Allen ready to kick off $85 million convention center and hotel complex

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By Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor

The Collin County city of Allen is ramping up its competition for business and visitors with plans for a new convention center and hotel.

Allen’s City Council will vote Tuesday to approve a deal to build the $85 million hotel and meeting complex on North Central Expressway at Bethany Drive.

The complex will be across the street from the popular Watters Creek shopping and apartment development, which opened in 2007.

“There is a great demand in this area for a facility to house a small convention,” Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell said. “Now is the time — time for us to get going and expand.”

The city of Allen and the Allen Economic Development Corp. are providing the 6.7-acre construction site for the hotel. The city, the economic development organization and the Allen Community Development Corp. are also contributing $12.3 million in capital to the project.

The hotel will have 290 rooms, and the convention center will include 64,000 square feet of meeting space.

“This will be the largest such convention facility in the northern suburbs,” said Dan Bowman, executive director of Allen Economic Development.

Bowman said Allen sent out a request for development proposals to more than two dozen firms. It picked Dallas-based TCH Altera Partners to build the project.

Construction is scheduled to start this year with an opening in 2017. Aimbridge Hospitality will manage the hotel.

5G Studio Collaborative — the same architect that did the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas — designed the building.

Allen’s convention and visitors bureau decided to pursue the development because of requests for meeting space in the area.

“We started receiving inquires for conventions when the Allen Event Center opened in 2009,” said Karen Cromwell, who heads the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We couldn’t accommodate some meetings that were too large and with groups that didn’t want to split up between separate facilities.

“We were having to send business to our competitors.”

The new Convention Center at Watters Creek will be the centerpiece of a more-than-24-acre mixed-use development the city plans to build on land it acquired in the 1990s.

Allen is working with Peloton Commercial Real Estate to develop four or five office buildings with 860,000 square feet surrounding the new convention center and hotel, Bowman said. The first building will start this year.

And the entire area will be identified with the Watters Creek name.

“We are trying to keep that brand going and build on it,” Terrell said.