Dallas City Council Recommends Omni for Convention Center Hotel

The Dallas City Council's economic development committee has chosen Omni Hotels over co-finalist Marriott to run a publicly owned convention center hotel adjacent to the 1 million-square-foot-plus Dallas Convention Center.

"Each of the hotels had pluses and each of the hotels had minuses. They're both great companies," Ron Natinsky, chairman of the economic development committee, told The Dallas Morning News. "At the end of the day, you have to make a decision."

Although the Dallas City Council did not release details of either Omni's or Marriott's operation proposals, it indicated that cost was a major motivator in its final decision. Originally expected to cost upwards of $500 million, the city recently announced that it would cap construction costs for the new hotel at $356 million.

Despite significant local controversy over the cost of the project, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau has said that a convention center hotel could bring approximately $800 million in direct spending and $2.6 billion in annual economic impact to downtown Dallas. If built, the proposed four-star hotel would open in 2011 with 1,000 rooms and approximately 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

"We look forward to and are committed to working with a diverse group to make this tremendous project a reality, confirming Dallas as one of the premier meeting destinations in the country," Omni President Mike Deitemeyer said in a statement in response to the Dallas City Council's support. "We are exceptionally pleased with this decision and want to thank city staff, Mayor [Tom] Leppert, the City of Dallas, the Dallas City Council and members of our local community for their generous support through this rigorous selection process."

Omni already operates convention center hotels in Atlanta, Orlando and San Diego, and is scheduled to open a fourth next year in nearby Fort Worth.