Technically, a planned convention center hotel isn’t an element of The Music Factory, but its future location —between The Music Factory entertainment district and the Irving Convention Center — should add harmony to the site.
The $100 million Westin-branded hotel, expected to have about 350 rooms, will add cohesiveness to the area, binding the Irving Convention Center and its visitors to the entertainment and restaurant options at The Music Factory.
Irving has learned from other cities, such as Dallas and Fort Worth, that a convention center hotel is critical to compete with similar-sized venues in the convention center space, says Maura Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“The other piece that we have been missing from the Irving landscape was entertainment,” she says. “When we were competing with other destinations and it came down to what the group would do during its off time, we’d often lose out,” she says.
The convention center, The Music Factory and the convention center hotel will form a three-legged platform that the city expects will ramp up convention and visitor activity in Irving, she says.
Irving’s convention business is dominated by corporate meetings, but the addition of the Westin and The Music Factory should help the city diversify its convention and meeting business with association meetings.
“Because Irving has been so dominant in corporate events, we are very vulnerable when the corporate cycle goes soft,” Gast says. Travel, training and meetings often are the first budget items cut in a corporate downturn.
“Now we’ll have something that will support demand even in a soft corporate cycle,” Gast says.
Irving says its sweet spot is groups in the range of 800 to 1,200 people, but now it will be able to consider larger groups.
The Westin will have a 10,000-square-foot ballroom, which will fit 600-700 people for a banquet plus 6,000 square feet of meeting space. venues. The CVB will also be able to tap the concert venue, called The Pavilion, at The Music Factory during the day when it’s not in use, Gast says. The venue seats 4,000 inside and a total of 8,000 if outdoor amphitheater space is also used.
“We could easily put a keynote speaker for a convention on the stage (at the Pavilion) and then bring people back to the convention center for your breakouts and meal functions,” Gast says.
“The hotel becomes an extension of the convention center with another 16,000 square feet of meeting space, and the The Music Factory solves the ‘what is there to do?’ question,” she says.
Another benefit that isn’t as obvious is that The Music Factory should benefit all Irving hotels that book meeting business.
“They lose business to competing cities because of limited things to do. Now they have an arrow in their quiver, and it will be just as easy for hotels on the north side of the DFW Airport to shuttle people to The Music Factory as it will be to shuttle them into Grapevine,” Gast says.
Construction of the hotel is scheduled to begin in March with an opening expected near the end of 2018.