Dallas City Council Awards $71M to Inspire Dallas Team for Convention Center Project Management

The award signifies "the start of the start of the construction" on a major new city attraction, says Council Member Jesse Moreno. The $1.2 billion Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Master Plan includes a massive, architecturally striking expanded center and a deck park over I-30. The city believes it could spur exciting new development all around the site as well.

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council took a step toward making the $1.2 billion Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas Master Plan a reality. The council awarded a $71 million project management services contract to Inspire Dallas for Component One of the project.

Component One includes the convention center expansion, a deck park over Interstate 30, and demolition of the existing structure. The Inspire Dallas team is led by Matthews Southwest, Kaizen Development, and Azteca Enterprises, and includes 28 subcontractors—75% of them local Dallas businesses, and more than half of them minority/women-owned businesses.

The move follows the city council’s 2022 approval of plans for an expanded 2.5-million-square-foot convention center, which was overwhelming approved by voters last November. Voters authorized a 2% increase in the city’s portion of the hotel occupancy tax to be used to fund the convention center expansion, along with improvements at Fair Park. In addition to the 2% hotel occupancy tax increase, the Master Plan will be funded with a project financing zone.

Signifies ‘the start of the start’ of construction

Image from Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas Master Plan [Image: City of Dallas]

“The award of the contract with Inspire Dallas signifies the start of the start of the construction of the new Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center by an experienced project management firm,” District 2 City Council Member Jesse Moreno said in a statement.

“Importantly, the project signals historic engagement of local businesses. When completed, this area of downtown will become a new attraction to Dallas and will generate a strong economic impact in our city,” Morena added.

The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center’s planned expansion includes 170,000 square feet of ballroom space, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 800,000 square feet of exhibit space. Construction is slated to begin in late 2024, with portions of the existing convention center remaining operational throughout the build, the city said.

The city believes the new center will spur exciting development all around it, as envisioned in the rendering at the top of this story. 

Matthews Southwest has already made its mark on the neighborhood

Inspire Dallas co-leader Matthews Southwest is very familiar with the territory around the convention center. Its projects have included work on the center-connected Omni Dallas Hotel and three attractions in The Cedars neighborhood just south of I-30 from downtown: Gilley’s, South Side on Lamar, and the Canvas Hotel. 

In partnership with the city of Dallas, Matthews Southwest also brought workforce housing to downtown with the development of The Galbraith apartment complex at 2400 Bryan Street, which was built in 2021 with 15 stories and 217 units.

As the owner’s representative, the Inspire Dallas team will work with the city’s Convention and Event Services and other city staff “to provide sound decision-making recommendations to deliver a world-class facility for the city of Dallas,” the city said in a statement.

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