The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, formerly the Dallas Convention Center, and Omni Hotel complex will get a facelift this year.
Details were released outlining the planned multi-year construction project that is soon to get underway adding 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurants to the area.
While the Dallas Convention Center already offers potential exhibitors access to more than 1 million sq. ft. of exhibit space, including a 200,000 sq. ft. column-free exhibit hall, three ballrooms, a 9,816-seat arena and 88 total meeting rooms, show runners and attendees alike have maintained two points of contention that the expansion is hoping to tackle.
The first is a lack of quality eateries within walking distance of the complex.
Project developers assured members of the Dallas City Council Budget, Finance and Audit committee they can expect a slew of new restaurants, including specialties like sushi, Tex-Mex place and casual dining with pizza and wine.
The second complaint from visitors centered on the location's transportation hub. The DART Convention Center Station is getting an upgrade that will include better lighting and a general refresh of walkways to and from the buses and trains.
When the proposal for expansion was first made last October, the intention was to make changes that would push Dallas into the top tier of tradeshow and convention destinations nationwide. The city-owned Omni Dallas Hotel, which opened in 2011, helped with this, but there is still much that needs to be done.
Despite that, as recently as this week, the city council budget committee discussed the possibility of selling the Omni Hotel.
"We're not saying the hotel is bad or we want it to go away," committee member Jennifer Gates said at the Jan. 21 meeting. "We just don't want to miss the opportunity when it does arise, if we don't want to be in the business of owning it."