A Referendum on the Hotel?

I just saw this article from Rudy Bush that Harlan Crow is starting a petition drive to have a referendum against funding the Convention Center Hotel. As most of you know, Crow’s company is the owner of the Hilton Anatole which may lose some business when this hotel gets built.

I predict that it will be unlikely that this group gets the signatures, and if so there’s no way it passes. A few observations:

1) There is no real large-scale emotional attachment against funding the hotel. The TrinityVote was much more emotional and dealt with varying opinions of environmental issues, tollways, and other hot-button issues.

2) A lot of the blog comments I’ve read have mentioned the self-interest side of having the owner of a major hotel rally against a new hotel. However, the owners of almost every major hotel save the Anatole are for the Convention Center Hotel.

3) Right now, the city is not a major player in the convention business. Many residents want that to change, since most people realize that there is a ton of revenue that the city is not capturing.

4) Who’s going to campaign for this issue in the south? For that matter, who’s going to lead the effort to get signatures?

5) The focus right now is on the Presidential elections.

The anti-hotel people will have 60 days to get the signatures, and that’s why it’s being announced now so it can take advantage of record turnout in November.

This should be interesting.

UPDATE: There are a few other hotels involved. None appear to have roots in downtown Dallasa. The Warwick Melrose (Oak Lawn), Prism Hotels (Far North Dallas, owns the Holiday Inn on Harry Hines), and Aimbridge (owners of the Hilton Garden Inn). Aimbridge is run by an ex-Wyndham guy who appears to own or manage the future aloft Hotels in Las Colinas, Plano and Frisco. I can’t confirm if he’s behind the aloft on Young Street in Downtown Dallas. Aimbridge also owns the Hilton Garden Inn on Stemmons and a few others.

Their web presence is run by a guy that worked with Mike Huckabee’s PAC, if that means anything to you.

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