Fort Worth Kicks Off 20-Year Convention Center Expansion With $95M Phase 1

The city says the multi-phase expansion is "finally underway" to upgrade facilities, increase capacity, and deliver an elevated experience for Fort Worth’s $3 billion annual visitor industry.

The Fort Worth Convention Center has kickstarted construction on the $95 million Phase 1 of its 20-year planned expansion. After years of planning and delays, the long-awaited expansion is “finally underway,” the city announced today.

The initial phase includes demolishing an outdated 1983 annex to make way for new exhibition space, increasing loading docks from 7 to 11, building modern food and beverage facilities, and straightening Commerce Street to allow for a potential adjoining convention hotel in the future.

Phase 1 is funded by a combination of federal grant and hotel occupancy tax revenue, reflecting a strategic financial approach. Despite the extensive work, the convention center will maintain its operations.

The project aims to increase the center’s competitiveness and capacity to accommodate major conventions and meetings. Mike Crum, the city’s director of public events, underscores the center’s economic impact: “Fort Worth’s visitor economy generates over $3 billion annually and employs over 30,000 people.”

In a statement, Crum said the expansion will “deliver an elevated experience to our guests and ensure that we remain competitive with other Texas cities.”

Originally set to launch in early 2020, the expansion was put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. It got back on track late last year with the Fort Worth City Council’s approval of $52 million in federal ARPA funds and $43 million from hotel occupancy tax revenue in December 2021.

The first phase is slated for completion in early 2026. Further phases and timelines have yet to be determined.

Global design leader Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates (TVS) will lead architectural plans and supervision, partnering with Fort Worth’s Bennett Partners. Veteran firm Broaddus & Associates will oversee scheduling and coordination as the overall project manager. Meanwhile, the construction manager consortium of AECOM Hunt, Byrne Construction Services, and E.J. Smith Construction will implement phase one plans, acting as Construction Manager at Risk.

Keeping business flowing

According to the city, the expansion will balance improving infrastructure while keeping the Fort Worth center open for business. The city says the architectural and design teams selected for the project have significant expertise working on active convention centers.

“Similar to what you may have experienced at airport terminals under construction, the phased approach will allow customers to conduct business while different parts of the building are worked on,” the city noted in a FAQ on construction impacts.

To follow expansion updates, bookmark the city website.

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