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Convention Center Arena Study

Downtown Arena Convention Center

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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:50 AM

The City's top convention and visitor's leaders want City Council to consider what to do with the Convention Center Arena and how to "complete" the Convention Center.  They think a new study needs to be done, since the convention center was last expanded in 2003.

 

http://www.star-tele...adlines-default

 



#2 Doohickie

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 10:18 AM

Where were those studies about downtown arenas again?  It might be time to dust them off.


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#3 Austin55

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 12:16 PM

The Arena is nasty. I hope whatever is done to it will be replaced with something a tad bit different from what the rest of the center looks like. (assuming more meeting/exhibit halls are built) I know it's a big bad superblock but would the city really give up on that?

Like I said though, the brick facade the entire thing is already made up of is really pretty but awfully repetitive. Something different to break that up would be fantastic. IE

austin_convention_center.jpg

Austins Convention center.  LEED gold and solar panels and all that good stuff. Sustainable. Maybe even a few vendors at street level.

 

 

And then room could be found someplace else or that Arena. 

 



#4 cberen1

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 01:03 PM

I agree that they need to break it up a bit, but I wouldn't abandon the style, just add some more relief and some vertical elements.  I'd like to see if a photograph looking down that street from early twentieth century would give some inspiration.  I also think there's an opportunity to be more East facing in some regards.  Evenutally something useful has to happen between there and the ITC. 



#5 Jeriat

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 05:13 PM

The Arena is supposed to be torn down and replaced with more exhibit space, as I'm sure a lot of you already know. 

I found an old 9th Street/Hyde Park rendering and it shows this. You can see the new exhibit block right where the current CC arena is:

 

9th_street_images_03.jpg

 

I miss when people were talking about this project. At least part of it is done.


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#6 johnfwd

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:31 AM

The Arena is supposed to be torn down and replaced with more exhibit space, as I'm sure a lot of you already know. 

I found an old 9th Street/Hyde Park rendering and it shows this. You can see the new exhibit block right where the current CC arena is:
 
9th_street_images_03.jpg
 
I miss when people were talking about this project. At least part of it is done.


The building on the left of the rendering looks to be about 10 stories. Was this rendering done before or after the 2003 expansion?

#7 cjyoung

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:43 AM

I think they should expand with more exhibit space and build the arena in another part of downtown, so we'd have the ability to attract larger conventions. Especially since there seems to be no sentiment for attracting an NBA or NHL franchise.



#8 Doohickie

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 11:52 AM

I think they should ... build the arena in another part of downtown


“We’re a very popular destination for the big conventions that need big seating capacity as well as all the meeting and exhibit space that we have,” Slaughter said. “Whatever we do on this north end is important to study.”

 

If the arena is in a separate building, it should be a very short walk from the CC to accommodate the "big seating capacity" that is still desired.


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#9 cjyoung

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:49 PM

By Larger, I mean instead of Texas GOP, we get the National GOP convention or instead of Texas HS coaches we get national HS coaches. In other words, compete to attract some of the conventions that go to  Phoenix, Atlanta and  Dallas :eek:. I know we'd have to build more hotel space.



#10 Austin55

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 04:17 PM

Jeriat-how old are those renderings? One of the interesting things I find about them is that sculpture that used to be next to the tower is back. Were'nt there some plans on bringing it home from Seattle?



#11 Jeriat

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 06:45 PM

I'm not exactly sure how old those renderings are, but I'll just put it like this: 

 

 This August, it'll be a full year since I graduated out of college. I was there for 5 years. I was looking at these renderings when I still had a lot of time to prepare for my graduation from HIGH SCHOOL. 

So no, they're not exactly fresh renderings, but the idea for the Convention Center expansion has been around. It's just starting to come back into the conversation. 

 

As for the current arena itself and if we'll build a bigger arena than that... that's another topic that I could spend AAAALLLLLLLL day on. But I'll just stick to the convention center, here.


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#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 07:07 PM

The last study and master plan were done in the late 1990's.  The reason that I know this is that we were to see the model and the master plan for the Convention Center at the AIA meeting on March 28, 2000 in the old Modern at Sundance Square space.  That was the day of the tornado in downtown.



#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 May 2013 - 01:28 PM

Today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an opinion piece on the Convention Center Study.  Below is the link.

 

http://www.star-tele...-spaceship.html



#14 BlueMound

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:57 PM

Convention Center study will recommend changes

http://fwbusinesspress.com/fwbp/article/1/3984/Breaking-News/Convention-Center-study-will-recommend-changes.aspx



#15 RD Milhollin

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:18 PM

Update on the Convention Center Study:

 

http://www.star-tele...ges-needed.html

 

The CVB people are saying the complex needs more convention and meeting space. I would prefer to see some of the meeting rooms go into a vertical building rather than sprawled out the way the existing building is situated. The tone conveyed by the interviews quoted in article seems to be preparing city officials and taxpayers for the sticker shock of replacing the arena. 

 

I may be behind the times with this but I don't see why the round arena could not be updated and marketed better for spectator events. If and when the arena is taken out I hope the option of extending 10th street through from the old arts deco City Hall to the transportation hub and train platforms at the Intermodal Station (still hate that name) is seriously considered. This would provide an excellent streetcar route to the west from downtown when and if such a system is ever implemented here. The block or blocks resulting from the demolition could be used for additional convention and meeting space, maybe with another convention center hotel sitting on top of that. Underground parking and concourses could tie the new annex into the existing center, allowing smaller meetings to take place without even needing to turn on the air (or heat... brrr) in the bigger building. Lots of possibilities here, but I sincerely hope the facade facing the old courthouse at the other end of Main St. is somehow significant and complementary to the architecture there already. 



#16 John T Roberts

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 07:34 PM

I thought the streetcars were going to run down 9th.  Back when the late 1990's study was done, I commented that something had to be placed on the north end of the building to terminate the Main Street axis.  No matter what is done, this terminus needs to happen for two reasons.  In the early 20th Century, the original T&P Terminal was at the turn of Main at Lancaster/Front/North.  That was approximately one mile from the Courthouse.  After the Convention Center was built, the dome terminated this axis.  We can't lose this relationship.



#17 Austin55

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 10:32 PM

So if the new Will Rogers arena gets built that would there really be a need for the CC arena? It seems it's time has long passed. Would not mind seeing it go. 

I definitely agree with the idea that the CC needs to build vertical. As this image really shows off, the vast majority of the space is a single floor. Does anyone if the space above the exhibit hall was built with the capability of adding more floors? I'd guess not.

 

FTWORTH-Combined-800_600.jpg

And like R.D. said, building down would be great to. I'm sure the added height and depths would add cost, but I imagine that building on lots elsewhere downtown would take away from the tax base (I assume the CC is not taxed? not sure how that works) Replace the Arena and build 3 or 4 stories of space and offices. Would be nice to make it energy efficient to, such as Pittsburgh's CC.  

Are there still plans to tear down the Exhibit annex and straighten 10th? I thought I had heard that at one point. 

And hopefully we'll see a hotel. That corner of 9th and Commerce offers such a great location. Perfect place for a 500 footer ;)



#18 Jeriat

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:00 AM

I personally think that arena should have been torn down YEARS ago. 

Skyscrapers and other buildings from the 60's... fine, I can understand why some would want to keep them. But sports facilities have an expiration date because of the nature of the building type. Places like Texas Stadium, Reunion Arena, and the original Amon Carter Stadium just would not be good to keep around today. Only a handful of stadiums from the past are exceptional and worth keeping around for 100 years. 

 


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#19 cberen1

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 01:15 PM

Imagine what kind of an architectural gem you could put on the opposite end of Main St. from the County Courthouse.

 

You could model it after the 1876 Courthouse ( http://www.fortworth...dcourthouse.jpg ), Or the Spring Palace ( http://www.fortworth...ringpalace6.jpg ).

 

It's an opportunity for a striking, signature building in Fort Worth's center.



#20 Now in Denton

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 07:16 AM

As cjyong said. Attracting a national convention like the GOP or DNC is something to look at. I myself would of balked at such an idea for Fort Worth. But National Party conventions are changing. They are shorter in number of days. Less coverage on TV . Gone are the mega dome conventions like the 1992 GOP in Houston. Yea Obama did give his acceptance speech at a football stadium. But that was a very historic moment. But even Obama gave his acceptance speech at the same convention building the second time around.  

 

Party convention want smaller events nowadays . But let say their was another historic nominee ? They spend two days in convention here in Fort Worth. And the nominee. Gives his or hers acceptance speech at AT&T or Amon G. Carter. Hotel space ? Hotels space can and will be used all over the metroplex anyway .The  2011 Superbowl ? Some might say that was spread out. But so is the 2014 NJ & NY Superbowl.



#21 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 09:58 PM

That surprises and disappoints me that the convention center is only one story for the most part.


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#22 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 11:01 PM

Yes, most of the Convention Center is one story.  The only parts of the exhibits spaces that were designed to handle more floors was the part opened in 2002 where the Ballroom was built above the southern portion of the exhibits hall.  The original portion of the exhibits hall that is behind the additions was not designed for more floors on top.  There is one thing to note that even though the exhibits hall is one story, the distance from the floor to the bottom of the structure is quite tall.  At least two standard floors would fit inside.  As for the exhibit annex, I am not sure if they are still planning to demolish it.



#23 Thurman52

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 08:10 AM

Taller is nice but not practical for large conventions. Attendees typically take the easy route to sessions they don't climb stairs wait on elevators.

#24 RD Milhollin

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 11:52 AM

How about escalators. If intelligently placed, i.e. between where attendees would want to go to and from, they can be easier than walking hundreds of meters through flat hallways. Elevators can be designed to make the wait either more pleasant (glass walls and interesting surroundings) or shorter (greater capacity cars or more shafts or both). The higher ceilings typical of exhibition spaces makes stairways less attractive for many folks, but health conscious attendees may prefer to get a little exercise between sessions, and these folks are likely to be used to doing stairs in their weekly work-days for the same reason. What the "easy route" is may depend on how thew facility is designed; I wouldn't want to automatically dismiss vertical design for convention space without thinking about how it could be a positive aspect for the facility.



#25 JBB

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 12:26 PM

Anyone know of any high rise convention facilities?  I can't think of any I've been to that are more than 2 or 3 stories.



#26 RD Milhollin

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 01:28 PM

I can't think of any either, other than the hotels that are often incorporated into the convention complexes, but that doesn't mean they are not feasible. The biggest constraint I can think of right off is that the long-span roofs necessary for exhibit halls are not conducive to building on top of. That said, I don't think there are any constraints to building these halls on top of other smaller floor-space rooms. A significant part of the overall floor space is in meeting rooms, and these are more able to be "stacked", and this sort of arrangement would even seem to suggest some efficiencies in terms of service corridors that could be oriented vertically and allow closer access to the rooms them selves.

 

All that said, fire codes may be the biggest reason that rooms designed to hold large numbers of people are not designed to rely solely on electrically-powered emergency exits. Of course, multiple exit points would be less likely to experience simultaneous failure in the event of an emergency, and this safety factor could be improved upon with backup generators like hospitals routinely rely on.



#27 JBB

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 02:17 PM

It's also not feasible because it would be especially difficult to populate an exhibit space in a multi-story building.  The closest thing I can think of to a multi-story exhibit hall is the Georgia World Congress Center.  It straddles a rail line and much of the space is underground and accessible through underground parking structures.



#28 Austin55

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:03 PM

I think escalators are a great solution for 2 or more floor CC's. Only one I've been in is Austin's and it does this well. http://www.austincon...ions/floors.htm



#29 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 03:11 PM

The Austin Convention Center is really just a partial two story convention space.  Only a couple of exhibits halls have ballroom and meeting space on top of them.  This is similar to the additions to the Fort Worth Convention Center.  The reason there are more levels is that the vertical space that the exhibits halls take are filled in the corridor and circulation areas with mezzanines.  Our convention center did the same things in the last additions.



#30 RD Milhollin

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:03 PM

Opinion piece in the S-T regarding the convention center study.

 

http://www.star-tele...ll-require.html

 

Surely the message could be sent out to the hotel group considering building at the former Greyhound Station site that a larger hotel there would be supported by an expended convention facility. Is there any reason that private enterprises like the surrounding hotels could not build smaller-scale halls for meetings that could complement the city's facilities? What about expanding the exhibit halls eastward instead of north? Commerce Street could be lowered to pass under the hall, and docks could be constructed at the lower level to allow covered and protected access for trucks and trailers bringing supplies for large meetings. Having a new facade of the convention facing the ITC (come on. let's get a better name… 9th Street Station?) would be good for encouraging transit access to the events at the center, and a covered walkway along the north side of the center could help people coming into/out of downtown to have protected access. Retail could be built into this concourse as well allowing another source of income for the convention facility. The new extension would also allow two new fronts for future hotel sites, north and south, and again, both with easy access to the transit facilities. Perhaps one of these future hotels could house a casino. This would free up the arena to be renovated instead of taken down, preserving a downtown venue for sports events and larger concerts. If it is decided to raze it after all, those two blocks could be sold to private interests interested in building new office/mixed use high-rises on Main Street.

 

I need a better job, Maybe the city or Convention and Visitors Bureau can hire me to come up with ideas for them     ; ^ D



#31 Austin55

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 11:47 PM

Man, I just really don't like the idea of the center expanding beyond on it's current borders. It's such a super block already, but perhaps something such as an annex could work. Instead of connecting the buildings over the street, do it under them, or through limited use of sky bridges. I'd like to see Commerce straightened back out as a apart of this, and perhaps the land reclaimed from that could be used.  Somewhat how Phoenix has two separate buildings



#32 renamerusk

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:12 AM

Somewhat off topic, but trending -

 

 Del Conte, AD/TCU -

 

“Daniel-Meyer has to get done because all of a sudden we’ve eliminated an excuse,” Del Conte said, alluding to the accepted assumption that good facilities are required to recruit the best student-athletes.....Not having a home arena for a year will take a toll on recruiting....Where the Frogs’ men’s and women’s basketball teams play remains up in the air, though Del Conte said the school was leaning toward playing the 2014-15 season at the Fort Worth school district’s Wilkerson-Greines.....Talks with the city about playing at the Fort Worth Convention Center are ongoing, but there appear to be too many scheduling conflicts for that to be a viable option, he said. - Fort Worth Star Telegram

 

What is the economic impact of travelling revival shows (etal) upon the food and entertainment businesses in downtown?  Are they usually "brown bagging it?"   Why would not the city make some adjustments to get 4,000 plus pre-game and post-game fans that would dine and drink in downtown?


 


#33 Jeriat

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 11:18 PM

 

 

What is the economic impact of travelling revival shows (etal) upon the food and entertainment businesses in downtown?  Are they usually "brown bagging it?"   Why would not the city make some adjustments to get 4,000 plus pre-game and post-game fans that would dine and drink in downtown?


 

 

 

Oh I'm sure they COULD do it. 

May be that they just don't want to...? 


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#34 Austin55

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 02:15 PM

FWBP reporting more of what we've been discussing, 

 

Fort Worth needs to replace downtown arena, add premium hotels, study says

 

It's been discussed for years and we know what we need, how long till we start seeing dirt actually moving?



#35 renamerusk

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:00 PM

FWBP reporting more of what we've been discussing, 

 

Fort Worth needs to replace downtown arena, add premium hotels, study says

 

It's been discussed for years and we know what we need, how long till we start seeing dirt actually moving?

 

Great post and I especially like this quote in the FWBP:

 

“Event planners and promoters love the Fort Worth experience, but cannot be accommodated by existing facilities, due to space or quality issues,” he [Higgins] said.

 

I'd say that he is referring to the distinctive "western/cowboy" experience and flavor that tourists can not seem to get their fill of.

 

And as for the multipurpose arena, I am a long way from being convinced that it should be able to accommodate professional sports -- that would be a bridge too far to subsidize some billionaire.  I am forecasting that the part about a downtown arena will be very controversial being that we have existing arenas in the Stockyards, the WRMC and a new one planned for the WRMC.  All of a sudden, FW is potentially rich with arenas.



#36 Austin55

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:11 PM

 

 

“Event planners and promoters love the Fort Worth experience, but cannot be accommodated by existing facilities, due to space or quality issues,” he [Higgins] said.

 

I'd say that he is referring to the distinctive "western/cowboy" experience and flavor that tourists can not seem to get their fill of.

 

 

While I'm sure that's some of it, surely a part of that is down to the CC's fantastic location? Walk out onto Commerce and you are right at the Omni 100 feet away, or walk out to the north and still several hotels, a couple of nice parks, a great downtown core that is easy to get around and offers good selections on dining, all while providing a safe feel to visitors? (and not to mention, the very unique and interesting Watergardens to the immediate south) Downtown has some unique callbacks to the western heritage but is far from overwhelming, such as in the stockyards. 

 

There are few CC's in the nation which are situated in such pleasant areas. 



#37 JBB

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:36 PM

I don't think that article is saying that the replacement arena needs to be downtown. A lot of the puzzle pieces for the new WRMC arena are in place - desire, the land, a design (supposedly). All that needs to be determined is how to pay for it. I can't help but assume that public money is going to be involved, but I would like to think that some in town would be skittish after the hose job on the parking arrangement.

#38 Jeriat

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 06:33 PM

 

And as for the multipurpose arena, I am a long way from being convinced that it should be able to accommodate professional sports -- that would be a bridge too far to subsidize some billionaire.  I am forecasting that the part about a downtown arena will be very controversial being that we have existing arenas in the Stockyards, the WRMC and a new one planned for the WRMC.  All of a sudden, FW is potentially rich with arenas.

 

 

Even with the planned WRMC arena (12k), we still have undersized arenas for a city this size... 


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#39 renamerusk

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 09:51 PM

 

Even with the planned WRMC arena (12k), we still have undersized arenas for a city this size... 

 

 

 Regarding for what purpose?



#40 Jeriat

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 11:18 PM

 

 

Even with the planned WRMC arena (12k), we still have undersized arenas for a city this size... 

 

 

 Regarding for what purpose?

 

 

Entertainment and sports. And just having an arena in the WRMC complex just for rodeo purposes doesn't fly. 

I'm not saying we should build the next United Center, but 12k is a bit low, don't ya think?


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#41 renamerusk

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 07:51 AM


Entertainment and sports. And just having an arena in the WRMC complex just for rodeo purposes doesn't fly. 

I'm not saying we should build the next United Center, but 12k is a bit low, don't ya think?

 

 

A pause may be in order.

 

While it is understandable to get carried away about the prospects of entertainment and sports by the mere mentioning of an arena in the study; IMO, the study was not ever intended to address either of these prospects. 

 

The more prominent aspect of the study is the recommendation for new hotels and hotel expansions to accommodate conventioneers who come to the city from out of town. The additional hotel rooms are used for conventioneers and the entourage associated with a convention; and who will dine and shop in the CBD/city.  A new entertainment or sports venue do not call for additional hotel rooms. 

 

For Fort Worth, 12-13K is probably the right size as the ideal convention facility should be specifically tailored to offer close proximity and sight line for the conventioneers and other such purposes that require connectivity. The better prospect is that Fort Worth will be getting new vertical hotel structures, jobs and greater exposure.  But getting public support beyond the immediate needs of the conventioneers and the economic impact from new construction so as to construct a larger arena than what is needed will be nearly impossible to jump over. 

 

Fort Worth CVB is likely aiming for something as has the City of Long Beach, CA:

 

http://www.longbeach...?contentID=1208



#42 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:09 PM

12-13K is short-sighted if you ask me. A metropolis of our size deserves better.


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#43 Austin55

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:32 PM

There still is confusion to me about whether or not the new WRMC arena would replace the existing arena all together, or whether or not the NWRMCA would just be for rodeo and similar purposes, and a 2nd arena downtown for everything else (concerts, sports, gatherings, etc)

 

Is there really any set plans on this?



#44 Jeriat

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 02:24 PM

12-13K is short-sighted if you ask me. A metropolis of our size deserves better.

 

15K-17K... I don't think that's too much more than what we need. 


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#45 JBB

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 02:42 PM

 

There still is confusion to me about whether or not the new WRMC arena would replace the existing arena all together, or whether or not the NWRMCA would just be for rodeo and similar purposes, and a 2nd arena downtown for everything else (concerts, sports, gatherings, etc)
 
Is there really any set plans on this?

 
I think the plan that would make the most economical sense is to design a new WRMC arena to replace both arenas. And I feel like that's what the city and the group behind the rodeo are thinking, but there's been little to no discussion on it.

#46 johnfwd

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 05:55 AM

The FWBP article refers to "expansion of the Omni Hotel."  I guess that would mean adding on to the base of the structure, but on which side?



#47 RenaissanceMan

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 06:49 AM

The FWBP article refers to "expansion of the Omni Hotel."  I guess that would mean adding on to the base of the structure, but on which side?


http://www.fortworth...5629#entry84636

#48 johnfwd

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:29 AM

Thanks.  I just didn't see the other thread this morning.



#49 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:21 PM

It looks as if the new multi-purpose arena may be right where the old one is now located.  Channel 11 has this report on their website.

 

http://dfw.cbslocal....visitor-spaces/



#50 Austin55

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:50 PM

Very interesting! It seems to me it'd be the cities best interest to build a new arena with its primary focus on gatherings (IE concerts, speakers, etc), rather than sports. I can't help but wonder if what they really need is an auditorium? What advantages would having a 360 degree seating pattern have for most of what the current Convention Center holds or could hold? Besides Hockey, Basketball, Wresting and maybe some other sports. I guess the seating capacity of an arena would probably be larger. I do hope they build an arena though, and are perhaps able to attract some minor league teams (especially hockey, it's my favorite)

 

I also heard a plaza in there, seems a bit silly to build a plaza on the same block as the CC. Just build the building all the way to the sidewalk, they need as much room as they can get, and turn General Worth Square into a more proper plaza. Close down that block of Main, no one needs it anyway. 







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