Thursday, June 04, 2009

$500 Million Residential, Retail, Sports and Entertainment Complex Announced Near the Dallas Convention Center Hotel

A sixty-acre, $500 million entertainment, sports, retail, and residential complex featuring a 10,000-seat privately financed professional baseball stadium, a water park hotel, and 2,500 luxury apartments located over a high-energy entertainment and restaurant venue stretching along a meandering river walk, will be developed on the original John Neely Bryan tract, 1,200 feet south of the Dallas Convention Center, it was announced today. Bounded by the original Trinity River, the homestead of Dallas’ founder is the property most important to downtown development located outside the Trinity River levees. The old Trinity courses on three sides of the property and will provide Dallas’ first San Antonio-style river walk in the vicinity of downtown.

The old river will connect downtown and the convention center hotel district with the ballpark, water park hotel, and mixed-used residential complex by water taxi. Downtown’s skyline will fill the sky above the outfield fence of a state-of-the-art baseball stadium hosting Dallas’ first independent professional baseball team. The stadium will provide a centerpiece for retail and entertainment development and its concourse, meeting space, and restaurants will function as an additional entertainment and meeting option for convention center activities.

The development is a collaboration between Dallas’ Seib Family Limited Partnership, which acquired 318 Cadiz, LP, owner of the tract, on April 3, 2009, and certain equity partnerships. The stadium project will be developed in partnership with Reunion Sports Group, LLC, also of Dallas, which acquired six professional baseball teams and the United League on April 7, 2009.

The Seib group is headed by Richard Seib of Oak Cliff, developer of the $200 million La Reunion TownCenter project near Kessler Park in North Oak Cliff. Seib and John Bryant, CEO of Reunion Sports Group, proposed to build a privately financed convention center hotel and entertainment complex during last year’s RFP competition but were passed over in favor of a proposed city-owned hotel.

“We learned the tremendous economic impact a convention center hotel would have on the whole area while we were developing our proposal last year,” said Seib. “We also learned that to succeed a convention hotel has to have vibrant adjacent area containing multiple entertainment venues and options, which is, in turn, made more successful by proximity to the convention hotel. That’s what we are developing.” Bryant, one of Dallas’ congressmen from 1983 to 1997, and Byron Pierce, owner of Anchor Sports, also of Dallas, founded the state’s first independent professional baseball teams in the 1990s and, along with the Seib Family, are principals in Reunion Sports Group, LLC.

“The stadium will be the finest professional baseball facility of any minor league park in Texas,” said Bryant, “whether measured by its size, beauty, character, or fan amenities.” The period architecture of the facility will frame 10,000 chair seats, 24 skyboxes, and a concourse around the entire park passing above the outfield seats and alongside the outdoor bar, the 4,000 square foot restaurant, and the picnic areas down each line, each capable of serving groups of five hundred or more. A traditional ballpark roof will cover seating and skyboxes, and on the skybox level, the 4,000 square foot conference facility will look down on the field. The park will feature a major league quality playing field, lighting structure, and clubhouse.

"While developing our convention center hotel proposal last year, we focused on integrating entertainment, sports, residential, and retail into the Convention Center District, Cedars West, and the Trinity River Project,” said Seib. “Now the city is building the hotel and we are building the adjacent project that will contribute to its success. Likewise, the convention center hotel is the catalyst for the development of the entertainment district.”

To be named Three Forks Country of Texas, the complex identifies with the origins of Dallas, originally a single trading post in the region of the three forks of the Trinity River. The Three Forks Waterpark Hotel will sit on the south side of the tract, bounded on two sides by the old river, with walking bridges north to the ballpark and south into the Trinity River Park.

The entire complex will be connected by a 450 foot pedestrian bridge within walking distance from Dart’s Cedars Station, funding for which has been approved by the city. A formal presentation will be made to the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development, Trinity River Corridor Project, during the first week in May. The privately financed stadium is expected to be completed in time for a May, 2010 opening day.