The board that oversees the development of the former Amoco refinery property is waiting for a contract to be signed by the City of Casper and the company proposing the hotel part of the proposed conference center.

"Obviously, nothing's going to happen with the hotel or the conference center until that sublease is agreed to," said Bryce Row, chairman of the Amoco Reuse Agreement Joint Powers Board after its monthly meeting.

"The funds that are dedicated toward the infrastructure around it are waiting for that movement to occur, so the sublease is a key cornerstone piece for everything moving forward," Row said.

Last month, he said the board would be hearing details about the scope and cost of the project. That won't be known until after the city and hotelier sign their agreement.

"From what I am understanding, there are some terms they are still negotiating. What those terms are, I'm not privy to," Row said.

In June, Casper City Council approved a pass-through lease of agreement of 17 acres of the former refinery property, now known as the Platte River Commons, for a conference center. The city will spend almost $5.1 million to lease the land, and then sublease the same property to a private developer.
The public funds will be used for the infrastructure and the conference center. The hotel itself is a private development. Depending on the weather and other factors, the project will take 18 months to 24 months to complete.

Row isn't worried about the delay.

"There has been no flag to date to say the hotelier is in trouble," he said.

"This is merely part of the process as I understand it," Row said. "So as soon as the hotelier and the city come to terms with the sublease, then we can go forward."

The contract discussion with the city and the hotelier is not open to the public, he said.

Last month, Row said central Wyoming already has hotels that can accommodate hundreds of people, but it needs an all-inclusive conference center to handle conventions for thousands of people.

“But as far as taking in a large base, when it comes here for a convention of thousands of people, we don’t have the facilities in town,” Row said.

The ARAJPB was created in 1998 when Amoco — now BP — signed an agreement with the city of Casper and Natrona County to oversee the development of the property. The Casper City Council and the Natrona County Commission appoint the board members.
BP pledged more than $25 million toward the goal of replacing the number of jobs lost when the refinery shut down in 1991. The board receives no money from the city or the county.