ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com
A proposed Irving Entertainment Complex now faces new challenges after its developers bankrolled losing mayoral candidate Herb Gears.
A proposed $250 million Irving Entertainment Complex faces new challenges after the developers’ losing wager on Saturday’s Irving city election.
Project critic Beth Van Duyne easily beat Irving Mayor Herb Gears who’s campaign was heavily financed by the complex developers.
Questions about project attendance projections and the developers’ use of city money were major issues in the campaign.
The city would finance $200 million of the project cost.
"I want to look at it, investigate it, make sure that any money that’s been spent, those public dollars, have been spent correctly, and see if it is a long term sustainable project," Van Duyne said.
Bill Beuck, Chairman of The Las Colinas Group, said the project should move forward as planned.
"We’re completely open. We’re most anxious to work with the city and Mayor Van Duyne and showing the project because we believe for the community it’s a tremendous asset," Beuck said.
The project would be constructed in Las Colinas along Texas 114 John Carpenter Freeway near Northwest Highway, adjacent to the new Irving Convention Center.
The centerpiece of the complex would be a 5200-seat concert hall with 12 hotel suites and a movable ceiling for multiple event configurations.
Surrounding the concert hall would be 9 other live music stages, 11 restaurants and a large parking garage.
The complex would be connected to other parking facilities in the Las Colinas Urban Center by an existing people mover tram system.
Three new Las Colinas stations on the DART Orange rail line are due to open in 2012, which would also provide transit access to the entertainment center.
Van Duyne said voters approved the concept of an entertainment center, but did not vote on this particular plan or these developers.
"We’ve got a $200 million dollar convention center we need to have something down there that will keep people in the City of Irving. We need somewhere that we can work, play and live. I intend to look at ways to actually build it and not just spend money on nothing," Van Duyne said.
Beuck said the current plan is ready for construction with drawings prepared.
"It has been both well thought out in terms of an operational stand point as well as construction cost efficiency," he said.
Plans for financing the city’s share of the project with user fees and developer fees have been challenged the Texas Attorney General and in a lawsuit supported by interests connected with the competing Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie.
"I want to move forward on a sustainable, long term project that will make the citizens proud," Van Duyne said.