October 31, 2017
Summary: The city of Show Low, Arizona has decided to authorize Phase II of a public facilities study, for which Convergence Design is providing programming, design and cost estimating services. The study concerns the feasibility of a new multipurpose events center in Show Low.
SHOW LOW — An extra $14,256 in grant money made it very easy for the Show Low City Council to say “yes” to moving forward with phase II of a study to determine the economic benefit of building a convention center.
The city applied for, and received, a Rural Business Development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for $14,257. This grant, as explained during an Oct. 17 council meeting, will cover the estimated cost of phase II of the study that will be conducted by the Hunden Strategic Partners, a real estate development consultant based in Chicago.
David Greusel, of Convergence Design, will continue to work with Hunden on phase II, providing data related to the architecture, design and planning of a successful convention and event center.
The purpose of phase II is to further analyze economic, fiscal and employment viability. The study will help city of Show Low answer questions such as:
In short, if Show Low builds it, will enough people come to support it?
In June 2017, Hunden and Greusel presented their phase I findings which focused on the current market and the demand for a multi-purpose facility in Show Low and surrounding communities.
They recommended a 64,000-square-foot “flexible space” that would accommodate sports courts, retractable seating for events, divisible space for conferences, breakout meeting rooms, trade shows, tournaments, exhibits, lectures, banquet and weddings.
Hunden and Greusel compared Show Low to other cities of comparable size, demographics and logistics in which a facility of the same type had already been built.
Based on their phase I study findings, combined with real-world comparison projects, the projected cost for Show Low was “about $22.4 million for construction, contingencies, design fees, and furnishings and fixtures. The construction cost included the building, parking and site work, with the assumption that there was zero cost for the land. The second part of the project would cost an additional $11 million, for a total cost of the two phases of $33.4 million.”
Priorities to be further analyzed in phase II include Show Low’s overall desirability as a destination for multi-purpose events, air access to the area, restaurants and other entertainment in the area, the quality of the facility, and hotel space/rooms needed to support a multi-purpose facility of its size.
The council and Steve North, business development coordinator, emphasized that the city is not committed to move forward with any project, regardless of the information presented by Hunden and Greusel.
Even if the study finds that such a convention/conference/event center would be “optimal” for Show Low, additional steps are required before proceeding. It could also take six months before the study data could be compiled and presented.
Public comment, input and involvement would also be solicited from the council before a project of this scope would be approved.