to affect local economy
Worth officials say it will be hard to compete with the
hotel and convention center in Grapevine.
a year ago, the Fort Worth Convention Center reopened
after spending $75 million on expansion and renovations.
Now Gaylord Entertainment has invested around $500 million
to create The Texan, a unique hotel and convention destination
resort in Grapevine.
Michael Woody, director of marketing for the Grapevine
Convention and Visitors Bureau, believes Gaylord Entertainment
has put this part of the United States on a different
map, one for those who need extensive meeting space and
rooms and who usually look toward Chicago or San Diego.
Because this is a very unique project, we are attracting
groups that wouldnt have considered DFW before,
Woody said. The new interest has resulted a July booking
by the Gold Wing riders, Honda motorcycle riders who meet
annually but have never considered this area before. Now
they are bringing 16,000 people to this part of the country,
Doug Harman, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention
and Visitors Bureau, realizes it will be hard to compete
with The Texan for large meeting requirements because
of the limited availability of hotel space in downtown
Fort Worths Convention Center situation is quite
different from the private corporate property development
because it is a public facility. The rates are set by
the city to charge an appropriate rental fee for the space.
The limited surrounding hotel space is independently owned
from the convention property. The Radisson, which is planning
future renovations, and the Plaza, which has no financing
for upgrading, are two of the largest and closest hotels
that book for the convention center. The largest first
class hotel downtown, The Worthington, offers 500 fully
renovated rooms, but they will not book bulk space for
the convention center.
The Gaylord basically gives free convention space
because the customers are staying at their property. That
is very difficult to compete against, Harman said.
Woody is excited about the Texan because of its uniqueness
and Gaylords concern for the surrounding community.
When Gaylord was looking for a site in Texas, they
wanted a community they could become a part of and had
a tie to history, he said.
The people in Grapevine are committed to the historic
district and that strong dedication has resulted in a
prospering main street, which has been occupied since
1901. It has a small town feel yet offers six winery tasting
rooms and a vintage railroad, Woody said.
Both Woody and Harman have positive expectations in regard
to the economic impact on Grapevine and Tarrant County.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Input/Output
system (RIMS) predicts the increase of revenue for the
Metroplex should be $2.5 billion over the next 15 years
due to the ripple effect of a property the size of The
Harman said hes happy about the opportunity Grapevine
has been given, but he doubts Fort Worth will benefit
from The Texan because it is a self-contained, full-service
Tarrant County will see a small percent of tax revenue,
but the retail profit isnt likely to find its way
to Fort Worth. Thats the way they designed it,
The luxury at The Texan is costly however, and business
opportunities are bound to recycle back to Fort Worth
especially for those paying their own travel bills, he
Educational meetings that bring together educators
are many times sensitive to price, Harman said.
The daily rates in Fort Worth will be a cost-effective
alternative to the rates and extra fees charged by a large
resort, Harman said.
On the other hand, Fort Worth may lose some of the state
association convention contracts that tend to rotate around
the state. If these organizations choose The Texan for
the Metroplex, it will be a while before they return to
the area and give Fort Worth another chance, Harman said.
The Texan is patterned after Gaylords Opryland Resort
and Convention Center in Nashville. As gigantic as The
Texan looks, dominating the Grapevine horizon, it is only
one third the size of the Nashville property. Even so,
expectations are high for businesses and enterpreneurs
in Grapevine that the economic impact caused by Gaylords
involvement in the area will expand over time.
Texas art gallery owner Rob Proehl is filling one of seven
unique gift shop locations inside The Texan. Specializing
in Texas artists, Rob and his wife Kathy have ran their
art galleries, called Artiste for about ten years. The
Grapevine location is their third store.
Proehl has previously visited the Nashville Opryland resort,
so when he saw the opportunity to occupy a retail space
in The Texan, he jumped on board.
The Gaylord people really know what they are doing,
Proehl said. It is a premiere place for meetings.
And given the theme of the hotel and what we do, its
a great fit.
We think its a tremendous hotel and convention
center. There is nothing like it in Texas, Proehl
The Texan opened on April 2 with visits by the mayor of
Grapevine, the CEO of Gaylord Entertainment Company and
around 10 thousand people who came to see it. The hotel
was sold out the entire weekend.
In the shadow of the gigantic resort, the Silver Lake
Marina glistens on the water. Owner Steve Berry is optimistic
about the economic impact the newly opened Texan will
have on his business. He has invested in extra jet skis,
is building a party boat and has pontoon boats ready for
the growth expected in rentals. There is a convenience
store and a seasonal burger stand, which reopens May 1.
Berry is looking to fill many job openings created by
the expected increase in tourism.
College students make up most of my staff. The marina
is a fun environment to work in and I hope to hire many
more students soon, Berry said. He will be employing
cashiers, reservationists, gas attendants, and safety
orientators, he said.
Having a mammoth first-class resort perched on the adjacent
lake-front property has raised the bar for beautifying
facades. Silver Lake Marina redesigned their entrance
to dress it up with landscaping and an expensive sign,
Workers agreed the expensive upgrade to the entrance is
a direct result of trying to keep appearances up as a
result of the Gaylords Texan development.
Jones/ Staff Photographer
Texan (pictured above), Grapevines new hotel
and convention center, is expected to attract business
from around the nation.