Construction crews will begin this week demolishing a parking garage on the 8-acre plot of land near Market and Young streets where the convention center hotel may reside, if it’s fate is ever officially decided.
Although many citizens against the hotel are anticipating the May 9 referendum vote to try to stop the hotel’s construction, the $8 million being used to clear the plot of land was already approved by city council. The remaining money will be used to begin construction on the site, scheduled for April 1.
“We would hope that the mayor and city council would respect the wishes of petition voters who want to have a vote that is two months away, and we don’t understand what the rush is, but obviously they are determined to deny voters their say in how they spend half a billion dollars of their money,” said Brooks Love, campaign manager for Citizens Against the Taxpayer Owned Hotel.
He acknowledged that the the city had approved contracts with the developer and operator for predesign, but said the $500 million in bonds have not been sold yet.
The only hope the May 9 vote has of affecting construction is if the city council cannot sell bonds by then.
“If we are successful in selling bonds before [the vote], we will sell the bonds. We will break ground, and we will move forward with the hotel,” council member Ron Natisky told a meeting of the Preston West Republican Women’s Club, according to the Dallas Observer.
Holly LaFon is a journalist who has written and worked for various area publications including D Magazine and Examiner.