Most city officials agree that economic development in Stephenville has come slower than many would like, but Tuesday’s announcement that plans are underway for a new hotel was cause for celebration this week. 

Mayor Doug Svien welcomed a crowd of elected officials, business men and women and developers at City Hall Wednesday to hear from SRH Hospitality, the developers of a “select service” hotel coming to Stephenville.

The hotel is part of Tarleton Crossings, a project developed by Malcolm and Taylor Kanute with Keewaydin Developments. 

“We have a lot of enthusiasm for this project, which has gone from a 5-acre development to 12,” Taylor Kanute said. ”We have enjoyed working with members of the city council and everyone agrees that this is something that will help the city move forward.” 

Only three new hotels have been built in Stephenville in the past 31 years, and none in the past five.

Jerry Crenshaw with SRH Hospitality said the estimated $20 million hotel will likely be a Marriott, Hyatt or Hilton.

“It will be a minimum of four stories and 120 rooms,” Crenshaw told the E-T. 

The hotel will also include a swimming pool, full bar, on-site restaurant, exercise room and 15,000-square foot conference center, which will accommodate 500 people. 

Mayor Doug Svien said the city council has been working for months with key players involved in the project.

He credited City Administrator Alan Barnes, Deputy City Administrator Jeremy Allen, SEDA’s Jeff Sandford and Ashleigh Feuerbacher, and councilman Mark McClinton for gathering information and working through negotiations. 

“This is a big win for the city of Stephenville,” Svien said.

‘A GAME CHANGER’ 

Jeff Sandford, executive director of the Stephenville Economic Development Authority, said Wednesday’s celebration marks the first of many residents will begin seeing. 

“SEDA is currently managing $261.5 million in potential investment in our community,” Sandford said. “These are projects ranging from retail and hospitality to industrial primary job creators – all geared toward improving the economic prosperity of the region. SEDA’s collaboration with the city and other partners drives these projects toward positive outcomes.”

Svien got choked up when he asked former mayor Kenny Weldon to stand. Svien credited Weldon for having the vision to help create SEDA, spurring economic growth the city is now beginning to see.

“This project is a game changer for Stephenville’s ability to host events and visitors and capture that tax and revenue leakage, while doing so in a way that is uniquely, winningly Stephenville,” said Shelby Slawson, president of SEDA’s board of directors. “We get the high-quality event center we need without burdening our taxpayers with the cost to build it, own it, operate it or maintain it.”  

Crenshaw said groundbreaking on the hotel is expected to begin in 10-12 months and construction should take about a year.