SIDEBAR: Convention center hotel: city built, and city owned

The city’s plans to build a 1,000-room-plus convention center hotel, located at Young Street between Market and Lamar, revolve around two concerns.

First, the city believes we need to upgrade the quality and quantity of trade shows and conventions that visit Dallas. Other top convention cities, including Las Vegas, have hotels attached to the convention center, as do other cities in Texas, including Houston.

Second, the city wants to help redevelop that part of Downtown and link it to the Cedars neighborhood, Deep Ellum, and the West End, and even South Side on Lamar.

Mayor Tom Leppert says the city needs to build the hotel, rather than wait for the private sector to build it, because the project needs to be done sooner rather than later to maximize benefit to the city. The hotel is crucial to Dallas becoming a top-flight convention destination, Leppert says, and not building it guarantees the city would continue to lose convention and tourism business to cities with attached convention center hotels — along with the harm that would do to the city’s tax base.

The city has hired Omni Hotels to run the hotel and will finance the project by issuing revenue bonds. This way, Leppert says, profits from the hotel will pay off the bonds, and taxpayers — theoretically — are off the hook.

The hotel cost has been estimated at between $500 million and $525 million: about $350 million for construction, about $40 million to buy the land for the hotel, about $60 million for fees and interest, and a $50 million contingency fund in case the hotel isn’t profitable.

To read hotel supporters’ take on the project, visit buildthehotel.com. To read what hotel opponents have to say, visit            notaxpayerhotel.com.
 


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