Forty-eight days are all that separate the Irving Music Factory from opening night with Dave Chappelle.
Each minute is precious as the construction site is still a bundle of dirt and dust crawling with upwards of 1,000 workers operating around the clock to make the August 31st deadline.
“There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of heavy lifting to do,” said Developer Noah Lazes, with the Ark Group. “The good news is the infrastructure is in place and it is a matter of tuning it up and getting it ready for the opening and we absolutely plan to hit that date.”
They do not have much choice. Chappelle has already sold-out two shows for Labor Day weekend and several big-name performers like Brad Paisley and the Goo Goo Dolls have already been booked for the first month to open the $200 million project with a bang. The venue will be adjoined to an Alamo Drafthouse movie theater, 25 restaurants and bars, video screens and other attractions, but the pavilion and amphitheater are the priority. On Thursday, Lazes said there were 22 mechanical lifts in the amphitheater alone.
“We are adding people and adding hours to get this project done and open," Lazes said.
The theater and restaurants will open in phases through the end of the year but the amphitheater will be the first attraction open for business The indoor pavilion will seat 4,000 people and be air-conditioned but giant mechanical windows can be opened up to outdoor lawn seats, transforming the pavilion into an 8,000 capacity venue.
“It is a smaller Starplex is what it is,” said music booker Dan Castaneda.
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has many other music venues available for concerts and performances but Castaneda said Live Nation Entertainment likely will book shows based on which venue offers the best fit. The Irving Music Factory’s capacity of 8,000 is smaller than the Starplex Pavilion (capacity 20,000) and American Airlines Center (approximately 20,000 depending on configuration) but the new venue does have features which could make it attractive for big-name performers.
“I think they are getting sold on the idea of ‘hey, we have this new place and it is going to be packed.’”
The Irving Music Factory will also be home to a 100,000 square-foot office building. Although the concerts will begin Labor Day weekend, a grand opening celebration will not take place until December when the entire project is expected to be finished.