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Ruptured Pipe Floods Mezzanine at New Omni Fort Worth
in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas

By Bill Miller, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, TexasMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 16, 2009--A ruptured water pipe inside the new Omni Fort Worth hotel in downtown Fort Worth early Thursday sent torrents of water through at least two floors at the new facility. Firefighters were called at 1 a.m. to help clear the water, said Lt. Kent Worley, a Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman.

The rupture flooded the mezzanine level and the floor beneath it, Worley said.

Firefighters stayed at the scene for about two hours until a private contractor arrived to continue the cleanup efforts.

There were no reports of injuries.

The 614-room hotel opened in January, directly across Houston Street from the Fort Worth Convention Center.

With a garden on the roof above its grand ballroom and an outdoor swimming pool on the third floor, the Omni aims to impress meeting planners with its Texas decor and upscale features.

There are four restaurants on the first floor, a museum store with merchandise from the Kimbell Art Museum and a $1 million, three-story stone wall with staircases and escalators surrounding it.

The hotel project has a long history in Fort Worth.

Local leaders began looking at the feasibility of a convention center hotel 13 years ago.

Amid complaints that conventiongoers were eschewing Fort Worth because it didn't have a convention center hotel, the city began studying whether it needed to build a hotel adjacent to the convention center.

The council eventually decided that a city-owned and operated convention hotel was the best course of action. But the city eventually turned to private developers and tax incentives.

Irving-based Omni Hotels received several tax rebates and incentives that are capped at $89 million.

The hotel will also receive rebates on its city, state and county sales, hotel and property taxes for various lengths of time up to 18 years or until the cap is reached.

This report contains material from Star-Telegram archives.


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