The City Council voted this week to enter into exclusivenegotiations regarding VIP's proposal for constructing a 30,000-sfconference center next to the Phoenix Inn Suites, located 415 N.Capitol Way. VIP's would buy the 1.38-acre lot north of the hotel.Plans also call for an additional 50 to 100 rooms at the PhoenixInn.

Funding for construction of the conference center would becovered by a sales tax rebate from the state for new publicfacilities. To meet the deadline to take advantage of the offer,construction must commence before Jan. 2004.

The city's sales tax rebate, .0033% of what it turns over to thestate, would cover debt service on a $6-million facility. However,if the city can enroll the adjacent cities of Lacey and Tumwaterand Thurston County, the rebate would support a $12-millionproject, though Lacey would want some of that for a 110-acre sportscomplex it is proposing.

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