It'll Cost $10 Million to Fight Irving Concert Complex

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Monday, Oct 4, 2010  |  Updated 7:45 PM CDT
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The plans for a new concert and entertainment venue along Highway 114 in Las Colinas is meeting opposition from a former <a title=Irving mayor and a competing hall in Grand Prairie." />

Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com

The plans for a new concert and entertainment venue along Highway 114 in Las Colinas is meeting opposition from a former Irving mayor and a competing hall in Grand Prairie.

A state judge said Monday that opponents to a proposed Irving concert and entertainment project have to post a large bond to continue the fight.

The city-backed project would be built on 35 acres along Highway 114 in Las Colinas beside the Irving Convention Center, which is already under construction, and open in 2012.

The complex would include nine restaurants and a 5,300-seat concert theater with 55 private suites, 12 of them equipped for overnight accommodations.

State District Judge Craig Smith ruled for the city of Irving in its request that opponents be forced to post a $10 million bond to continue to fight the city’s financing plan. Final court approval of the city’s financing plan could come in about two weeks.

Other big developments under way in Las Colinas include a large lakefront shopping complex and three Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail stations.

"It's a major component in our goal to complete the largest transit-oriented development in the country in the Las Colinas urban center," Irving Mayor Herb Gears said.

Attorney and former Mayor Joe Putnam said he opposes the project chiefly because he believes the alcohol sales at the concert venue will dilute the city's prohibition on bars.

“My primary objection is protecting the citizens of Irving from having bars in their neighborhoods, although, I still believe -- along with a lot of other people -- the project is financially unfeasible and unwise for the city of Irving," he said.

Supporters say the alcohol-sales arrangement will not hurt other residential neighborhoods but is necessary to support the project.

“To be economically viable and competitive, it’s important to be able to sell alcoholic beverages to those who choose to purchase them,” said attorney Clay Jenkins, who represents a project concessionaire.

People connected with the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie also oppose the project, saying Irving’s financing plan is illegal.

The Verizon Theatre is a 6,350-seat venue similar to Irving's project, but the Grand Prairie theater does not have restaurants and hotel rooms.

“This is a competitive situation,” Gears said. “Grand Prairie and their operator are trying to kill this project in the city of Irving, and that’s not going to sit well with our community, and we’re not going to let that happen, either."

Opponents to the Irving complex did not say at the hearing if they will post the bond and continue to fight.

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