Council Report: Committee named to study design of Convention Center area

January 15,2020


See full Fort Worth Business Press article by Rick Mauch here.

While the new Dickies Arena is drawing crowds aplenty, city officials still plan to make great use of the site currently housing the Fort Worth Convention Center (FWCC). However, the main arena, a prominent part of the FWCC, which has been around since 1968, may not factor into future plans.

The completion of Dickies Arena in the Cultural District means the city can proceed with more definitive plans to demolish the FWCC arena and redevelop the site.

The city council plans to gather input from hospitality industry stakeholders, downtown business and property owners, along with the community on the ultimate design, space uses and funding considerations to develop recommendations for the site. The appointed committee will also consider Fort Worth’s tourism opportunities, customer demand for and the adequacy of the city's event facilities operated by both the private and public sectors, and ways in which increased tourism and convention business will impact and benefit the community.

"The approval of the resolution appointing the members of the Convention Center Design Review Committee kicks off the process to begin the our project to expand the convention center. This will ultimately result in the demolition of the old Fort Worth arena at the north end of the convention center and the expansion of the convention center to Ninth street," Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa said. "The committee will work to provide feedback to city staff and the design consultants as we move forward. It will also assist with the selection of the project management team, the design consultant and the ultimate construction manager at risk.

"The overall project, if everything goes as planned, will be completed in phases by 2027. The overall impact will mean Fort Worth will be able to compete for larger and more lucrative conventions."

The committee, which represents a broad spectrum of socio-economic and business/community perspectives, will begin its study and work immediately. Comprising the committee are:

*Mayor Betsy Price.

*Mayor Pro-Tem Jungus Jordan.

*District 9 Councilwoman Ann Zadeh.

*Leah King.

*Bob Jameson.

*Jarred Howard.

*Ed Bass.

*Sasha Bass.

*Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa.

*Andy Taft.

*Bobby Ahdieh.

*Richard Casarez.

*Glenn Forbes.

*Johnny Campbell.

*Joseph DeLeon.

*Randy Gideon.

*Martha Peters.

*Adrian Parr.

*Annette Landeros.

*Perry Bass.

*Jonathan Morris.

*Gloria Starling.

*Bob Benda.

*Lanny Lancarte.

Expansions recommendations include:

*Exhibit space - Increase to 280,000 from current just over 227,000.

*Ballroom space - Increase to over 88,000 from current just over 28,000.

*Meeting rooms space - Increase to 80,000 from current almost 57,000.

*Meeting room divisions - Increase to 80 from current 55.

*Board rooms - Increase from current one to three.

*Convention hotel rooms (1) - Increase from 614 to 1,000.

*Convention hotel rooms (2) - Build with 1,000 rooms.

Additional recommendations include:

*Full catering kitchen.

*500 additional underground parking spaces.

*Straightening of Commerce Street.

*New front door at north end.

*Design should open to the street and connect better to Sundance Square.

*Emphasize outdoor features, including Water Gardens, Worth Square and additional terrace spaces.

*Ensure flexibility of spaces and circulation to support multiple simultaneous events.

*Provide a range of food and beverage choices.

*Reduce costs for exhibitor set-up, utilities and decorating.

Expected results of expansion over 10 years, Chapa's report noted:

*Convention Center bookings are expected to grow from 151 to 292 per year (94% increase) with conventions specifically increasing from 61 to 83 (36% increase).

*Attendance would grow from 780,000 to 1.2 million (55% increase).

*Room nights (corporate, group and leisure) would grow from 650,000 to 1.2 million (85% increase).

The projected budget is expected to be between $400 million to $500 million, based on available funding. The projected revenue over 30 years has been revised to be around $672 million, up from $470 million in 2015.