Irving is just a few months away from having its first convention center. The city says it's attracting large events and new businesses.
Many people have been wondering about the big building under construction along state Highway 114 in Las Colinas. With gleaming copper and plenty of angles, the Irving Convention Center is on its way to becoming the area's new centerpiece.
Workers are trying to put all the pieces together before year's end, so the city can host meetings and events inside the four-level facility beginning in January.
"You're going to see that immediate shiny penny look, and then it starts to morph into just these gorgeous bronzes and eventually, blues and greens," Maura Gast, the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau's executive director, said. "We've got five Fortune 100 companies headquartered here. We can't do their shareholder meetings. We don't have spaces large enough. So we've now got spaces to do that."
The city kept the environment in mind when designing the energy-efficient building. A lot of the steel comes from recycled cars. More and more companies only want to hold events in "green" buildings.
The city is building an entertainment center next to the convention center and has taken proposals for a hotel. Restaurants, shops, and a concert hall are scheduled to open in late 2012.
The entertainment district will get its own DART light rail station. The land along the rail line has been set aside to bring in more new businesses.
"It's a very exciting time for the city and it really sets into motion a whole lot of other things that are going to happen at the city," Gast said. "It gives us a place to bring strangers into our town, bring their checkbooks, their wallets, their pocketbooks into our town on weekends when our community needs it the most."
The Irving Convention Center has booked events for 15 weekends next year and several more in the next few years. The city wants to attract trade shows, sports tournaments, and even weddings.