Reporting Stephanie Lucero
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - City leaders get to officially unveil the new Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas on Friday. This project has been in the works for years, and anyone visiting the city’s convetion center is going to have a hard time missing it, even at night.
Lights covering the building change colors and make patterns, drawing extra attention to the already impressive structure. But it will take a lot more than a light show to prove that this project was worthwhile for voters.
Even before the hotel opened, it was already turning heads in downtown Dallas. “I think it looks amazing,” said Dallas visitor Kathy Crispin. “It looks really great.”
“It’s something that we noticed when we first got here,” added visitor Beth Vaccaro. “It’s been kind of cool to see it’s really close to being done.”
“I took a picture of it already,” said visitor Sherry Dean, who admitted that the Omni Hotel is an eye-catcher. That ‘wow’ factor is exactly what the new building’s Dallas-based lead designer and his team were hoping to achieve.
“I want them to want to go in and enjoy the space,” explained designer Scott Lowe, a lead designer with 5G Studio. “We want people passing by to be drawn to that.”
Supporters argue that the city-owned hotel will not just bring jobs and new businesses to Dallas, but will be an economic shot in the arm for the entire downtown area. Dustin Clark with the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “A lot of these meetings will have 5, 10, 50,000 attendees. All of our hotels benefit. All of our restaurants benefit.”
“Our entertainment district and ultimately our residents benefit,” Clark added.
According to the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, in the 24 months before the voters approved building the hotel, 18 citywide conventions came to Dallas, with an economic impact of some $488 million. In the 24 months following the hotel’s approval, that number has more than tripled – booking 55 citywide conventions with an economic impact of over $1.2 billion.
This is a place that Dallas city leaders said was long-needed – a first-class hotel that rests adjacent to the convention center – in order to compete with other big convention cities.