Mar 3, 2023 - News

Dallas hiring project manager for new downtown convention center

A brutalist building used as a convention center

Brutalism out, profiteering in. Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Dallas is seeking a project manager to oversee the construction of its nearly $3 billion new downtown convention center.

The latest: On Thursday, the city posted its request for qualifications for a management team in one of the first major steps since voters approved adding 2% to the hotel occupancy tax to pay for bonds to build the project.

Why it matters: The new convention center is linked to several other proposed developments downtown — including a new deck park over Interstate 30 — and will drastically change the city's core.

The big picture: This will be the year for planning and hiring on the project.

Catch up fast: Voters approved a $1.5 billion ballot measure in November, most of which will go toward building a new Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. A portion will go toward revitalizing Fair Park.

  • City staff presented a master plan for the project to a council committee in early February.

By the numbers: The total cost of project management, demolition and construction of the new building and deck park is estimated to be just over $3 billion.

  • Demolition is projected to cost $26 million.
  • The cost of construction will be about $2.9 billion, higher than initially projected.
  • Project management could cost nearly $36 million.

Of note: The mayor created a "working group on downtown revitalization" in late February to act as an advisory board to city staff on the project.

  • Board members include Downtown Dallas Inc. CEO Jennifer Scripps, real estate investor Ray Washburne, and Vana Hammond, senior legal counsel for AT&T, which is headquartered downtown.

Between the lines: Washburne's Charter Holdings just bought the Founder Square building kitty-corner from the convention center, and he plans to "doll it up," per the DMN.

  • Washburne already holds a key piece of real estate in the southwest corner of downtown. He bought the former Dallas Morning News building on Young Street for $28 million in 2019.

What they're saying: Mayor Eric Johnson calls the development of the convention center the "most consequential City of Dallas-led project in decades."

  • "The decisions that are made as we redevelop this portion of Downtown Dallas in the years ahead will reverberate for generations to come," the mayor wrote in a memo to the city manager detailing the new working group.

What's next: The new convention center is expected to be completed in 2028.


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