Monday, January 26, 2009

The Omni Hotel and the Dallas Cowboys.

telephone call
from a F&FW staffer (my son) got me looking at the details of the new Omni Hotel in the Fort Worth Business Press. The details are here, and they are impressive:

The related big news, made public a few days ago, is the Omni being made the host hotel for the AFC championship team when the SuperBowl is played at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, 2011. That's a good deal for reasons more than the Omni contract. It puts Fort Worth as a premier host for one the nation's top events and one of the most watched events in the world, it brings a ton of money into Tarrant County businesses, and it showcases downtown Fort Worth. The NFC team is going to Las Colinas, by the way. Dallas is getting . . . nada.

This is all good, but I think many local Fort Worthians have the same mixed feelings my son had when he called from inside the Omni yesterday. "Nice hotel, new obviously, good restaurants, definitely a convention hotel, but does it fit Fort Worth? It's more of a big city hotel." His comments reveal the challenge Fort Worth has to address. How do we keep our small town atmosphere and still have this kind of growth, bringing in these kind of events?

For me, I like the growth pace and I think it is worth the risk. It's not growth at any cost like Atlantic City or even worse, Orlando, it's a more managed growth.

The numbers of registrations that the Omni is getting proves that there was pent-up demand for a legitimate downtown convention hotel. The hotel is booking groups into 2015 and has booked 750 groups into 2011. That's not too shabby.

Is a 5-start hotel? No. Is it a cozy, boutique hotel? No. It's a comfortable, business hotel with a touch of Fort Worth. It's not perfect but it beats what we have had. And it will do wonders for the south side of downtown. A Bob's Steak and Chop House on the ground floor doesn't hurt either.


Lynn said...

I wondered what that was; I pass it on the way to the train, five days a week. And I am suddenly thinking what a nightmare it might be, trying to exit the park-and-ride after coming in on the train from BigD. But maybe they will add a station farther west than the T&P. And maybe Arlington will finally get public transit.

Don't get me started on that stadium, on the neighborhoods and businesses it destroyed, on the kluge which is I-30 at Collins while they expand the freeway, and the parking, to handle the additional traffic, and still at this point, no public transit. Two of my five girls do not drive, which is practically unAmerican in this part of the world.

Bread and circuses, is all I'm saying. [Deep cleansing breath.]

I need chocolate...

Rambler said...

When I was a kid, downtown Ft. Worth was notably ugly - squatty brown and drab buildings. There were some gems, of course (the Old Library!), but you had to get close in to see them. The overall effect was dreary.

I drive past the new Omni going and coming nearly every day. The architecture is odd, but no more so than the Bass towers, or the old Bank One building (improved since the tornado). In fact, Ft. Worth has a significant number of commercial buildings of all eras that are simply not-pretty. West Magnolia has a few and the SW Bell Telephone Building on the block north of the Omni is a good example. Perhaps the style could be called "nothing in particular".

BTW, do you know that a whorehouse sat on that site in the 19th century? Just across from St. Patrick's Cathedral. Gotta love it.

megha said...

I wondered what that was; I pass it on the way to the train, five days a week

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