The Landmark Dallas Statler Hotel is open again for guests after 17 years of vacancy.
The new Statler is a mix of hotel rooms, apartments, restaurants and an entertainment venue.
One lobby restaurant was open Tuesday with four more food and beverage businesses to follow, along with a fitness center and rooftop pool. The cavernous hotel ballroom will once again host banquets and concerts. A wedding reception is scheduled Saturday.
“We’re going to surprise people with our food and beverage operations. We’re going to surprise people with our entertainment,” said development director Michael VanHuss.
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The ribbon cutting Tuesday at the long dormant Commerce Street building in a key part of downtown was a moment some city leaders thought they might never see.
“This easily could have turned out much worse,” said Dallas City Council Member Philip Kingston. “We had many skilled developers take a look at this project and say, ‘No way.’”
The $255 million renovation was completed by Centurion American Development Group with nearly $50 million in city incentives.
“I’m grateful and blessed to be a part of this team,” Centurion American Development Group President and CEO Mehrdad Moayedi said. “It took so many people to get it across the finish line and that’s what’s important to us. We did what we were supposed to do and delivered on our promise to the City of Dallas.”
The Statler first opened in 1956 and quickly became the place to see and be seen in downtown Dallas. After big success in the 60’s and 70’s, the hotel declined and closed in 2001. In 2008, it was listed as one of the city’s most dangerous, abandoned buildings.
“You’re now looking at an area that when I moved to Dallas was the deadest urban space in Texas and is now one of the most vibrant,” said Kingston at Tuesday’s ribbon cutting.
The Dallas Morning News will soon move into the former Central Library building on Commerce Street adjoining the Statler which also faces Main Street Garden Park. Buildings on the other four sides of the park are open after past renovation or in the process of rehabilitation.
The Statler is a Curio Collection Hotel by Hilton.
VanHuss said the project faced strong requirements for preservation of historic elements in the 1956 building.
“But in all honesty, we wanted to,” he said. “It’s what made the Statler an icon back in 1956 and it’s what’s going to make the Statler an icon in 2017.”
The building has been reconfigured from 1,001 rooms it had in 1956, to 159 hotel rooms and 219 apartments. Rooms have been refitted with modern plumbing and electronics. A new parking garage is under construction.