Denton: We Want a Hotel, Too - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Denton: We Want a Hotel, Too

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    The University of North Texas is hoping to bring a hotel and convention center to Denton.

    Dallas is not alone in its pursuit of a publicly funded hotel. One of its northern neighbors may be in the market for one, too.

    Prime real estate that is sitting vacant and useless is nestled adjacent to Interstate 35 on the west side of the University of North Texas' campus.

    The university is hoping that if Denton's best minds do their homework, the old Raddison hotel will be redeveloped into a lavish hotel and convention center.

    "The city has the need for a convention center and a first-class hotel, and so does the university," UNT spokeswoman Deborah Leliaert said.

    Denton: We Want a Hotel, Too

    [DFW] Denton: We Want a Hotel, Too
    The University of North Texas is hoping to bring a hotel and convention center to its campus.
    (Published Wednesday, April 29, 2009)

    Denton's city leaders agree that the need exists.

    "You have to compete," said Mayor Mark Burroughs.

    The city has to redirect inquiries about hosting conventions to neighboring cities -- and losing out on millions.

    "We tracked in 2008 almost $2.7 million dollars in lost revenue," said Kim Phillips, of Denton's Convention and Visitors Bureau. "For 2009, we've already tracked $1.2 million, and 2010 (is) very close to that amount."

    Cities of comparable size that have new hotel and convention centers reap the benefits of Denton's old, small venues. Places such as Frisco, Allen, Grapevine, Mesquite, Garland all flourish hosting regular large events.

    UNT wants a three-way partnership in which the university donates the land, a private developer builds and manages the facility, and Denton contributes public funds to help pay for it.

    The negotiations are ongoing, and more serious plans may be announced in upcoming months.

    The location's prime spot off of I-35 isn't its only selling point. With UNT's School of Merchandise and Hospitality Management, Denton has a built-in workforce of eager college students.

    "There's an opportunity for our students to have some very important internships and other work experiences that will benefit them in their careers after they graduate," Leliaert said.