Dallas Conventioneers Will Not Return - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Conventioneers Will Not Return

Disappointed by lack of convention center hotel

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    Artist's rendering of the proposed Dallas Convention Center Hotel.

    The leaders of an audiology convention underway at the Dallas Convention Center this week say they will not return in the future unless a hotel is connected to the convention center. 

    7,000 delegates are registered for the American Academy of Audiology meeting. 

    Lisa Yonkers says she made the arrangements years ago believing that a new hotel would be ready by the time they arrived. 

    "Obviously we're here and it's not, so that's disappointing,"  said Yonkers.

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    Yonkers says the group must spend extra time and money on buses to transport delegates to distant hotels which would not be necessary in other cities. 

    "You have a lot of competition that has a lot of hotels close to the center," said Yonkers. "When you factor that in, especially in today's economy, every dollar is precious."

    A May 9 voter referendum is scheduled on constructing a 1,000 room Dallas Convention Center Hotel.  

    The $500 million hotel would be owned by the City of Dallas, which has already spent millions on buying and clearing the site on Young Street at Lamar.  

    Opponents say taxpayers will be at risk if the hotel loses money and that Dallas has too many hotels now.  The owners of the Hilton Anatole hotel are bankrolling the opposition. 

    Opponents say the city should not pursue the hotel without voter approval. 

    Supporters including Mayor Tom Leppert insist Dallas will be a bigger loser in the future if it does not catch up with other cities that already have convention center hotels. 

    However, Leppert now says the biggest step of bond financing for the hotel will not move forward until after the referendum.