Dallas residents to vote on hotel tax rate bump to fund a new convention center

Dallas residents will vote on November 8 on a new 2 percent hotel tax rate increase aimed to primarily fund a new convention center, which would replace the aging Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
Dallas residents will vote on November 8 on a new 2 percent hotel tax rate increase aimed to primarily fund a new convention center, which would replace the aging Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

DALLAS, Texas – Dallas voters will decide whether a new hotel tax rate hike, primarily to pay for a new convention center, will pass this November.

Dallas city council recently called for a special election on November 8 seeking public approval for the 2 percent increase. As reported by The Dallas Morning News, the increase is estimated to bring in $1.5 billion over 30 years.

In February 2022, the Dallas city council voted to build a new convention center to replace the aging Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, which would be torn down.

The article states city staff is currently designing the 2.5-million-square-foot convention center with an estimated price tag of $2 billion. Construction is expected to begin in 2024, with completion pegged in 2028.

The Morning News quoted Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson as calling the funding plan a “no-brainer.”

The new convention center is one of the main pieces of the city’s downtown redevelopment plans covering an area from the Eddie Bernice Johnson Union Station to the Dallas Farmers Market.

Tearing down the old convention center could open up 29 to 40 acres in the area, which the article states city officials envision could be turned into a new mixed-use entertainment district connecting downtown to the Cedars neighborhood.

With the new tax rate, the city is estimating it will collect $58 million in 2022, $67 million next year, and $75 million in 2024. This is up from approximately $40 million collected in 2020 and 2021.

If the tax raise is rejected by voters, the Morning News reports the city could seek to add the $2 billion cost in bonds to fund the project.

The Kay Baily Hutchison Convention Center has between $500 million and $700 million in maintenance needs. They include a new roof, escalators, and reconstruction of other parts of the building to allow for upgrades.

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