Big changes are coming outside the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Developers plan to take away a big chunk of parking, just as both the Mavericks and Stars head toward postseason playoff games at the AAC.
Within a month, Center Operating Company, which runs the stadium parking lots, must give up 600 spaces in Lot F directly north of the AAC.
The lot has a total of around 800 spaces and 200 closest to the AAC would remain in use.
Center Operating President Brad Mayne said the landowner, Hillwood Development Company, wants the spaces for a new apartment complex and must provide the same number of spaces at some other location.
“The documentation is being submitted right now and we’re reviewing where they want us to go and set up and as soon as we have those answers, we’ll communicate specifically which lots we’ll be parking in,” Mayne said.
Fans at Tuesday night’s Dallas Mavericks game were annoyed to learn spaces they’ve paid for and grown accustom to using will be changing during the middle of the season.
“That will make parking more difficult,” said season ticket holder Jeff Roberts.
“It’s not going to be a fan pleaser,” said season ticket holder Brad Taylor. “You’re telling me during the playoffs this is going to happen?”
Former Mavericks owner Ross Perot Jr. controls Hillwood Development.
Perot and current team owner Mark Cuban have fought in court over several issues.
Taylor said timing of the parking changes is suspicious, especially since the actual construction starting date on the apartment complex is not clear.
“They don’t get along,” Taylor said.
But Mayne said the large parking lots around the AAC have always been intended for future development as part of The Victory Project.
“We’re excited that there’s new development in the area, and we’re also excited that our teams continue to win,” Mayne said.
Hillwood must still provide the same number of spaces it has always promised, though the locations may change and some replacements for the Lot F spaces may even be closer to the AAC doors, he said.
“So there’s no concern about losing the number of stalls that we’ve been able to offer to our fans from day one,” Mayne said.
Another developer is planning to start construction before the end of 2012 on a new office high-rise on another Victory parking lot at Victory Avenue and Museum Way, but that lot is not currently used for sports event parking.
That 23-story building will include 15 floors of office space above an 8-story parking structure to be completed in 2014.
Hillwood officials were unavailable for comment but provided the following statement through Austin public relations representative Bruce Hight about the apartment project on Parking Lot F.
"The City of Dallas and Hillwood have sought to develop the privately owned land around the American Airlines Center from its start. Much has taken place already, and now, as the economy has improved, demand for new development is picking up, especially for apartments.
"Hillwood committed to the city to provide land for 3,000 parking spaces for parking at arena events, with the right to relocate the parking areas from time to time to accommodate new buildings. Such relocations have taken place in the past, and with new development on the horizon, more shifts will occur -- but always there will be sufficient land for the 3,000 parking spaces.
"However, there is no timetable for the start of the next development."
As the changes occur, fans will need to learn about the new parking locations.
“We might have to ride the motorcycle,” season ticket holder Jeff Roberts said.