I'd say yes, but it depends. If we're talking about someone I don't really know, then I DO need to feel attraction if I'm going to pursue dating them. If it's someone who I'm forming a friendship with, etc. then after getting to know them, that spark may develop, but I can't see DATING an unattractive stranger without getting to know 'em first.
Nope. My current boyfriend and I were best friends before we started dating. He asked me out, I declined because I wasn't ready for more just yet. It was a really slow revelation but as we continued hanging out it dawned on me that yeah, I do care for him as more than a friend. If there was any sort of 'spark' moment, it was more like when my friend asked me how I'd feel if he told me he was interested in another girl, which of course wouldn't have sat well with me at all. We've been together for almost two years now. :)