SALEM, OR-The Salem City Council narrowed its choices this week with regard to the final design for a $30-million Downtown conference center.

The City Council concurred with architects who recommended the final design include a roofline that ramps up to a point over the corner of Commercial and Ferry streets SE and a public concourse that wraps around three sides of the block. A 12,000-sf ballroom would be located on the second floor.

Bob Zimmer of Seattle-based LMN Architects presented the design, which was an amalgamation of four previous designs presented at a public forum in July. In addition to the 30,000-sf conference center, the project includes a privately-owned 185-room hotel and underground parking for 300.

Construction is scheduled to begin in April 2003 and finish a year later. In addition to $18 million in urban renewal funds, the city is seeking state and federal grants to help cover the cost of construction. VIP’s Industries, owner of the Phoenix Hotel chain, is paying for construction of the hotel.

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