Virgin’s Richard Branson breaks ground for Dallas hotel with hat, horse, and Dirk Nowitzki handshake.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-7-42-10-amBy Karen Robinson-Jacobs and the Dallas Morning News

Sir Richard Branson, who launched a travel and entertainment network that spans oceans, began putting his stamp on North Texas on Monday with the official ground-breaking for Virgin HotelsDallas. 

And in a nod to the region’s cowboy roots, he rode in on a horse. Accompanied by a beauty queen.
Construction on the 14-story, 240-room hotel is expected to begin in earnest next year. The hotel is set to open in late 2018 as the first of the Virgin Hotels in Texas. 

Branson joined executives with the hotel brand, the developers, and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to shovel chunks of brown dirt onto asphalt that will be replaced by the hotel lobby. 

Branson, 66, recalled that during his last trip to North Texas, which included body surfing at The Rustic in Uptown, his mission was to implore the people of Dallas to support a Virgin America Airlines presence at Dallas’ Love Field. 

“I wrote a love letter to the people of Dallas,” he recalled. And Dallas accepted, offering competition to Southwest Airlines at the city-owned airport. Read More >