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Voters Asked to Oppose Dallas Convention Hotel

By Shelley Kofler

Dallas, TX – Remember the fight over the Trinity Toll road that ended up at the ballot box? Well, Dallas may be getting ready for a similar battle, but this time the project is the city's convention center hotel.

Opponents of the City of Dallas' Convention Center hotel will launch a petition drive. Their goal is to collect 20,000 signatures in the next two months for a May charter amendment that would prohibit the city from owning, financing or operating a hotel.

City council members have already approved the $42 million purchase of an 8-acre site adjacent to the downtown convention center, and $4 million for the preliminary design of the 1,200 room hotel.

Supporters say the hotel is needed to draw the most lucrative conventions to Dallas. Opponents say the city moved too fast in approving the project and taxpayers will be on the hook for millions if hotel occupancy remains low.

Forces behind the petition include Dallas Real Estate Executive Vance Miller and Trammel Crow Holdings which owns a competitive hotel, the Anatole. Brooks Love, who organized the anti-Trinity Toll Road vote, is also organizing this one. A partner in opposing the toll road, council member Angela Hunt, is also a critic of the hotel.