streetcar shuttle pass, courtesy gift shop, wifi service in all public areas of the hotel, and valet parking. The property must meet all required standards of theAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is expected that the property will be national or internationalchain-affiliated, and offer facilities and amenities on a level comparable to hotel products such as, but notlimited to, a full-service Hilton, Hyatt, Omni, or Renaissance Hotels.

The management company should  have experience operating convention-oriented hotels with 250+ guestrooms.

Financing Plan and Structure
1. Using a chart and brief commentary, indicate debt and equity composition, and partiesproviding equity and debt.
2. Letters of interest or financing commitment shall be provided along with term sheets, signed by agents authorized to provide such commitments.
3. If any financing components are contingent on changes to local or state laws, pleasedetail them and your anticipated plans for the changes to be made.

City Participation Requested
1. Provide a detailed specification of the type, source (property tax, HOT, sales, etc.), andamount of City participation being requested in your proposal. When requesting services orwaiver of fees, provide a dollar value to each.
2. Provide a levered and unlevered return on equity and explicitly justify the need for the City participation requested

Assurance to the City - Operations
1. It is expected that the early years of the project's debt will create the greatest burden on the hotel. Indicate how that risk has been mitigated. 
2. Present two brief cash flow scenarios and case studies illustrating the "expected" scenarioand "less than expected" scenario.
3. Specifically identify which parties would infuse additional equity support.

Urban Design Issues / Project Linkages
1. Briefly describe how the proposed hotel will be integrated around the surrounding land use.
2. Describe what role the hotel will play in context with the current building and adjacent landuses.

Read the full request for proposal at http://bit.ly/1yp4T42