As of 2013, there are 426 hotel rooms in Three Rivers, between the 10 hotels, motels and lodges, with an average occupancy rate of 83.5 percent in 2012 and 77.1 percent in 2013, according to the Texas State Comptroller’s hotel performance factbook for the second quarter of 2013.
Despite the 6.4 percent decrease in occupancy rates, there was a 73.6 percent increase in room revenues between 2012 and 2013, going from $6,961,419 to $12,082,482, according to the report. The report also states that cities similar in size have hotel occupancy rates ranging from 41-63 percent.
Tilden is also looking into adding a Holiday Inn Express, since the Tilden Country Inn had a 98.36 percent occupancy rate and the Grand Eagle Ford Lodge had a 77.26 percent rate in 2013.
Dave McSpadden, CEO of Integra Hospitality, came to the Three Rivers City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 12 with a proposal for a 74-room three-story Microtel on the Wieding property in Three Rivers.
“We’ve done a thorough study of Three Rivers, and you could not only use it, but you need it,” McSpadden said. “I believe this will be sustainable even when the oil isn’t doing what it’s doing. Your refinery, the location with the highway—these are all factors.”
Local residents will also benefit from the additional hotel, according to Grant Works Project Director Martha Drake. Construction of the new hotel could bring utility connections on both sides of Highway 281, but those benefits come at an initial cost that could pay for itself over time and become a source of revenue for the city.
“We’re looking at something that looks good for the community,” Mayor Sam Garcia said. “As far as putting something on the tax roll, this is something positive.”
In Fiscal Year 2013, Three Rivers brought in $442,209 in Hotel Occupancy Taxes at a seven percent tax rate. The state also benefited from those hotel stays, receiving six percent for a total of $379,036.28 from Three Rivers’ hotels for FY2013.
The Texas Capital Grant Fund is a state-funded program that can only be used for providing utilities to new businesses. The amount of money the state provides is determined by the number of jobs the project will create.
George West used a $40,000 TCF grant when building their Holiday Inn at no cost to the city, since the bill was footed by state taxes and the private business.
Drake said the grant can be used for water, sewer, electricity, phone-line and fiber optic upgrades. She also said typical grants run up to $750,000.
The council approved of taking the first step in applying for a TCF grant to see if the project qualified for funding. If approved, the final application can be submitted in January with additional details.