Downtown buildings get a splash of Super Bowl color

DALLAS — Starting Friday, the stars at night (and downtown lights) will be big and bright, deep in the heart of North Texas.
Buildings in the Dallas and Fort Worth business districts will be dressing up in blue and red to honor the two Super Bowl teams.
The striking vistas will be seen by thousands of Super Bowl visitors in person, and millions watching worldwide.
As unique and alluring as the Dallas and Fort Worth skylines are, the North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee wanted something more. But what?
”We pretty much left no stone unturned,» said Host Committee spokesman Charley Wilson. «We looked at everything — ranging from putting big graphics on buildings to wrapping buildings in banners.”
Super graphics, like the ones hung from Dallas buildings for the NBA All-Star game, are great. But they’re expensive.
Then, Wilson described how a light bulb went on.
“What you can do though in a less expensive way is perhaps demonstrate your support just by lighting up your town,” he said.
So, on Friday night in Dallas several downtown buildings will go blue because it is the official host city for the NFC. Many buildings in Fort Worth will shine red because it is the AFC host city. The colors match the respective conference’s logos.
Leading the way in Fort Worth is Sundance Square. It flipped to red for an exclusive News 8 preview.
“The great thing about lighting, particularly this accent lighting we’re talking about, we can change it,» said Sundance Square president and CEO Johnny Campbell. «It’s on the building. The architecture is still going to be shown very well, and I think it sort of adds to the excitement, and a little bit of change is fun.”
In Dallas, Granite Properties’ 1717 McKinney building uses a computer program to quickly change color from ground to roof to turn its 22-story «light lantern» blue.
“We see the economic benefit that it is bringing to Dallas, and we really like that we’re able to participate in that,” said Jessica Warrior.
LED technology now lets buildings like 1717 change lighting colors and patterns quickly. There are 86,000 LED lights in the building.
Dallas’ Hotel Joule used fewer lights to bathe in blue and Lincoln Plaza wrapped 45 sidewalk oaks in lights.
In Fort Worth, the Tower tops off in red, with others to follow Friday. All shining examples of what can happen with a bright idea.

Super Bowl Hotel Rooms
and Home Rentals Going Fast

DALLAS, TX – The North Texas Hotel Association estimates about 85% of the region’s hotel rooms are booked for the Super Bowl. That could send fans scrambling for local «homes» to rent. KERA’s BJ Austin says North Texas homeowners are advised to research the profits and pitfalls before trying to cash-in on the Big Game.

Denise and Bill Langley put their furnished, two-story, brick house on a «vacation home website» weeks ago, and waited. It’s a «second home» for the couple; and within walking distance of Cowboys Stadium.

Denise: 1.7 miles you know. It’s 20 minutes walk to the Rangers stadium, so what, it’s another five-ten minutes to the Cowboys stadium.

They received a handful of casual inquiries until Sunday’s playoff games put the Packers and the Steelers in Super Bowl 45. That’s when things really picked up. Denise says early Monday morning she e-mailed rental prices to several people who had inquired. Within six minutes of hitting the «send» button, she had a «taker» who wanted to rent her «vacation» home for the big week: January 30th through February 7th.

Denise: Whenever I get an inquiry, I look at the company and then I Google the person’s name.

Denise also insists on full payment up front. The Langley’s are charging 400 dollars a night: plus other fees for a total of 52-hundred dollars for the week. That includes 500 dollars for city and state «occupancy taxes», and a 15 hundred dollar deposit that the renter will get back if the home is left in good condition.

The Langley’s don’t buy into the hype that homeowners can make «really» big bucks by renting for the game.

Denise: Bill did some research on previous Super Bowls and what they were charging per room. We looked at the rooms, obviously the Hilton’s over here. Before they got all booked up we kinda looked at the rates they were asking. You know you see the thing seven thousand dollars a night, what the ten thousand dollars a night. We’re like great, but that’s not realistic.

Linda Vanden Huevel lives northwest of Milwaukee. Her family has had Packers season tickets since 1936. She says she hit the internet about 30 seconds after the Packers won on Sunday, and was thrilled to find the home near Cowboys Stadium.

Vanden Heuvel: I thought it was priced very reasonably. It’s still a lot in terms of what you would pay on a normal day, but it’s very reasonable when compared to what the cost of a hotel would be in the area.

Linda and her husband will share the cost with another couple. It’ll be her first visit to Texas, and she says he plans a lot of sightseeing during game-week.

Jeanette Kopko with the Dallas Better Business Bureau says the dwindling supply of hotel rooms in North Texas «could» send some homeowners rushing to make a buck.

Kopko: Time is short. People think if I’m going to be able to rent my home, now’s the time. So they may be so excited about the event, the first time the Super Bowl is here, an opportunity to make money that they may not look into as carefully as they might at other times. And the scammers know this. So, they take advantage of that.

Kopko says make sure any «home rental website» you contract with has a «real» address and telephone number in case there are problems with the listing. She says homeowners in Kentucky recently got «taken» by a company that didn’t get their homes online in time for the Equestrian Olympics, or got the information wrong. The company «disappeared» with the upfront payments of dissatisfied customers.

Kopko: You might consider running a classified ad yourself, or dealing with maybe a local real estate company that also does home rentals.

Bill Head with the Metro Tex Association of Realtors adds:

Head: You want to make you’ve done a background check on the renters. But also, you want to make sure that you have the proper property coverage. Check your homeowners insurance.

The North Texas Super Bowl Host Committee does not assist with housing for fans.

For Denise Langley, renting her home for Super Bowl Week is a double bonus. She’s originally from Milwaukee, and is pleased to be renting to a fellow Green Bay Packers «cheesehead.»