Springfield, MO

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Convention task force receives seven proposals

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Springfield's Convention Attraction Task Force, tasked with selecting a consulting firm to perform a competitive assessment of a vacant downtown parcel ripe for development, received seven proposals after inviting 13 firms to participate.

The deadline was Sept. 15 for the firms to submit bids on the assessment of the 1.7 acres between the city's Expo Center and developer John Q. Hammons' parking garage.

The firms that responded were Chicago-based HVS Convention Sports & Entertainment Facilities Consulting; Duluth, Ga.-based Strategic Advisory Group; Minneapolis-based Conventions Sports & Leisure International; Memphis-based Pinkowski & Co.; Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners; Orlando-based Real Estate Research Consultants Inc.; and Chicago-based C.H. Johnson Consulting Inc., according to Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Public Relations Manager Susan Wade. CVB president and CEO Tracy Kimberlin is on the task force, and bids were mailed to CVB's office.

The price range for services would be $39,000 without travel expenses up to $80,000, including travel expenses, Wade said. She declined to give specific business' estimates.

The city, CVB and John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts will split the cost of the assessment, Wade said.

The task force will meet in late September or early October to narrow down the list to two or three finalists. From there, the selected firms will be invited to present before the task force, Wade said.

The top firm will be chosen following the presentations, she said.

CVB officials said the winning firm likely would take 8 to 12 weeks to complete the study.

In addition to analyzing the 1.7 acre Expo Center adjacent lot, the chosen firm will compare Springfield with other cities that have convention and exposition events to determine how Springfield can best remain competitive for such bookings, according to the RFP (see related link).

The Convention Attraction Task Force is made up of 13 people, including: Kimberlin; Jerry Compton, City Council member; Melissa Dallas of Missouri State University; Fred Ellison, citizen-at-large; J. Howard Fisk of Fisk Limousines and representative of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce board; John Ford, CVB board member; Missy Handyside, representative of the Springfield Hotel & Lodging Association; Steve Minton and Scott Tarwater of JQH Hotels & Resorts; Rodney Nichols, representative of the city's Tax Increment Financing Commission; Marry Lilly Smith of the city's economic development department; John Whittington, businessman-at-large; and Rusty Worley of Urban District Alliance.

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