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Dallas Prepares For Convention Center Hotel

By Jane Slater, CBS 11 News
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A look at the downtown Dallas skyline. (credit: Matt Goodman/KTVT/KTXA)

A look at the downtown Dallas skyline. (credit: Matt Goodman/KTVT/KTXA)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In just over a year from now, Dallas will see the opening of its first convention center hotel.

The Omni Dallas Hotel is more than 1,000,000 square feet and boasts 1,000 rooms.

With a 30-year note of $480 million, though, the hotel must regularly book those 1,000 rooms at a high nightly rate. The goal in 2012 is $10 million but city officials said the hotel is falling short of those projections.

“We’re slightly where we want to be at this point,” said assistant city manager AC Gonzalez.

Despite currently undershooting 2012, Gonzalez said the numbers in 2013 and 2014 are encouraging.

“We are already meeting or exceeding goals and that’s against the backdrop of the worst economic situation we have faced since the Depression,” Gonzalez said.

Still, longtime critic and District 1 Councilwoman Angela Hunt said she is worried.

“I am concerned and we have to continue to monitor it,” Hunt said.

Hunt said the good news for taxpayers is the structure of the bond package, which provides several layers of funding sources before the city has to ask property owners to foot the bill.

“That was critical,” Hunt said.

Omni Dallas hotel general manager Ed Netzhammer isn’t worried. He said the hotel’s various bells and whistles and “boutiquey” warm feel will attract convention planners away from the Midwest and southern cities they typically compete against such as Chicago, Atlanta and New Orleans.

“Dallas is now as good, or better, than everyone of them,” Netzhammer said.

The hotel will soon allow convention goers to take a brief walk across the sky-bridge connecting the convention center and the hotel to a first rate spa or infinity pool.

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