The new Omni Hotel is about to become the latest jewel of downtown Oklahoma City’s expanding skyline. Set to open Jan. 26, the hotel will significantly expand the collection of amenities available to travelers and locals alike. The Dallas-based company is making a huge investment in Oklahoma City. It is the latest in a long and growing list of private-sector reactions to the series of MAPS programs the people of the city have implemented.
Omni General Manager Steve Keenan recently gave me an in-depth tour of the hotel, and I was impressed from start to finish. The rooms are a nice mix of price points and luxuries. The restaurants are all high quality and will be an excellent addition for visitors to Scissortail Park. Great parks have dining options, and the adjacent Omni completes that part of the puzzle.
In a post-virus world, Oklahoma City Thunder fans will have new dining choices across the street. Visitors can park in the city’s new parking garage next door or park somewhere else downtown and take the streetcar to the Omni.
What does the Omni do for Oklahoma City’s economic trajectory? We can only guess because the dynamics of the tourism industry are certainly a moving target going forward. But you need only to look at the growth in the city of Fort Worth, Texas to see what a catalyst Omni can be. After that city and Omni partnered to invest in the future with a new hotel-convention center, Fort Worth’s economy grew to new levels.
Oklahoma City’s pay-as-you-go philosophy continues to pay dividends. Opening next door to the Omni is the city’s new convention center, which roughly doubles the amount of convention space for meeting planners. I don’t know of another public convention center in the country that has opened debt free. This is especially relevant following the 2020 tourism experience that has drastically reduced hotel-motel taxes that typically pay off the debt.
It is my hope that as traveling opportunities reopen, you will once again invite your friends and family from across the nation to visit Oklahoma City. Even if your visitors choose to stay at your house or another hotel, the Omni and its restaurants and luxury spa will be available.
And I hope as you take a deep breath and look around downtown’s ever-changing southern edge, you will understand how the Convention Center-park-streetcar and Oklahoma City Boulevard complement each other. The leadership of Omni Hotels & Resorts certainly understands it. Now it’s our turn.
Cornett served 14 years as Oklahoma City’s mayor.