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Opening Act Takes the Stage at Opryland Hotel in Grapevine

Sat April 21, 2001 - West Edition
John Pape

It’s said that everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the groundbreaking of Opryland Hotels new 1,500-room hotel and convention center in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Now under construction in Grapevine, TX, just six minutes from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Opryland Hotel Texas is slated to open in the spring of 2003 and estimated to cost approximately $400 million.

Opryland Hotel Texas will be the third hotel to fly the Opryland flag. The original is the 2,883-room Opryland Hotel Nashville and the second is the 1,400-room Opryland Hotel Florida. The Florida location is slated to open in February 2002 in Kissimmee-St. Cloud, just five minutes from the main gate of Walt Disney World. That facility was topped-out on October 25, 2000.

The June groundbreaking in Texas featured a 3000-lb. (1,360 kg) branding iron and an old-fashioned barn raising. Officials from the Opryland Hospitality Group and its parent company, Gaylord Entertainment, were joined at the ceremony by representatives of the city of Grapevine and a group of meeting professionals who already have booked meetings at the property.

“The Opryland Hotel Texas will reflect the proud history and spirit of Texas,” said David Jones, president and CEO of the Opryland Hospitality Group. “It will exemplify all of the great attributes of Texas and therefore will be more than just a hotel. It will be a true destination unto itself.”

Situated on Lake Grapevine, Opryland Hotel Texas will be surrounded by a 36-hole golf course, with a design and ambiance intended to reflect the history and heritage of the Lone Star State. The property will also feature four themed restaurants, with an additional lighthouse restaurant located on a point overlooking Lake Grapevine.

The hotel facility will feature a grand atrium enclosing four acres (1.6 ha), as well as over 380,000 sq. ft. (35,303 sq m) of pre-function, meeting and exhibit space all under one roof. Memphis-based Hnedak Bobo Group is the project’s architectural firm.

The design of Opryland Hotel Texas will incorporate the grand architecture of a Texas mansion, combined with the rustic feel of a ranch. The climate-controlled environment under the glass atrium will showcase gardens and waterscapes divided into three regions.

Each region will celebrate a unique quality of Texas as seen in the San Antonio Riverwalk, the Hill Country and in West Texas.

The 1,500 guest rooms will be richly appointed with custom amenities and furnishings. Approximately 120 rooms will be either suites.

The convention and meeting facilities will feature a 176,400 sq. ft. (16,388 sq m) exhibition hall, with all meeting and breakout rooms located one level directly above the exhibit area. Three exhibition offices will overlook the exhibition hall, and a 13-bay loading dock will provide direct loading access to the exhibit area.

The convention facility will feature two ballrooms of 49,500 and 32,200 sq. ft. (4,599 and 2,991 sq m) respectively. The larger ballroom will contain a 35 by 100 ft. (10.6 by 30.4 m) stage equipped with built-in sound and lighting. Two loading docks will be dedicated for ballroom use, offering direct loading into either a car-sized or standard freight elevator.

Sixty-one break-out rooms will be located in the meeting area and 11 executive board rooms will be contained within the Grand Atrium. An enclosed walkway will provide climate-controlled access from the hotel atrium to the convention center.

Opryland Hotel Texas will also feature both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The indoor pool will be constructed in the shape of Texas, while the outdoor pool will be reminiscent of an old fashioned “swimming hole,” surrounded by rocks which create grottos and a heated whirlpool. The indoor pool will offer 20 meters for laps and other forms of exercise and play.

A full-service spa with a salon, European message and state-of-the-art fitness facilities will be a part of the hotel’s amenities, as will the 36 holes of executive and championship golf, a full service clubhouse and pro shop.

Texas-themed entertainment will also be a part of the hotel’s ongoing recreation and entertainment offerings. Gaylord Entertainment will provide live entertainment to complement the hotel’s water and laser shows, local talent and special events.

When open, it is projected that Opryland Hotel Texas will provide 1,600 jobs with an annual payroll of $48 million. It is also estimated that the hotel and convention facility will generate approximately $300 million in hotel, sales, alcohol and property taxes in its first 15 years of operation.

“Starting in 1977, the Opryland Hotel Nashville developed the concept of having complete entertainment, conventions, meetings and exhibition facilities directly in a hotel. The property now is the largest combined hotel and convention center under one roof anywhere, and we are extremely well established in our primary markets of meetings, conventions and exhibitions,” Jones said.

The groundbreaking ceremony, staged at high noon, was highlighted by a pyrotechnic branding of the Opryland Hotel Texas logo onto a specially constructed barn facade. A crane suspended a 3000-lb. (1,360 kg) branding iron above the wood, which had been laid flat on the ground. After the branding, ceremony participants pulled ropes to “raise the barn” and show off the eight-foot-side, twenty-four-foot-long “branded” Opryland Hotel logo.

The Opryland Hotel Texas branding iron logo will be carried over into the completed hotel. The signature architectural element of all Opryland Hotels is the substantial glass-roofed atrium, and the crown of the Opryland Hotel Texas atrium will showcase a gigantic Lone Star design, clearly visible to airplane passengers arriving at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

“When we announced our development plan, the meeting planner community said the Dallas-Fort Worth area is of prime importance,” Jones explained at the groundbreaking. “We are delighted we found a home in Grapevine. More than a year-and-a-half of work with the city, our neighbors and the Corps of Engineers went into the groundbreaking. It is truly a great day.”

Contracts for more than 53,650 room nights were signed during the groundbreaking event. Companies and associations that committed to Opryland Hotel Texas conventions included the Army Aviation Association; Carpet One Inc.; Harley Davidson Motor Company; Home Interiors; Meeting Professionals International; Southwest Society of Orthodontists; Texas Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association; and the Texas Society of Association Executives.

The Opryland Hotel Texas is a part of Gaylord Entertainment, a diversified entertainment company operating in two business groups: hospitality & attractions and Music, Media & Entertainment. Gaylord Entertainment is headquartered in Nashville, TN, and among its properties are WSM Radio, the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland Hotels, the Ryman Auditorium, Acuff-Rose Music Publishing, Word Entertainment, WWTN Radio and the Wildhorse Saloon.

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