Irving’s on-again, off-again Entertainment Center in Las Colinas is on.
“The City of Irving has been informed the ARK Group has closed on its private financing, and the city is looking forward to construction resuming,” city spokeswoman Meribeth Sloan told WFAA late Monday.
Developer Noah Lazes isn’t wasting any time. He confirmed that work on the complex will resume on Wednesday, albeit with a new general contractor in charge of the $165 million “public-private” project. That contractor, Skanska, anticipates completion in June, 2017.
When construction stopped last May, Lazes blamed backers who were nervous about the earthquakes that have been rattling Irving in recent months. That news also rattled the City of Irving, which is footing the bulk of the bill.
In August, the City Council refused to approve contract changes Lazes said were necessary to secure the private funding to move forward.
City staff negotiated concessions from Lazes that won the Council’s unanimous approval in October.
But the construction site remained idle while Irving anxiously awaited Lazes' return with private financing in hand – which brings us back to this week.
When construction resumes, crews will have plenty of work to do: The centerpiece of the 18 acre “Music Factory” project is a 100,000 square foot amphitheater with seating for 8,000, which will be operated by Live Nation.
Another 250,000+ square feet of building space will be set aside for clubs, restaurants, and an Alamo Drafthouse Cineplex. The plans also provide for 100,000 square feet of office space.
The Music Factory has been 10 years in the making. Here’s how it took so long to get to this point:
- November 2007: Irving voters overwhelmingly approve building a Convention Center, and adjacent “Entertainment Venue Project” to replace revenue and hotel room nights the city anticipates losing when the Dallas Cowboys move from Irving’s Texas Stadium to a new stadium under construction in Arlington.
- July 2008: Irving partners with a group led by developer Billy Bob Barnett to construct the Entertainment Center.
- August 2009: Dallas Cowboys play their first pre-season game in Arlington.
- August 2012: Irving terminates its deal with Las Colinas Group, LP which initiates a lawsuit against the city.
- July 2013: City Staff brings on Noah Lazes as the new developer as part of a deal which leads to dismissal of the lawsuit.
- August 2014: Groundbreaking is held following by site preparation and initial construction of underground utilities.
- May 2015: Construction stops; Lazes notifies Irving that private financers are nervous about recent earthquakes and want changes to contracts.
- August 2015: The City Council refuses to adopt the requested contract changes which Lazes says jeopardizes private financing necessary to move forward.
- October 2015: Lazes offers contract concessions to the council providing for more city oversight and some sharing of tax revenues produced by the project. The council approves these unanimously and awaits Lazes return with private financing in hand.
- February 2016: Lazes announces publicly he has obtained private financing and that construction will resume on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.