Dallas and Fort Worth
By Kate Mulcrone
November 1, 2012
Let's face it - sometimes bigger is better. The
Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area does big like no other place
in the U. S. New builds and renovations are the name of the
game in Dallas proper, and Fort Worth is bringing in a major
international exhibition and touching up its public spaces. If
that's not enough to convince you to see what the excitement's
about, consider that both the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort
Worth and the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington are available
for group events.
It's a busy time in the Big D, with infrastructure improvements
being made in and around the city, and major meetings
properties digging in for renovations. Southwest Airlines hub,
Dallas Love Field Airport, is in the middle of major
construction that is expected to wrap up by 2015. The three
original concourses are being demolished and consolidated into
one, and the airport's main lobby, check-in, and baggage-claim
areas are being redesigned.
Not to be outdone by its kid sister, Dallas/Fort Worth
International Airport has recently unveiled charging stations
for electric cars. There's no fee for using the stations, but
they're only for customers of the airport's valet service,
which costs $25 per day. The airport says its 240-volt outlets
can charge a typical electric vehicle in three to four hours.
In February, Spirit Airlines began daily nonstop service from
Dallas to New York's LaGuardia airport and to Atlanta. Daily
nonstop service to Orlando and Boston commenced in March of
this year, and nonstop service to Denver began in May.
The city has an expanding catalog of hotel offerings as well,
with a $50-million renovation in progress at the Hyatt Regency
Dallas. All 1,120 of the hotel's guest rooms will be updated,
and work is expected to wrap up next month. The property has
160,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including 60
meeting rooms and three ballrooms.
This spring, the massive Sheraton Dallas Hotel finished
renovating its 507 South Tower guest rooms to the tune of $12
million. Last year the property added a Cisco Telepresence
Suite and spent $90 million in 2010 to touch up guest rooms and
meeting space. The property boasts a total of 1,840 rooms,
making it the largest hotel in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,
withmore than 120,000 square feet of meeting and event space,
including five ballrooms.
Earlier this year, the Sheraton Dallas Hotel by the Galleria
wrapped up a $17-million renovation that touched on its 309
guest rooms as well as its public spaces. The property has
17,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including two
ballrooms, and is located within easy walking distance of
Galleria Dallas, a retail paradise with more than 200 stores.
In February, the 389-room Dallas Marriott City Center debuted a
$20-million upgrade to its guest rooms, gym, and lobby. The
hotel has 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space,
including an 8,636-square-foot ballroom and 11 breakout rooms.
Dallas welcomed the 1,001-room Omni Dallas Hotel in November
2011. The new hotel has more than 100,000 square feet of
function space and 40 meeting rooms, the largest of which is
31,733 square feet. The Omni Dallas is connected to the Dallas
Convention Center by a skybridge, and was awarded LEED Gold
certification earlier this year. So far it is the only property
in Texas to achieve this milestone designation.
In September, Dallas-based Prism Hotels and Resorts entered
into a contract to buy the Sheraton Hotel and Spa in downtown
Fort Worth for $55 million, but the deal must be approved by a
bankruptcy judge before it is finalized.
After some upgrades earlier this year, the Fort Worth
Convention Center now offers free Wi-Fi service throughout its
public spaces, including the concourse, hallways, and all
pre-function areas. Those who need more bandwidth for an event
can pay to upgrade to a faster, more secure two-tiered internet
Construction has begun on three new towers in Fort Worth's
Sundance Square. The buildings will feature residences,
offices, and retail space, as well as a new public plaza that
will welcome events.
Fort Worth has a variety of cultural and entertainment draws as
well. The city is known for quirky museums like the National
Cowgirl Hall of Fame and the Vintage Flying Museum. Two of Fort
Worth's most well-known museums, the Fort Worth Museum of
Science and History and the Kimbell Art Museum, are worth a
stop on your next visit, as major changes are afoot.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History recently debuted
"Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition," which brings together more
than 200 objects and stories of crew and passengers. The
exhibit, which helped mark the 100th anniversary of the
disaster, is spread over 14,000 square feet of museum space,
and carries an estimated cost of $1 million. The exhibition
will run through March of next year.
Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum is in the process of moving to
a new building that will double its exhibition space. The
museum's collection includes works by Cezanne, Michelangelo,
and Picasso. The $125-million expansion will open in 2013.
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