A proposed Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and convention center near North Vine Street in Hays is one step closer to reality.

The Hays City Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a redevelopment district for the project, paving the way for requested Tax Increment Financing incentives. Developers have requested a 20-year TIF incentive, which is expected to generate approximately $3.7 million.

City staff now will work to negotiate a development agreement and project plan with the developer, Hays Hotel LLC and Mitra Developers.

“If the commission passes the ordinance and neither the county or school district exercise its veto right, the next steps would include negotiation of TIF project plan and development agreement between city staff and the developer,” City Finance Director Kim Rupp said Thursday. “Such documents would be subject to commission approval at a later meeting date.”

The commission held a public hearing at Thursday’s meeting, but no one attended the meeting to speak regarding the project.

The TIF will collect incremental property tax revenues for the next 30 years. Because Ellis County and USD 489 also receive a share of property tax, either local government could veto the requested TIF within the next 30 days. City officials have met with both entities to discuss the project, and have not been met with public opposition.

City and county sales tax revenues collected on-site would not be affected by the TIF, and the developers are not asking the city to incur bond debt as part of the TIF agreement.

The city commission is expected to revisit the issue this spring after the development agreement and project plan are in place. The developers also have requested a Community Improvement District sales tax — which only would apply on-site — and rebate of transient guest taxes generated by the hotel.

The proposed four-story hotel will offer approximately 100 guest rooms and 8,400 square feet of convention space. It will be located just west of Walmart SuperCenter along 43rd Street, which will be extended as part of the project.

The commission also voted Thursday to approve engineering services for reconstruction of 43rd and 45th streets in the same area. Both streets have fallen into disrepair, and the projects were moved up in the city’s capital improvement plan to take advantage of competitive construction bids and coincide with the extension of 43rd Street.

The total cost for engineering services is approximately $53,600, with total combined project costs of approximately $1.5 million expected.

Reconstruction of 43rd Street is expected to be completed by November, though the 45th Street project might extend into early 2019.

City staff originally had proposed only moving the 43rd Street project forward, but commissioners last week opted to look into doing both projects simultaneously.

“This is really favorable,” Commissioner Sandy Jacobs said. “I appreciate Commissioner (Henry) Schwaller suggesting this last week because it seems like a really good move for us. … The bidding being what it is right now, it sure seems like it’s going to be favorable to us.”