After two years of construction, the 1,001-room Omni Dallas Hotel officially opened on November 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the stars of the television show, “Dallas,” Larry Hagman and Linda Gray, doing the honors.

The $550 million city-owned hotel, connected to the Dallas Convention Center by skybridge, serves as the headquarters hotel for the convention center. It features more than 110,000 square feet of meeting space and 39 meeting rooms, including ballrooms of 32,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet. It can accommodate groups of more than 3,300 attendees.

The hotel features a contemporary glass exterior and is adorned with more than 7,000 pieces of art created by 150 local artists. It has four restaurants—including Bob’s Steak and Chop House—and a spa.

“As we open the doors to the Omni Dallas Hotel today, we can confidently say Dallas is again competitive,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. “We have reinvigorated our world-class reputation in the large meetings and conventions industry.” The hotel has already contracted nearly 300,000 room nights of business and has been instrumental in helping Dallas secure future citywide meetings and conventions. In the 24 months prior to the May 2009 announcement of the building of the hotel, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau booked 18 citywide meetings. Since then, the group has booked 55.

“This is about more than just a hotel—it is a symbol of our city’s dedication to our future,” said Ed Netzhammer, managing director of the Omni Dallas Hotel.

The project almost didn’t get off the ground as it was embroiled in months of controversy and debate, as a sizable faction of residents were opposed to funding the hotel with taxpayer dollars. A May 2009 referendum to scrap the project was narrowly defeated, 51 percent to 49 percent.