Fort Worth restarts plans to renovate convention center
The city of Fort Worth has approved a design firm for the first phase of the renovation of the city-owned convention center. This phase is expected to begin construction in mid-2023 and be completed in 2026.
The expansion project will take place in two phases and the facility will remain operational during both. The first phase includes constructing new state-of-the-art food and beverage facilities, demolishing the annex, realigning Commerce Street to create a site pad for a future convention hotel, and rebuilding the center’s loading docks.
The convention center expansion, which had been planned for several years to accommodate larger conventions and group meetings, was about to begin with robust funding from hotel occupancy taxes when the COVID-19 shutdown began in 2020. After a pandemic-induced pause, the Fort Worth City Council approved $52 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds in December 2021 to support the first phase of planned expansion of the facility.
The second phase of the project will include demolishing the 1968 arena and creating approximately 97,000 square feet of net new exhibit hall space, 48,000 square feet of flexible meeting rooms and a new 50,000-square-foot ballroom. There are also plans to renovate the current facility, which was expanded in 2003.