Music Factory – Irving/Las Colinas, TX
Irving’s nine-year effort to develop an entertainment center is finally showing signs of life, with two cranes towering over the $173 million project site along State Highway 114 near Northwest Highway.
Above-ground construction has begun on the site of the 250,000-square-foot Irving Music Factory at Las Colinas.
“You’re going to see it grow daily now,” said Noah Lazes, president of Ark Group development.
The Music Factory will have an indoor-outdoor music venue, a comedy club, an outdoor community plaza and about 20 restaurants. The plaza will host events such as farmers markets, festivals and fashion shows.
“People will truly be able to work, live and play in Las Colinas,” said Lazes, who founded Ark with his father, Rick Lazes. “How cool is it to have an urban experience in a suburban area?”
Rainy weather and seesaw politics slowed the start of the project, but the center is on track for a late summer 2017 opening, Noah Lazes said.
The project has faced near-collapse many times since 2007, when residents first voted to build an entertainment center in Las Colinas. Irving’s first development partners ended up suing the city after their designs for a massive complex became unaffordable. Ark Group paid an undisclosed sum to settle the lawsuit.
In 2013, the Lazeses persuaded a majority of the City Council to spend tens of millions of dollars on a scaled-down version of the project. That second partnership nearly collapsed, too, before Ark won over lingering opponents at City Hall last September by agreeing to share a portion of the Music Factory’s profits with the city.
“I believe a vast majority want to see this project happen, and the public vote, that helped,” Noah Lazes said. “It’s so much fun to see a city council and say hello and not talk to them about the problems.”
Community activist Anthony Bond has held rallies in favor of the entertainment center over the past years. He says he looks forward to the opening but is disappointed it has taken so long.
“It’s been unfortunate. It’s been frustrating. It’s been bewildering,” Bond said. “It made me sad for our city that we have had this political gridlock around such a wonderful project that is in the interest of the city.”
Bond says that he’s happy about the musical aspect and that the center will reignite nightlife in the city and bring people together.
The Music Factory will include a LiveNation concert venue that will seat 7,000, and a dining movie theater by Alamo Drafthouse.
Leases are full for the 100,000-square-foot office tower, while leases for beverage and food spaces are at 90 percent, Noah said.
Former City Council member and developer consultant Sharon Barbosa-Crain said three hotels are in the process of trying to build near the site.
“This is a great asset to the city, and it’s a revitalizing tool to all of those who work and live in that area,” Barbosa-Crain said. “It attracts people from the rest of Irving to come out and attracts those outside the city to take advantage of these activities.”
Mike Morrison, deputy city manager, said Irving wanted to attract new events to the neighboring Irving Convention Center with the central location and the addition of hotels and the entertainment center.
“This type of facility with the convention center and office buildings enhances our opportunities to recruit businesses into the community,” Morrison said. “It’s been a long-standing goal of the development of that whole district to have a mixed use of the convention center, hotel and first-class entertainment venue.”
Staff writer Avi Selk contributed to this report.
Original content from “Construction begins at $173 million Las Colinas entertainment center” http://www.dallasnews.com/news/local-news/20160624…
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