Official: Conference center purchase to bring public benefit

Official: Conference center purchase to bring public benefit

Omni’s conference center will have a direct connection to the Dallas Cowboys events center, totaling more than 600,000 square feet of combined event space. (via Rendering courtesy Omni Hotels and Resorts)

Owning Omni Hotel’s conference center at The Star—a mixed-use development along the Dallas North Tollway—holds several benefits for the city of Frisco, Assistant City Manager Ron Patterson said.

The city will not only be able to use the space for public events and oversee operations of the center, but it will also reap the benefit of the space being connected to the Dallas Cowboys’ multiuse events center, he said.

A walkway will connect the 43,000-square-foot hotel conference center to the 557,881-square-foot events center.

“It really is the idea of maximizing the overall usage [of both spaces]and being able to tie those uses together and making sure those uses flow well together as well,” Patterson said.

Frisco City Council approved a $17.5 million purchase agreement during its Aug. 4 meeting that allows the city to purchase Omni’s conference center when it opens in 2017.

The center will be purchased with certificate of obligation bonds, which are bonds not approved by voters.

The agreement is similar to the city’s current agreement with Embassy Suites, Patterson said. Frisco owns Embassy Suites’ convention center and uses it to hold events.

Like Embassy Suites, Omni will operate and maintain the conference center while leasing it from the city, Patterson said. Omni will also be in charge of coordinating events held at the center.

“Just like we do at the Embassy, when the city has a need to use [the conference center]for something, we [will]go directly to them and we [will]book just like we do with any other event,” he said. “But then we just have the right to use it. We’re not paying for that use.”

The biggest difference between the city’s agreement with Embassy Suites and Omni is the fact that Omni’s conference center will be attached to a larger events center, Patterson said.

“In terms of how the deal works or the agreement works not a lot [is]different,” he said. “But in terms of impact and coordination, it’s different in that it’s just more facility that will be really kind of two operations being morphed into one big operation.”

The purchase agreement also states that Omni has the option to buy back the conference center from the city once all of the bonds are paid off.

The Frisco Economic Development Corp. has agreed to fund up to $3 million to help Omni pay for qualifying infrastructure, such as roads and water drainage.

If Omni does not have enough qualifying infrastructure to receive the full $3 million from the FEDC, the Frisco Community Development Corp. will fund the remainder of that amount.

The conference center being attached to the events center will help Omni attract more events to the city, said Marla Roe, Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.

“Just the fact that it’s attached [to the events center], they’ll have a better chance of getting the bigger groups,” she said.

Corporate event organizers are already drawn to Frisco, but Omni’s conference center has the potential to draw other types of events to the city, Roe said.

Patterson said some organizers want more event space than what Frisco currently offers. Because the conference center and Cowboys’ events center combined will offer more than 600,000 square feet of space, the two could help Frisco attract those larger events that the city has missed out on in the past, he said.

“We already know that there are some that are contacting us because they know that this is about to happen,” Patterson said. “We’ve already seen positive benefits, and it’s not even built yet.”

Event Spaces in Frisco

Dr Pepper Arena:
17,000 square feet

Omni Hotel
conference center:

43,000 square feet

Embassy Suites
convention center:

90,000 square feet

Dallas Cowboys
events center:
557,881 square feet

Omni and Cowboys
centers combined:

600,881 square feet

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Lindsey Juarez Monsivais
Lindsey has been involved in newspapers in some form since high school. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2014 with a degree in Journalism. While attending UTA, she worked for The Shorthorn, the university's award-winning student newspaper. She was hired as Community Impact Newspaper's first Frisco reporter in 2014. Less than a year later, she took over as the editor of the Frisco edition. Since then, she has covered a variety of topics and issues important to the community, including the city's affordable housing shortage, the state's controversial A-F school accountability system and the city's "Bury the Lines" efforts.
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