A heated debate over whether or not the city of Dallas should fund construction of a convention center headquarters hotel ended Saturday when residents voted to move forward with the publicly funded hotel.
By a razor-thin margin—51 percent to 49 percent—Dallas residents rejected a proposition that would have prevented the city from using taxpayer dollars to construct this, or any other, hotel. A group called Citizens Against the Taxpayer Owned Hotel, funded primarily by the owner of the city’s Hilton Anatole Hotel, Harlan Crow, brought the issue to the ballot. CATOH and “Vote No, Dallas,” a group formed by Mayor Tom Leppert’s office, debated the topic feverishly in the media and at public forums over the last few months.
Convention officials breathed a sigh of relief over the results. "Our 30-year wait for an attached convention center hotel is finally over," said Phillip Jones, president and chief executive officer at the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a press release. With the victory, the city will move forward with the sale of tax-exempt revenue bonds to fund construction of a four-star, 1,000-room Omni hotel, which will be connected to the Dallas Convention Center. It is scheduled for completion in 2011.
The CVB booked 400,000 room nights over the last six months contingent upon the construction of the hotel. With the vote, they are now definite, said Jones.