The City Should Do Real Well at Running a Convention Center Hotel

Today, after lunch, the Dallas city council will snooze through a lengthy briefing by the city’s economic development staff on how to fix downtown. It’s called “Revitalizing Downtown: Creating Anchors to blah, blah, blah.”

One of the high concept ideas here will be spending zillions of tax dollars to create an “anchor around the convention center,” by which they mean a government-subsidized hotel. The purpose of getting City Hall into the hotel business (they’ve already done so well in the city business) is to juice up the southwest corner of downtown, where Belo Corp. owns a lot of real estate.

One small problem: That area has always been the dead zone of downtown. Belo has used its political muscle over the years to get the city to invest tax dollars in its neighborhood through the convention center. But the more money the city spends on it, the more the Dallas Convention Center looks like the Saddam Hussein National Memorial of Saddam Hussein. Can you imagine ever actually wanting to hang out over there? Just looking at it makes me want to run.

Who ever said building up the convention center was a way to create an organic street life downtown? Given all the cool stuff starting to happen in the Trinity Design District, why don’t we start shutting down the convention center, sell off the land and build a new convention center along Industrial?

I think where the convention business is concerned, you want to have first-class facilities, excellent connectivity and a lot of titty bars. I’m going to call over there early and see if they can add that to the briefing as a possibility.

“Hey, Mr. City Man, could you add titty bars?”

Just a suggestion.

Also, notes the briefing, "chronic homelessness" downtown will come to an end in 2014. Course, they'll all be living in the Col. Belo wing of the convention center hotel. --Jim Schutze

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