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Kalahari moving forward with site plan work
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Date published: 7/15/2009
To lure the resort, the City Council approved an incentives package that includes a 47.5 percent rebate on all the park's local taxes for 20 years and more than $3 million in up-front fee waivers.
The property is adjacent to the Fredericksburg Expo and Convention Center, and it is anticipated that Kalahari will either buy or otherwise partner with that facility.
As a standalone facility, the Expo Center has had a hard time making a profit off of the conventions and meetings that the city would like to see it hosting.
Unlike events such as flea markets and boat shows, organizers of conventions and meetings typically want a steep discount on event space.
Most government- or hotel-owned centers can offer this discount and make up for it on local taxes or room rates, but the Expo Center's operators can't tap into those revenue sources.
A Kalahari partnership was thought to be key to solving that problem, but in the meantime, the city has proposed to help the Expo Center make up some of the revenue it loses by discounting its space for conventions.
In February, the Economic Development Authority agreed to match the roughly $40,000 that the city had available for this purpose in an Expo Center "opportunity fund" that was made up of money paid through a special tax on Celebrate Virginia landowners.
At this point, none of that money has been paid out yet, according to Acting Economic Development Director Karen Hedelt.
Hedelt said the city and Expo Center are still working out the details of exactly what the city may reimburse Expo for with those funds.
--Staff writer Bill Freehling contributed to this report.
Emily Battle: 540/374-5413