Everything you wanted to know about the Urban Core, Uptown and Downtown Dallas, Texas & Dallas Ft. Worth Area Real Estate - Its growth, prosperity, setbacks and unprecedented revitalization is told here...Randall Turner of Harvard Companies, Inc 214-373-0007, 3500 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 325, Dallas, Texas 75219
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Exclusive: Ark Group developer says $165M Music Factory in Irving 'unparalleled'
Courtesy of Ark Group, Gensler
Irving's Music Factory is envisioned to have a large open plaza for large concerts and to host major events throughout the region.
"Our biggest challenge is that people don't realize that this project is real yet and we'll be moving dirt in 90 to 120 days," Noah Lazes, co-founder, president and COO of Charlotte, N.C.-based Ark Group, told the Dallas Business Journal in an exclusive interview.
"There was so much pent-up negative energy around this project with so many starts and stops ... people don't realize that it's real and happening," Lazes added. "It's a freight train that won't be stopped."
Now, the design of the nearly 500,000-square-foot entertainment-anchored development is nearly 70 percent completed, and it has received numerous approvals from Irving's City Council, which has gone from split decisions to unanimous decisions as the project goes from idea to concrete plan.
As the project stands, Lazes, 43, says before anything can be built by the Irving Convention Center, the Ark Group must remove the sponge-like top soil on the 17-acre tract, which is a common development practice in Las Colinas.
Plans for the project include about 100,000 square feet of office space and 375,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. Mark Dickenson of Cushman & Wakefield of Texas Inc. is leading a team on the leasing of the office space, which will have a boutique, entertainment-influenced design throughout the building.
"The office space is as much of an activation to this project as anything else," Lazes told me.
Bryant Siragusa of UCR is overseeing the leasing of the retail, restaurant and entertainment space, along with Michael Miller and Brandon Harris of UCR. Lazes said the team has spoken to local chef-driven concepts and restaurants with international fame in New York and Los Angeles.
The development will have a multiple outdoor stages, a large amphitheater and a large plaza that will be programmed much like Fort Worth's Sundance Square's plazas, Lazessaid.
The developer, who has developed more than 40 restaurants and nightclubs throughout the country, is spending about $4 million on exterior landscape lighting to highlight the importance of The Music Factory as a big draw.
"We want to make a statement that this project is not only unparalleled in the region, but in the country," he told me. "We wanted to make a statement. We want this to be the most amazing entertainment centers built to date."
The Ark Group plans to begin construction by the end of the summer and open The Music Factory by early 2016.
Gensler is designing the entertainment development. Balfour Beatty is the project's general contractor. The project is being financed by an undisclosed real estate investment trust, the city and Ark Group's internal equity.