Now That the Omni's Officially a Success, the City Hopes to Build Shops and Restaurants

OmniHotelAncillaryDevelopment.jpg
Downtown's city-owned Omni Hotel has been a roaring success since it opened a year-and-a-half ago, routinely filling up and helping score such convention-business coups as the annual gathering of the American Meat Institute and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Expo.

But the Omni was only one component of the city's plan to revitalize the newly rechristened Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and the southwestern corner of downtown. The convention center itself is getting a badly needed, $60-million update. A hotel-tax slush fund was created to help lure big meetings. Southside on Lamar is thriving.

Next on the list: drawing shops and restaurants to the area surrounding Omni and making walking from there to pretty much anywhere suck less. The former will be done using cash left over from the hotel's construction. The current plan is for 15,000 square feet of space and 350 spaces of underground parking, arranged as you see in the rendering above.

The latter will be accomplished by improving pedestrian linkages to the West End, Victory Park, and Southside. The biggest focus right now is on doing something about the Lamar Street as it passes under the convention center. It's long, dark, and extremely uninviting. That won't be done until October 2014, but here's what they have in mind:

LamarStreetConventionCenterRendering.jpg

After all, what pedestrian can resist a fountain?


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14 comments
Phiznak
Phiznak

Though meat institutes and RHVAC are indeed impressive, you forgot the current convention: 

ASTD

Seriously, look it up.

http://www.astd.org/

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

All it really needs is a submarine. 

RWilliams
RWilliams

Don't forget, Eric, that you're still doing journalism here. Remember the Five W's?

WHO is saying all this? ("The city" doesn't plan and can't talk.) Is this information coming from a low-level city planner floating an idea? From the City Manager? A CVB person? Attribution will help the reader judge the validity and importance of this information.

WHEN is this supposed to begin? Is dirt flying now? Is there a planning process to go through? How likely are we to see this in the next few years?

Pardon the old-school woodshedding, Eric. You're a better newswriter than this.

Americano
Americano

Dallas used to have the #1 convention organizer in the country.  He was fired for taking clients to strip bars AT THEIR REQUEST.  At that time we were in the top 5 in the US for convention business.  After about 10 years, we are just now recovering that lost business.  For a landlocked city with no natural wonders like mountains or beaches, that is interminably hot in the summer, we were doing pretty well.  Until our corrupt politicians suddenly decided to go "holier than thou".

markzero
markzero

Any estimates as to how much convention business has been diverted from other hotels? Would be great to see some comments from the other local hotel managers, with or without names attached.

notmadeomoney
notmadeomoney

All these people who talk about making Dallas more walkable and bikeable clearly don't live in Dallas.  It's fucking hot here.  Build more roads and more covered parking.

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Based on what criteria is the hotel a roaring success? To my knowledge no one has published any evidence that the hotel can meet its financial commitments in dollars and cents. The unaudited minimal financials published do not seem to show the excess cash flow required to meet the bond repayments. It is still early and that financial strength may be visible in future reports. Until then, any claims of roaring success are very premature.

If the taxpayers have to spend one shiny dime toward those bond payments because of inadequate cash flow, then the hotel is a failure.

downtownworker
downtownworker

You forgot the streetcar to Oak Cliff. It was extended to the Omni's front door.

P.S. When does the retail building break ground?

scottie1620
scottie1620

@Americano Hey, I know what we can do to attract that convention business back to Dallas - let's build a world class recreation venue between the Trinity River levees, and then let's build a toll road right through that recreation area, and just to really give them something to see let's drill some gas wells in that park! Who could resist coming to see such wonders? It's the kind of vision that could revitalize Dallas and put us on the map as a truly World Class City. And, to top it off we already have a "world class" whitewater park in the most polluted section of the Trinity River very near Southside.

It just does not get any better than that!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@markzero I wonder aloud about this often as well.  But i could see that if more conventions are being booked other hotels downtown are getting guests to book their too, I dont see every conventioner staying in the Omni

kduble
kduble

@notmadeomoney To the extent the elements are a problem, then the shaded walkways depicted above are a step in the right direction. And, Bobtex is right about convention visitors. They attend a bunch of meetings and leave. When there's a stayover, then they have some free time in the evenings, but not enough to justify renting a car.

Bobtex
Bobtex

@notmadeomoney Actually "All these people" DO live in Dallas.  We know it's hot here, sometimes brutally so, sometimes not so much.. But we also know how to walk and bike when it's not so hot. Most people here for conventions either don't have a car, or would rather not drive in Dallas.  I don't blame them.  Go back to the 20th Century, if you want more roads.  See where that gets you.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

@scottie1620 @Americano Nothing would say "World Class Recreation Venue" faster than putting a structure in between the levees on stilts that has a "Baby Doll's" on one side and a "La Bare" on the other with a connecting door between them.

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