by Kate Mulcrone | November 01, 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 package.

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.