I'm still trying to understand the arguments in favor of building a hotel/convention center complex out of the shell of the Astrodome.
The decline of the natural gas trading business, brought on by Enron's bankruptcy, also hurt hotels, said Joan Johnson, president of the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston.
Downtown occupancy is at 58.3 percent this year, 3 percentage points higher than in 2004, and at 64.1 percent in the Houston area, 1 point higher than last year, she said. But those figures are still low by industry standards, she said.
At those occupancy rates, the area does not need another 1,200-room hotel that would be aimed at corporate travelers, Johnson said.
But she noted that Astrodome Redevelopment would not be duplicating downtown hotels' efforts and instead would go after conventioneers and tourists who view the hotel as a destination in itself, she said.
Don Henderson, vice president and managing director of the Hyatt Regency, acknowledged that the Hilton Americas has taken some business away from other downtown hotels since it opened two years ago.
But eventually the George R. Brown Convention Center will book more conventions because of the Hilton's proximity, and other downtown hotels will benefit from overflow that the Hilton can't handle, he said.
The same pattern would hold true for the Astrodome hotel and the conventions that it would help attract to Reliant Center, he said.
Willie Loston, director of the Sports and Convention Corp., said the Dome hotel wouldn't be able to accommodate all the attendees at every event, so other hotels would benefit.
Second, "eventually" the GRB will book more conventions? When does that happen? Evidence elsewhere suggests that the convention center business overall is in decline, due in large part to oversupply. On what basis do we think the GRB is in for an uptick?
Finally, how many conventions that will require over 1200 hotel rooms does Willie Loston anticipate? And why wouldn't they be using the already-in-existence GRB/Hilton Americas?Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 22, 2005 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack