After more than two years of planning, construction is starting on an $91 million convention center and hotel complex in Allen.


The 7-acre project on U.S. Highway 75 is intended to give the city a way to snag a slice of the growing event and meeting business in Collin County.


“We always knew there was going to be one of these built along U.S. 75,” said Dan Bowman, executive director of the Allen Economic Development Corp. “We wanted to ensure that it would be in Allen.”


The convention project, which starts construction in two weeks, is at the northwest corner of Bethany Drive and U.S. 75. It’s across the street from the popular Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm retail, restaurant and apartment development.


Dallas-based Altera Development is building the project, which will include a 300-room Marriott Hotel, 90,000 square feet of convention and meeting space and a 1,000-car parking garage.


“We had the expectation we would break ground a year ago, but we had the wrong design,” Bowman said. “Now it’s six stories, and we’ve made it larger.”


Altera Development principal Mike Kennedy said the hotel will be operated as a Delta by Marriott, one of the company’s newest full-service brands.


“Marriott wanted to do a hotel here,” Kennedy said. “The market has matured around us in the last year.”


The hotel will include an outdoor courtyard with pool, fitness center and a chef-driven restaurant.


“This should be optimally designed to bring in conventions,” Bowman said. “We designed the project based on our lost business reports.”


IBC Bank of Laredo funded the development. “All our financing is done,” Kennedy said.


The city of Allen is contributing more than $19 million to the project.


Benchmark Hospitality will operate the convention hotel when it opens in October 2018.


The buildings were designed by HoodRich Architecture of Missouri. Crossland Construction is the general contractor.


The area where the Allen Convention Center is being built is already attracting more construction.


Builder Kaizen Development Partners just broke ground on a five-story, 125,000-square-foot office building across the street from the convention center site.


And developers of the Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm mixed-use center are planning to build a small Aloft Hotel in the project starting later this year.


“Our day has come — it’s all hitting at once,” Bowman said.