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DALLAS-A local investor and his high-profile hotel development team yesterday got a return invitation from Mayor Laura Miller to attend Dallas City Council’s Nov. 5 meeting.

Michael H. Anderson, the Dallas partner for Cincinnati-based Chavez Properties, tells GlobeSt.com that the outcome of yesterday’s “show and tell” appears promising as he pushes the city to bring an RFP to market to speed a convention center headquarters hotel project. Anderson, via Chavez Properties, owns 8.3 acres across the street from the city’s one-million-sf convention center.

Anderson’s top-branded team came from the East Coast and West Coast to join members on the ground in Dallas for the near two-hour meeting with Miller and her staff. “We showed up ready, willing, able and present with our team,” he says, adding that he believes the team’s talent and experience exemplified Chavez’s deep commitment to the project. The Chavez team consists of Austin-based FaulknerUSA, developer; Hilton Hotels Corp. of Beverly Hills, CA operator; and Arquitectonica, Miami and RTKL of Dallas teaming on the design. UBS Financial Services of New York City has pledged financing.

Anderson says the message that he and others drove home is Dallas’ need “to make it an integral part of the community and not just a visitors’ center.” He stresses the headquarters hotel shouldn’t be a stand-alone project nor should it be perceived as being done “to add to the Renaissance (in the downtown) or add to the well-being of the convention center. It’s to rescue the convention center.”

The Chavez team is up against Woodbine Development Corp. of Dallas and Marriott International Inc. of Washington, DC in the race to attach a hotel to the center. The Chavez site–a parking lot–is across the street while Woodbine’s is atop Reunion Arena’s parking garage, positioned to the rear and southwest of the convention center. Chavez Properties is promoting a 1,000-room or more hotel with a skywalk leading to the center’s second-floor meeting rooms.

Anderson, who openly embraces the competition, says the RFP is the first step in moving the project off dead center and ending nearly 25 years of talk. It’s also time, he adds, to stop faulting Sept. 11 for the convention center’s sagging numbers. The answer, he and other downtown leaders believe, lies in attaching a hotel to an asset that has more than one million sf of exhibit space, 105 meeting rooms, a 1,770-seat theater, two ballrooms and the nearby 9,816-seat Reunion Arena.

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