On Tuesday, a feasibility study was presented to Denton County Commissioners for a potential multi-use exhibition center in Denton County that will aim to stimulate economic impact and increase tourism.
Bill Krueger of Conventions, Sports & Leisure International told the Commissioner’s Court that the target site is 232 acres of contiguous lots owned by the county. The location was not specified at the time of presentation, but it is adjacent to approximately 100 acres of land owned by the North Texas State Fairs Association between Denton, Crum and Sanger.
“The fact that you already have 232 acres of land collected in one adjacent location is a fantastic opportunity,” Kruger said, “provided there is sufficient demand, and this is part of what we are looking for when we conduct our research and our work. interviews with various stakeholders”.
The proposed exhibition center differs from the similar project presented by the authorized exhibition association in 2020 and 2018.
On Tuesday, North Texas Fair and Rodeo chief executive Glenn Carlton confirmed that he hopes to be part of the new proposed project.
Carlton said the land being studied for the latest proposed concept is owned by Denton County on the north side of Milam Road, which is adjacent to 111 acres of land owned by the Fair Association on the south side of Milam Road.
Denton County Judge Andy Eads was unable to get a comment after Tuesday’s meeting to clarify the difference between the two proposed fairground concepts.
Kruger’s consulting firm, CSL International, specializes in the convention, sports, entertainment, and visitor industries and has offices in Frisco, Minneapolis, and New York City. The Commissioners approved the hiring of CSL to explore the possibility of establishing the Denton County Fairgrounds in December 2021.
On Tuesday, Krueger said he recommends developing the site in three phases. In the first phase, a multi-purpose facility will be built, in the second phase, an equestrian and athletic field will be added, and in the third phase, the Colosseum will be added.
The first phase projects show a 55,500-square-foot multi-use facility that can host events, entertainment, and sports. Estimated construction cost at this stage can range from $34 million to $41 million depending on design and other factors.
The mixed-use facility will have a projected annual economic impact of $33.4 million, Krueger said.
CSL predicts 174 events will be held and opportunities created for 419 employees. The firm forecasts an estimated annual attendance of 244,900, with around 41,200 nights in hotel rooms each year.
Annual net operating income is estimated at $1.29 million and operating expenses at $1.53 million, with an annual net loss of $240,000.
Adding equestrian, livestock and agricultural development could cost approximately $75 million, and adding 12 synthetic-turf or turf tournament-style football fields would cost an additional $35 million and require 55 acres of construction.
“With additional phases of event facility projects to be built in the coming years, this mixed-use building is an excellent candidate to be converted into a more specialized exhibition facility as you have more entertainment and sports facilities to build. in the future,” Kruger said.
Denton County Commissioner 4 Diane Edmondson asked Krueger how long the event space has been in place. He said they can typically last about 30-plus years before considering refurbishment or deciding to leave the facility.
Krueger said the place is underdeveloped and leaders should develop an investment strategy to add amenities, including restaurants, hotels and retail outlets.
JOAN BETANCOURT can be reached on Twitter at @jbetancourt_15.