Convention-Center Hotel Expert: These Schemes Don’t Work

The Dallas powers-that-be seem hell-bent on giving us a big, taxpayer-subsidized convention-center hotel, just as the economy is softening and everyone is tightening their belts. Meanwhile, City Council member Angela Hunt sensibly asks, why not a voter referendum on the scheme? And council member Mitchell Rasansky wants to bringing a dissenting expert on the subject to town to talk about it. That expert, Heywood Sanders of the University of Texas at San Antonio, calls this if-you-build-it mindset “hotel socialism.” In this eye-opening article, Sanders also says that in most other cities where these sorts of facilities have gone up, the cities either don’t gain convention business or they lose it.

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Comments

5 responses to “Convention-Center Hotel Expert: These Schemes Don’t Work”

  1. Arec Barrwin says:

    Leppert’s buddy Staubach should have told him that convention center hotels are awful investments — after the first couple of years, they usually end up being massive white elephants subsidized by the city and undergo several brand changes (i.e., Hilton to Marriott to Hyatt, etc.) looking for a quick fix.

    If Leppert and the City were serious about bringing convention dollars, they would remove the petty restrictions limiting the growth and location of strip clubs. As Joe Bob Briggs pointed out in his article “The New Puritanism” published in the 12/03 D Magazine — “It would be more accurate to say that Dallas–suffering its second serious recession in 15 years–is always struggling for an image, and the topless bars are one of the few things the city is known for nationwide. For most of the nineties the bars made 60 percent of their income from conventioneers, and there was a direct connection between the quality of the clubs and the decisions of convention organizers. ‘New Orleans? Bourbon Street is nasty. Las Vegas? The clubs there are sinister. Hey, what about Dallas? They’ve got the nightlife, and it’s SAFE.'”

  2. jamesn says:

    Wick must be on vacation or something. First Trey takes a shot at HL Hunt, and now Glenn brings us bad news (namely reality) on Tom “No Bad News” Leppert’s personal pyramid.

    Though, my personal favorite, are the two appraisals done assuming the hotel had already been built on the land. It’s no wonder a parking lot was suddenly worth $110/sq ft.

    That’s ok, as a voter and tax payer I’ve already been told that I’m too stupid to understand.

  3. Sam Merten says:

    The Rasansky/Hunt story as first reported Monday on Unfair Park:

    http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2008/02/no_honeymoon_suite_for_these_t.php

    Dr. Sanders and Phillip Jones of the DCVB explain both sides of the convention center hotel debate:

    http://www.dallasblog.com/200709031000250/sam-merten/convention-center-hotel-poses-huge-risk-for-dallas.html

  4. JB says:

    Tell me why the City is getting into the Hotel busines downtown when it can’t even manage the one (Uncle Lew’s) it allready has?

  5. Wylie H. says:

    Brookings Institution apparently doesn’t think much of these sorts of schemes:

    http://www.brookings.edu/metro/pubs/20050117_conventioncenters.pdf

    Forbes Magazine also ran a story talking about what money pits these deals are, profiling the sad experience of St. Louis’ convention hotel financed with public dollars:

    http://www.forbes.com/business/forbes/2005/0228/082.html