Tarrant County Convention Center
Designed by a consortium of five Fort Worth Architects, the convention center serves as a terminus to the south end of Main Street. This facility was an urban renewal project in the late 1960's which demolished a good portion of Hell's Half Acre. Many of the old buildings in that part of Downtown were similar in age and style to those in Sundance Square. The architects were Preston M. Geren, Herman E. Cox, Morris Parker, Hueppelhueser & White, and the firm of Wilson, Patterson, Sowden, Dunlap, & Epperly. The original building was constructed with a theater, an arena, and an exhibits hall, plus miscellaneous areas of meeting rooms. In 1983, the exhibits hall was expanded to the east by routing Commerce Street around the area of the new exhibits hall.
The center's JFK Theater was demolished in July 2000 in order to make room for Phase 1 of the lastest set of expansions. This phase has 57,600 square feet of exhibit hall expansion, 18,700 square feet of meeting rooms, and a 30,000 square foot ballroom. The meeting rooms and ballroom are placed on a third level above the additional exhibit space. In addition to this, the East Exhibits hall was converted into a loading dock. Phase 1 was completed in 2002.
The second phase, completed in 2003, has additional space constructed on the west side of the exhibits hall, expanding the facility out to Houston Street. The second phase features 21,600 of additional exhibit space and 15,000 square feet of new meeting rooms on the second floor. With the Second Phase there is 204,200 s.f. of exhibit space. The total size of the center is now 716,000 square feet.
The Arena will possibly be demolished in a future third phase. In this third phase, another 167,000 square feet of exhibit space will be added, along with 25,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 40,000+ square foot Grand Ballroom on the second floor. The old East Exhibit Hall will also be demolished and Commerce will be straightened out. When these phases of expansion are complete, the original exhibits hall will be the only portion remaining from the 1968 center.
Preston M. Geren, Fort Worth
Herman E. Cox, Fort Worth
Morris Parker, Fort Worth
Hueppelhueser & White, Fort Worth
Wilson, Patterson, Sowden, Dunlap, & Epperly, For Worth