Fort Worth plans to use $52 million on the expansion of its 50-year-old convention center. The city council approved the funds this week — which will come from the American Rescue Plan Act — and support phase one of the expansion.
About the center
The convention center was built in 1968 and was purchased by the city from Tarrant County in 1997. In 2019, the city council approved the expansion of the center, but the renovation was delayed during the pandemic.
Phase one of the project is expected to start in the spring of 2023, when the city will renovate the convention center’s kitchen, demolish the south and north annex + straighten Commerce Street.
Phase two would include the demolition of the saucer-shaped arena and the expansion of the center.
What it means for the city
Straightening Commerce Street will create three new blocks downtown between the convention center and a transportation hub that connects to DFW Airport. One possible development being considered for that area is a 1,000-room convention center hotel aimed at meeting customer demand.
With the newly announced Texas A&M Campus, the Water Gardens, and the Omni Hotel just next door, the updates are expected to provide a huge economic boost to the area.
Visit Fort Worth President and CEO Bob Johnson has commented that the renovation plays a vital role in the city’s economic development, more spending downtown while also supporting jobs in surrounding hotels and restaurants.