Dallas city council members have given their approval on a plan to build a new massive $4 billion convention center in Downtown Dallas. According to Fox 4, a new report has shown that the current Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center is a little outdated and not on the same level as many other large-city convention centers.
The council convened on Wednesday to answer the question of whether to continue to improve it or just tear it down and start from scratch. City council member Omar Narvaez argued for demolishing the convention center, saying it's a "building we are literally holding together with Band-Aids, paperclips, and diapers." At the end of the day, the council voted in favor of a $2 billion plan to build a new convention center. It will be built west of Lamar Street. An additional $2.2 billion we be spent on redevelopment projects in the area.
Councilman Gay Donnell Willis shared his concern that locals might be concerned after seeing a shiny new convention center and thinking, what about the potholes and streets that need repaired first. However, the center will be paid through a 2% increase in hotel taxes and a new state agreement that allows Dallas to keep that tax money. The money comes from increasing the local hotel occupancy tax by 2%, which would then total 15% between city and state proceeds.
This is a major game-changer that would revitalize a dormant and quiet section of Downtown Dallas. The project now moves forward with officials looking at the fine details and ensuring the final plans reflect the city's goal of serving both residents and visitors.
While the council approved the plan, one member aired their concern with the current numbers. Councilmember Cara Mendelsohn said that the city should slow down until it can get a clearer picture of cost and demand. Mendelsohn wanted to see the location of the new convention center as well as a finer look at the funding plan. Construction of the new facility is expected to take six years.