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Dallas-Ft. Worth
The city's crime rate: down 9%. Its taxable capital investment:$135M. Irving Mayor Herb Gears unholstered these numbers during his State of the City address at the opening of the $133M IrvingConvention Center at Las Colinas on Thursday.
Christina and Herb Gears
We snapped Herb and his wife, Christina, during dinner. In contrast to the Chilean sea bass on their plates, he says Las Colinas will have a burger-palooza in the future: In-N-Out plans a site at North MacArthur and Royal Lane, joining Smashburger and Five Guys, which both opened in the vicinity. The only thing more appealing than a fat burger? Pudgy puppies, which Irving has aplenty after the city opened a $8.5M Irving Animal Care Campus in partnership with the DFW Humane Society. The grand opening was so cool that evenKinky Friedman showed up. The new facility has boosted animaladoptions 75%, the mayor says. A new dog park opened next to the shelter, too. (That'll help get the doghouses LEED certified.)
Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas
We arrived at just the right time to find the convention center (on a40-acre tract near SSH 114 and Northwest Highway) during a picturesque dusk Thursday for The Greater Irving Las ColinasChamber of Commerce?s 30th Annual State of the City (the largest ever with more than 1,000 in attendance). City leaders hope the center will give visitors more reasons to come and strengthen the city's appeal as a high-end business destination. The 275k SF multi-purpose facility features more than 90k SF of meeting space. A50k SF column-free exhibit hall is the facility?s largest space. The project's registered for LEED certification for design and construction and managed by SMG.
Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas crowd
On the top floor of the ICC, the crowd gathered in the 11k SFpre-event space outside of the ballroom. Economic development talking heads tell us this space alone is bigger than the largest existing ballrooms in Irving. (Only three hotels even have 10k SF event spaces.) The convention center already has 35 events booked, including the spicy Zest Fest this past weekend. Hmm, where's the Tabasco sauce?
Robert Martinez
Bisnow had a front row seat thanks to Chamber chair (and Cotton Schmidt & Abbott attorney) Robert Martinez, above. Competing for attention with the salad and the mini dessert trio, he boasted about the city's status as the third largest employment center in North Texas. Robert says several new economic development projects yielded 6,000 new and retained jobs. City leaders are working to attract more retail, he says, noting that Aldi opened two grocerystores there last year, and the largest McDonald?s built in two decades opened in Heritage Crossing, sparking nearby redevelopment. Irving-based Michael?s is also opening a signature store at 635 and MacArthur.