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Dallas Convention Center Hotel Plans Move Forward

Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau President Phillip Jones
Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau President Phillip Jones

By BJ Austin, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-836469.mp3

Dallas, TX – Dallas City Hall is re-energizing plans for a downtown, city-owned Convention Center hotel after Saturday's election victory. KERA's BJ Austin says one of the chief hotel proponents believes the time is right to sell the bonds and get the dirt flying.

Dallas City Councilman Ron Natinsky -- celebrating the 51-49 percent victory for the hotel - says the next step will be the sale of bonds to finance construction of the thousand-room, 500 million dollar project. He predicts that will happen soon.

Natinsky: Probably take us three, four to five weeks to get all the paperwork ready. And if the market's right: the market's actually been coming back. We would have been able to sell em a couple of weeks ago.

Anne Raymond, who led the hotel opposition, believes selling bonds is a bad deal for taxpayers. She says it's not too late to change course.

Raymond: We understood they did have proposals that were public-private partnerships, and we think they ought to dust those off and try to make it happen that way.

That's not likely with the majority of council members FOR the hotel plan. Mayor Tom Leppert is calling for a new attitude now that the voters have spoken.

Leppert: Let's make sure that we work together from here on out. That we think about what's important for the city; think about what's important to the taxpayers.

Councilman Mitchell Rasansky says looking out for taxpayers is exactly what needs to happen.

Rasansky: Check everything. Make sure everything is done properly. There are just too many uncertainties during these uncertain times for us to continue working on this project.

Hotel supporter, and voter, Wade Lowe says NOW is the time to go for it.

Lowe: Even though we're in a down economy, the worst thing we can do is nothing.

Email BJ Austin