Austin Convention Center

Julia Reihs / KUT

Expansion of the Austin Convention Center and the Travis County Expo Center could be on the line with two local ballot propositions this November. At the center of those two propositions is tax revenue from hotel stays – and how it's spent locally.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin voters will decide in November the fate of the convention center's expansion, along with a possible reshuffling of how the city spends money from hotel stays.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A state appeals court ruled Austin's ballot language for a referendum on redeveloping the convention center is misleading.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin is being sued over wording for a petition-driven referendum on the city's $1.2 billion expansion of the convention center and its use of hotel tax revenue.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

The city's effort to expand the Austin Convention Center will be on the ballot in November. The effort to derail the Austin City Council's roughly $1.2-billion plan was spurred by a citizen-driven petition that was certified late last month.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

An effort to put a planned expansion of the Austin Convention Center to a public vote is one step closer to its goal. Today, the city clerk certified a petition that will send the issue to the city council.

The Austin Convention Center
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The city's proposal to expand the Austin Convention Center could be on the ballot in November. A group opposing the City Council's decision to build out the center says it submitted a 30,000-signature petition calling for a referendum that would force a public vote as the city moves ahead with the plan.

Syeda Hasan / KUT

Mayor Steve Adler is proposing a new plan for addressing homelessness in downtown Austin – by making tourists chip in.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

For the past several months, the city's Visitor Impact Task Force has been exploring new uses for the millions of tax dollars brought in by Austin hotels. The group also has to contend with a host of state and local regulations that govern how exactly the money can be spent.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

With more tourists coming to Austin each year, the city’s hotels are generating more and more revenue. Some of that funding is set aside to support Austin’s tourism industry, and as the number of guests and hotels grow, so does that pot of money. A city task force is exploring new ways to spend it.

Does Austin Need a Bigger Convention Center?

Aug 26, 2016
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

City leaders are considering a plan to expand the Austin Convention Center, but some question how much the entire city would benefit from the project.


Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The first-ever international Modern Quilting Convention – QuiltCon – starts right here in Austin today. So what exactly is “Modern Quilting”?

Quilting has moved out of the attic and into the realm of cool. Just ask the millions of people on websites like Pinterest and Etsy.

QuiltCon organizer Heather Grant says the craft started its internet revolution in 2005… when it became easier to share photos online.

austinconventioncenter.com; c-span.org

There's tough, and then there's Texas tough.

Dick Cheney shot him, accidently, and he got back up.

He says the City of Austin took some land that belonged to him, and he fought back. And fought. And fought some more.

Harry Whittington lost his Texas Supreme Court case today.  But he says he’s not done, telling KUT News that he’ll likely file a motion for a rehearing of the case.

Image courtesy White Lodging Services Corporation

It’s rare a place can be so controversial before it even breaks ground, but such has been the case with the JW Marriott hotel, slated for an opening in downtown Austin in 2015.

Part of the reason lies with what the hotel displaced: beloved tex-mex eatery Las Manitas, located at Second St. and Congress Ave. A popular and inexpensive lunch spot with politicos, downtown workers and the bleary-eyed alike, Las Manitas’ closing in 2008 – precipitated by the knowledge a new convention center hotel would be opening on its grounds – prompted another round of soul-searching for what the true “Austin experience” was, and whether it was in danger. The Las Manitas quandary was even prominently featured in a book on Austin’s “weirdness.”

The Austin City Council even considered offering incentives to the restaurant to move, before the proposal was rebuffed in the face of mounting controversy. Still, disagreement over the city’s stance towards the JW Marriott development persisted into 2011, when the council debated whether to waive millions in construction fees. Opponents depicted the waivers as a loss in needed revenue, while proponents pointed to the millions of dollars in taxable property base and hotel occupancy fees the 2,500 room hotel will produce.

Photo by Paulo Martins for KUT News

The mayor and City Council voted to waive $3.8 million in fees for White Lodging’s construction of a new convention center hotel in downtown Austin today.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell supports the construction of a convention center hotel as an effort to attract more tourism revenue. He says Austin’s convention center bookings have been declining because its capacity is too low. The mayor says he received interest in booking conventions as soon as rumors started circulating that Austin could expand its convention center space.