Warner Robins council considers new hotel, convention center

Warner Robins council considers new hotel, convention center

Some council members say the hotel and convention center could create hundreds of jobs and would be funded through, what's called, an EB-5 program.

Warner Robins City Council members are considering a plan to bring a new hotel and conference center to town.

Some council members say this could create hundreds of jobs, but the funding process would be a little different.

It would be funded through, what's called, an EB-5 program.

That means foreign investors would pay for the development that creates American jobs. In turn, they would get a green card and get to live in the United States.

"The whole premise of EB-5 is really job creation," says Councilman Keith Lauritsen.

He belives this could bring some revitalization to Warner Robins.

"We're growing as a city," he explains. "But a lot of times, we are growing by rooftops. We really want to grow, also, in the public/private sector, where we have large businesses coming in and development coming in."

Warner Robins would work with the company Nysa Capital, who will be their go-between with investors and a developer.

Their goal is the creation of a hotel and conference center.

"It could create as many as several hundred jobs, depending on the scale we decide to do it," says Lauritsen.

The EB-5 program is run by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services, which mandates that every 500 thousand dollars invested in the project must create at least 10 jobs. If it does, the foreign investors can qualify for green cards to enter the U.S.

"We're trying to look outside the box a little bit and do creative things to bring things to our area we haven't had in a while," says Mayor Randy Toms.

He says by establishing a regional center for EB-5 locally, it could be used for future projects, too.

"You can use that, not only to grow this area, but anybody else in the surrounding area that wants to use that form of financing," Toms says.

No final decisions have been made as to whether or not Warner Robins will take part in the EB-5 program. However, Mayor Toms says that decision could be made as soon as their next council meeting in two weeks.

The only cost paid for by the city will be the cost of Nysa capital's services, which is about 175 thousand dollars.

That comes from a document sent to the council by Nysa.

The city will get that money returned to them over time with the new facility.




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