Dallas Chief Urges Construction of HQ Hotel

No ifs, ands, or buts. Phillip Jones, president/CEO of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the city must have an anchor hotel next to its convention center.

Last month, Jones told a gathering celebrating the CVB's 50th anniversary that Dallas needs a headquarters hotel if the city doesn't want to lose some of the biggest shows in the country that are already signed and ready to go but are ready to walk if space becomes inadequate.

"We cannot reach our potential as a destination without an [anchor] hotel," Jones said. "There are 80 groups that won't come here because they have outgrown the city."

Currently, the nearest hotel to the Dallas Convention Center is five blocks away-the Adolphus, with 422 guestrooms, 16 suites, and 24,000 sf of meeting and event space. And, reportedly, the convention center itself is lacking in meeting rooms to accommodate conventions that require substantial break-out sessions.

Karen Malone, vice president of meeting services for Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society, told Tradeshow Week that her group would avoid Dallas unless the city manages to secure an anchor hotel that can provide her organization with more meeting rooms and another 200,000 sf of exhibition space.

The HIMSS show will be in Orlando this year and in Chicago in 2009.

The Dallas Convention Center comprises more than 1 million sf,with 726,726 sf of contiguous exhibition space, along with a 203,000-sf column-free exhibit hall. In addition, the center has a 9,816-seat arena, a theater with a 1,750-person capacity, and 96 meeting rooms.

Currently, the only other major meetings city without a headquarters hotel is Los Angeles, but its L.A. Live project will add two HQ properties by 2010. (For more on the L.A. Live development, see Destination Insider on page 27.)

Apparently, part of the years-long delay in Dallas has been the necessity for public funding to aid in the headquarters hotel's development. Nine different sites are under consideration for the property, and the city is hoping for a hotel of at least 1,000 guest rooms and 100,000 sf of meeting space.

Originally published January 07, 2008