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Corpus Christi approves American Bank Center assessment

The American Bank Center in Corpus Christi has not been substantially updated for nearly 20 years. A task force reviewing the center has recommended an outside firm to assess its long term use. Courtesy photo

Conference center hotel also under consideration

The Corpus Christi City Council approved a contract with Hunden Strategic Partners to determine the future needs of the American Bank Center and the feasibility of building an adjacent conference center hotel. The contract is not to exceed $91,000 for services.

A recent analysis by Visit Corpus Christi found that the cIty has lost bids for conferences and conventions that would have filled 36,000 hotel rooms, resulting in an economic loss of around $14 million. More business would be available to the city if the American Bank Center were enlarged and a hotel added.

“The city has the highest interest in our own asset and facility,” City Manager Peter Zanoni said.

The city has not invested in any improvements in the property for the past 20 years, Zanoni added. The center was renovated in 2002, and the addition of the arena was completed in 2004.

A needs assessment study was conducted in in 2014, which included recommendations for a new hotel and options for expansion of the existing conference center. No further action was taken at the time.

Councilman Greg Smith, of District 4, expressed concern about moving forward, but was supportive.

“Will we have to spend $100 million to gain $14 million? These are the kinds of questions we need to ask,” Smith said.

With another study, the City will receive an independent assessment of the current facility and obtain future possibilities, including enhancing the user experience and accommodating larger groups.

“We have a great pallet to work with, but we need to be fiscally responsible on making sure we do get a return in some shape form or fashion,” Zanoni said.

A task force of select hoteliers, business owners, city staff, and Visit Corpus Christi staff began meeting in October 2021 to address the need for American Bank Center improvements.

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