FORT WORTH, Texas – The City of Fort Worth has selected Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Inc. (TVS), along with local firm Bennett Partners, to deliver design and construction services for the first phase of the Fort Worth Convention Center’s expansion.
The expansion project will take place in two phases and the facility will remain operational during both. The first phase includes the construction of new state-of-the-art food and beverage facilities, demolition of the annex, realignment of Commerce Street to create a site pad for a future convention hotel, and rebuilding of the center’s loading docks. This phase is expected to begin construction in mid-2023 and be completed in 2026.
“TVS has the reputation, experience, and vision that will make our convention center a memorable destination in its own right, and Bennett Partners is a well-respected local expert in the industry,” says Mike Crum, the city’s director of public events. “With all the momentum on the southeastern side of downtown with new residential properties, new hotels, and the Texas A&M campus expansion, we’re looking forward to welcoming larger events and more visitors than ever to Fort Worth.”
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., TVS has major new build, expansion, and renovation projects in Las Vegas, New York City, Nashville, Puerto Rico, Panama, Canada, and throughout China.
“Fort Worth is an amazing destination with a huge untapped potential for attracting the widest range of meetings and events,” says TVS principal Rob Svedberg, FAIA. “TVS is thrilled to be part of this historic project that will establish Fort Worth at the forefront of the most important industry trends, anchor the south side of Main Street, and energize the entire convention district.”
Bennett Partners’ recent developments in the city include the restoration of the Horse and Mule Barns in the Stockyards, downtown’s Frost Tower, the Kimpton Harper Hotel, the Museum of Living Art in the Fort Worth Zoo, and Sundance Square Plaza’s Westbrook and Cassidy buildings.
“Like many of us from the Fort Worth area, I grew up attending events at the arena and the convention center, so I’m especially honored a Fort Worth-based firm will have a meaningful role on the design team,” says Michael Bennett, principal/CEO of Bennett Partners. “This is a fantastic opportunity for Fort Worth to create a true convention district that will catalyze additional development in the southern part of downtown.”
The convention center expansion, which had been planned for several years to accommodate larger conventions and group meetings, was about to begin with funding from hotel occupancy taxes when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. After a pandemic-induced pause, the city council approved $52 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds in December 2021 to support the first phase of the planned expansion. The second phase of the project will include the demolition of the arena built in 1968, creating approximately 97,000 square feet of new exhibit hall space, 48,000 square feet of flexible meeting rooms, a new 50,000-square-foot ballroom (twice the size of the current ballroom), as well as renovations to the current facility, which was expanded in 2003. This phase will be funded when hospitality taxes recover to the point where they can support the issuance of debt to fund the construction.