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DENTON It's one of the highest points in Denton. That's why it's called 'The Hill.'

It is feet from the football stadium at the University of North Texas, and not far from the convergence of Interstate highways 35W and 35E.

UNT owns the land, but if all goes as planned, the City of Denton will soon lease it and build a $25 million mid-sized convention center.

Private developers will build an adjoining $60 million hotel and restaurant complex.

'This is a prime location for the project,' said Denton Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune.

Fortune said that property has been considered for years, but finally the timing, proposals, and partnerships seem right to move ahead with development.

The proposed convention center would be about 97,000 square feet and include a ballroom of 30,000 square feet. The city would like to attract conventions of up to 750 delegates, or banquet events for up to 2,000 attendees.

'This is a facility that's not really been seen in our community before,' Fortune said. 'There's a demand for it. We don't really have anywhere to host those type of events.'

The hotel will be an Embassy Suites with multiple stories and approximately 300 rooms. The restaurant will be a Houlihan's.

Fortune said the city will be mindful of preserving as much green space as possible. The area is popular for tailgaters going to UNT football games.

'There used to be a hotel on this site and we're pretty much taking the same footprint of that hotel,' he said. 'It's going to be a little different shape, but the design is going to capitalize on keeping as much green space as we can, because that's an important element.'

The Denton City Council still needs to give final approval, but if that is granted, construction could start early next year.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com


The City of Denton produced this video with more information about the proposed convention center project


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