New amenities in store near Dallas Convention Center

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on January 20, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 12:00 AM

DALLAS — Members of the Dallas City Council Budget, Finance, and Audit committee will get a look (and taste) Tuesday of what's being added to the Omni Hotel and Dallas Convention Center complex.

Developers say they are in talks with restaurants, but can not yet reveal who could be signing leases. They will tell Council members to expect a sushi restaurant, a Tex-Mex establishment, and a third eatery that features pizza and wine.

Construction on the 15,000-square-foot retail and restaurant addition has just started, and it will likely take a couple of years, but it could be a fix to the number one complaint at a convention — the lack of nearby restaurants.

"At lunch time I took a walk around... there's really no place to eat," said Mike Sedlak, who traveled to Texas from Chicago for an energy conference at the Dallas Convention Center. "I think an area of this caliber needs something that will allow people to get a selection and some good pricing."

"Typically, we're at hotels where within walking distance, you have a wide selection of restaurants. That's always nice when you're away from home," he added.

Another complaint heard often is about the dimly-lit transportation hub under the convention center. A makeover also starts this spring on DART's Convention Center Station, making walkways to and from trains and buses brighter, easier, and safer.

Commuter Kordelious Jefferson welcomes the upgrade. "I think it's a good idea," she said.  She's also looking forward to the new Omni restaurant offerings.

"We sit here and wait on our trains and we can go grab a bite to eat," she said.  "Sometimes you get to the end of the line and you've been on the train so long, you get hungry!"

The retail and restaurant space is going in on the side of the Omni that faces Lamar Street. It is being built above an underground parking garage that's currently under construction as well. The $27 million being spent on the project comes from previously-funded bonds that were not used to build the hotel.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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