GRAPEVINE, TX-Centex Construction’s Dallas/National Division is holding the region’s brass ring, with a pending contract for the highly sought general contractor’s job for Opryland Hotel Texas, has confirmed.

Centex, Opryland Hotels and its parent company, Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment, have confirmed the contract is waiting for legal signoffs so the “i’s” can be dotted and the “t’s” crossed, a feat that is hanging on the eve of Centex Corp.’s second quarter 2001 earnings report to be released Wednesday. Executives for all parties yesterday had declined comment, saying the pending contract needs to be finalized before its details or information about a construction start would be forthcoming.

The contract decision had been made, but not announced, about a week after Gaylord Entertainment had secured $200 million in interim financing for Opryland Hotel Texas and a sister project, Opryland Hotel Florida and general corporate purposes from Merrill Lynch Mortgage Capital Inc.

The hotel trio–Nashville, Texas and Florida–is being marketed to convention groups that like to rotate meetings from state to state. The 1,400-room Opryland Hotel Florida at Kissimmee-St. Cloud, which is being topped off this week, already has nearly 600,000 room nights under contract and its grand opening isn’t until Feb. 2, 2002. according to Dave Jones, president and CEO of Gaylord’s Opryland Hospitality Group. Another 700,000 room nights have been reserved for contracts and proposals in negotiation, Jones previously had reported.Opryland Hotel Texas held its official ground-breaking ceremony June 7, launching the third hotel and conference center for Gaylord Entertainment. Current construction is seeing the completion of a bridge to the 77-acre site situated on the southern tip of Lake Grapevine, just six miles from the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport and minutes from one of the state’s largest malls, Grapevine Mills. The project is slated for a grand opening in spring 2003.

For nearly two years, Opryland Hotel Texas has been the talk of the town as contractors lined up to get a piece of the action on the 1,500-room hotel and conference center. The multi-million-dollar project will be encircled by a 36-hole executive and championship golf course and boast outdoor western-theme entertainment for the family. It will also feature a mix of retail shops and markets, four restaurants, full-service spa and four acres of glass-encased gardens and waterscapes–all indicative of the signature 2,884-room Opryland Hotel Nashville. The conference center component will consist of nearly 400,000 sf of pre-function, meeting and exhibit space. About 78,000 sf has been allotted for two ballrooms in the project designed by the Hnedak Bobo Group of Memphis.

The Dallas-based Centex Construction has among its credits a four-city block structure in Washington, DC, built for the Department of Labor, Texas Stadium, Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and one of the largest contracts ever awarded by the Veterans Administration, the $232-million Detroit VA Medical Center. It is a subsidiary of Centex Corp., which has 24 projects in its Dallas portfolio, totaling more than $700 million in contract value. Centex Corp., a Fortune 500 company, has annual revenues in excess of $5 billion. It has more than 13,000 full-time employees in some 1,000 offices and construction job sites nationwide.

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