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IRVING -- Irving's bold-looking convention center sits right in the center of very little. But after years of delays and dissension, that's about to change.

The ARK Group, which is the development company behind the Irving Music Factory have officially asked the city of Irving for permission to host a party to kick-off construction. They're aiming for the event to be held August 30.

And don't call it a groundbreaking.

'A lot of people do the standard groundbreaking - get gold shovels and throw out a piece of dirt. We're not in the dirt-moving business, we're in the entertainment business, so we're gonna do it a little different,' said Noah Lazes, president and COO of the ARK Group.

Renderings of the $165-million, 550,000-square-foot development have been available for a while, but there is a new video posted on YouTube, a highly-produced preview of what the complex will look like, and who the tenants could be. Alamo Drafthouse is featured prominently in the video.

Lazes said the party will feature a live band, debuting a song written just for the occasion. They'll also be showing a movie on a giant portable screen.

There's a reason ARK is asking that the party be held Aug. 30. When ARK took over the project, Lazes said they would begin construction in September. He said he's trying to prove at least one thing associated with the project can actually happen early.

Irving voters approved construction of the complex in 2007, but the first developers ended up in a lawsuit with the city. Millions of dollars were spent, but nothing was built.

ARK took over in early 2014.

'It's been a long time coming. A lot of people have worked very hard to get to the finish line,' Lazes said. 'We all know Irving has 29 million square foot of office, 12,000 hotel rooms, and a brand new convention center, but where's the entertainment? Well, get ready. It's coming.'

He said the Music Factory will have 25-to-30 restaurants and entertainment venues, along with the movie theater and outdoor plaza and amphitheater.

Construction is expected to begin in September, with completion is expected in 2016.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com


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