The $200-million Toyota Music Factory features two concert venues and 25 restaurants. (Courtesy Toyota Music Factory)
The Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas, has been opening in phases since September, and it's now ramping up for its grand opening April 13, featuring Brad Paisley.
Situated between Dallas and Fort Worth, the 250,000-square-foot mixed-use entertainment center will boast 25 restaurants, a 100,000-square-foot glass office tower and a 50,000-square-foot common area with a full production stage.
Paisley will play at one of two concert venues on site called The Pavilion, an indoor/outdoor venue managed by Live Nation. It opened in September with a show featuring ZZ Top.
The Pavilion's indoor configuration can house 2,500 guests for a theater setting and go up to 4,000 seats for arena shows. It can accommodate 8,000 guests as an indoor/outdoor open-air pavilion.
The grand opening will take place in the common area called the Texas Lottery Plaza, which is next to The Pavilion. It also has a full production stage for live entertainment.
Included in the grand opening is the unveiling of a new eight-screen Alamo Drafthouse movie theater and several restaurants that have not yet opened. Ten restaurants have opened since last fall, 13 more will open by April 13, and two will open in May.
“The critical mass you get there with 20-plus restaurants and a Live Nation venue, we're very excited,” said Bill DiGaetano, owner and chief operating officer of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
The music factory was built on 16 acres in an upscale business district called Las Colinas that's surrounded by a suburban area.
“It's nice to have a place that we can go and spend the entire evening and do 10 different things,” said Allen Meagher, mayor pro tem of Irving. “I'm a lifetime resident of Irving and to go to a nice restaurant is great. We didn't really have that choice or selection before. Our residents can now stay in Irving rather than driving to Dallas or Grapevine for food and entertainment.”
The entire project cost $200 million and was developed by the North Carolina-based Ark Group.
“The grand opening is a showcase of everything being opened and the synergy of everything operating as a whole,” said Noah Lazes, co-founder, president and chief operating officer of the Ark Group
The Toyota Music Factory was financed through a public-private partnership between the city of Irving and the Ark Group, which includes a lodging tax that was passed by 67 percent of the voters. The Ark Group secured support from private investors, and the city used a tax increment financing district to fund the project.
The city owns the land and all the buildings. The Ark Group paid for construction and is also the landlord for all the tenants.
The development was called the Irving Music Festival before Toyota snatched the naming rights late last year.
“It's a huge honor to have Toyota,” Lazes said. “The naming-rights deal was something that was planned. It's not dumb luck that we landed Toyota. This is not by accident. This is from proper planning to find sponsors.”
Irving has been waiting for this development to get off the ground for the last decade, going through developers before it found the Ark Group. The company developed the multivenue entertainment complex called AvidXchange Music Factory in Charlotte, N.C., one of 13 entertainment developments across the nation produced by Ark.
“The most important thing in my book is the weekday business,” Lazes said.
His goal is to attract business people for lunch and happy hour, in the hope that they'll stick around for the live entertainment that will take place seven days a week, whether it be at The Pavilion with big-name artists like Paisley or at the plaza with local artists.
It's all about location, Lazes noted, as Irving has seen a lot of development in the last 10 years.
In 2011, the Irving Convention Center opened less than half a mile from the Toyota Music Factory site, bringing a total of 275,000 square feet of meeting and convention space to a highly populated business where big companies like Kimberly-Clark and Exxon Mobil have their headquarters. SMG manages the convention center.
A 350-room Westin hotel is being built next to the convention center and is slated to open in early 2019.