The Dallas Morning News

Convention center, hotel underway

City seeking to get in on Collin County’s draw as meeting destinatio­n

- By STEVE BROWN Real Estate Editor Twitter:@SteveBrown­DMN

After more than two years of planning, constructi­on is starting on a $91 million convention center and hotel complex in Allen.

The 7-acre project on U.S. Highway 75 is intended to give Allen a way to snag a slice of the growing event and meeting business in Collin County.

“We always knew there was going to be one of these built along U.S. 75,” said Dan Bowman, executive director of the Allen Economic Developmen­t Corp. “We wanted to ensure that it would be in Allen.”

The convention project, which starts constructi­on in two weeks, is at the northwest corner of Bethany Drive and U.S. 75. It’s across the street from the Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm retail, restaurant and apartment developmen­t.

Dallas-based Altera Developmen­t is building the project, which will include a 300-room Marriott hotel, 90,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, and a 1,000-car parking garage.

“We had the expectatio­n we would break ground a year ago, but we had the wrong design,” Bowman said. “Now it’s six stories and we’ve made it larger.”

Altera Developmen­t principal Mike Kennedy said the hotel will be operated as a Delta by Marriott, one of the company’s newest full-service brands.

“Marriott wanted to do a hotel here,” Kennedy said. “The marketed has matured around us in the last year.”

The hotel will include an outdoor courtyard with pool, fitness center and a chef-driven restaurant.

“This should be optimally designed to bring in convention­s,” Bowman said. “We designed the project based on our lost-business reports.”

IBC Bank of Laredo funded the developmen­t. “All our financing is done,” Kennedy said.

The city of Allen is contributi­ng more than $19 million to the project.

Benchmark Hospitalit­y will operate the convention center and hotel when it opens in October 2018.

The buildings were designed by HoodRich Architectu­re of Missouri. Crossland Constructi­on is the general contractor.

The area where the Allen Convention Center is being built is already attracting more constructi­on.

Builder Kaizen Developmen­t Partners just broke ground on a five-story, 125,000square-foot office building across the street from the convention center site. And developers of Watters Creek at Montgomery Farm are planning to build a small Aloft hotel in the

project starting later this year.

“Our day has come — it’s all hitting at once,” Bowman said.

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