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Fort Worth needs to replace downtown arena, add premium hotels, study says

By Scott Nishimura snishimura@bizpress.net

A study of Fort Worth’s convention and hotel market preliminarily will recommend the addition of a new “state of the art multipurpose arena” to replace the aging one at the Fort Worth Convention Center, the construction of a second major meeting hotel next to the Convention Center, and the “potential expansion” of the Omni Fort Worth.

Hunden Strategic Partners, retained by the city and Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau, will make its full recommendations to the City Council on July 15, City Manager told Mayor Betsy Price and council members in a report Friday.

The study has been widely expected to recommend the replacement of the arena and addition of more full-service hotel space downtown.

“We’re in a very healthy hotel market,” Bob Jameson, CEO of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Friday.

The study will say the Fort Worth meeting market has “absorbed” past additions of convention and hotel space.

“The hospitality package is again hamstrung by a lack of high-quality exhibit, ballroom and meeting room space, and well as large, walkable hotel room blocks,” Higgins said in his report.

“Event planners and promoters love the Fort Worth experience, but cannot be accommodated by existing facilities, due to space or quality issues,” he said.

Fort Worth business leaders have supported improvements to the Convention Center and more full-service hotel space.

Jameson said Friday the study would address potential sites.

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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