Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wall Street Journal Takes Notice of Dallas Convention Center Hotel

Mr. Crow and his family's investment vehicle, Crow Holdings, are the primary financial backers of an initiative seeking to prohibit city ownership of convention hotels. The initiative is responding to a plan by the Dallas City Council to build a $356 million, 1,000-room hotel on eight acres adjacent to the Dallas Convention Center. Dallas voters cast ballots on May 9.

The Crow-led antihotel effort has raised roughly $2.7 million, mostly from Crow interests. They argue the hotel will burden the city's balance sheet.

Often left unsaid is that the Crow family owns the 30-year-old, 1,600-room Hilton Anatole hotel, which hosts its share of convention-goers.

Mr. Crow, the 59-year-old scion of the late development-and-brokerage magnate Trammell Crow, declined to comment.

City officials say the hotel plan will succeed because the city can borrow at lower rates than private developers and a planned $50 million reserve account for the hotel will cover shortfalls. The city would issue revenue bonds to finance the hotel, to be managed by Omni Hotels.