Live Nation Announces The Music Factory

The promotion giant set to build entertainment campus in Irving, Texas

  • by R.V. Baugus
  • Published: December 4, 2014

Rendering of the new Pavilion at The Music Factory, to be launched in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Live Nation)

REPORTING FROM DALLAS — Concert promoter giant Live Nation and partners announced Dec. 3 during a company holiday event at its Dallas House of Blues location that nearby Irving will be the site of a new 4,000-seat music venue that will have the capacity to double in size and will open in Spring 2016.

To be called The Pavilion at The Music Factory, the one-of-a-kind entertainment complex, spread over 16 acres, will include an eight-screen Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, bowling alley, 25 entertainment and restaurant options and much more, and will be located adjacent to the Irving Convention Center and directly on the route of rail service that opened months ago.

“The Pavilion at the Music Factory will truly be the first venue of its kind anywhere in the world,” said Bob Roux, co-president, North American Concerts who oversees all of the booking, operations and venues in the southern half of the United States for Live Nation. “This is a highly versatile and extremely intimate venue and will provide a concert experience like no other before for fans of live music.

“The unique design is going to allow us the ability to host both indoor concerts as well as open-air concerts all at the same facility. It allows artists to have an enclosed 4,000-capacity theater which will also operate as an open-floor ballroom or the full 8,000 capacity in an open-air boutique amphitheater. It has the ability to go back and forth between different sized venues and is really going to allow us to expand the number of shows that we can plug because artists always want to be in the right configuration for their value in a given market.”

The Pavilion will include 40 luxury boxes, offer access to major thoroughfares, have 4,200 onsite dedicated parking spaces and 15 individual valet stands throughout the property.

Roux expects the venue to host around 100 events each year, including concerts, corporate rentals, private parties and special events.

“We’re going to be working very closely with the ARK Group in developing a number of festivals that will showcase the Pavilion as a centerpiece for festivals but will also utilize all of the grounds throughout the development with numerous other stages tying the whole thing together for a big weekend of entertainment for fans,” Roux said.

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Bob Roux, co-president, North American Concerts; Noah Lazes, president of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based ARK Group; Danny Eaton, COO Live Nation Dallas; Anthony Nicolaidis, president, Live Nation Dallas; and Richard Lazes of ARK Group gather for the big announcement. (Photo by Live Nation)

Ticketmaster will handle the venue’s ticketing while Gensler Architects is the architect of record. Legends will work closely with Live Nation and the ARK Group on corporate partnerships and venue sponsorship opportunities. Currently, the food and beverage partner has not been named. The entire project costs $165 million with the venue accounting for $40 million of the cost. Without revealing other funding, Danny Eaton, COO Live Nation Dallas, said that the City of Irving has a “substantial investment.”

“The key word for this place that sets it apart, is flexibility,” Eaton added. “Many times it has happened to us where we’ve booked a band at a venue that is 3,500 to 4,000, and all of a sudden a band blows up, like in the case of Lorde, and by the time they get there you can’t sell any more tickets. You can do three more days but you can’t sell more tickets. Now we have the option to punch a button and the back door goes up, and we sell another 4,000 tickets.”

Those extra 4,000 seats provide the open-air experience on nearly two acres where fans will be able to enjoy evenings of entertainment under the stars.

“This will really be the House of Blues of large venues,” said Anthony Nicolaidis, president, Live Nation Dallas. “This venue is a whole night. It could be a whole weekend for people. It’s dinner, shopping, the show, dinner after the show, nightclubs, bars, hotels. It’s not only going to sell more tickets because of that, but it’s also going to be a great fan experience.”

Noah Lazes, president of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based ARK Group, a conglomerate of companies that focuses on mixed-use developments that often includes an element of public entertainment, thanked the citizens of Irving who approved a voter referendum to make the entertainment center possible, and the Irving City Council for ratifying the referendum to make the dream a reality.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the voters of Irving,” Lazes said. “We had almost 3,000 people show up in a field of dirt beside the convention center on a hot summer night in September. Can you imagine what will happen when we have an 8,000-capacity pavilion, an eight-screen movie theater and 25 restaurants and entertainment venues all swinging their doors open in the spring of 2016?

“We think the synergy that is created there is second to none. Without Live Nation as a partner, this project just simply would not have been possible. We are music lovers, so to have an anchor in Live Nation that is the biggest concert promoter in the world as the centerpiece of our development  takes this to a whole other level.”

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Plans for the 16-acres property include an eight-screen cinema, bowling alley, 25 entertainment and restaurant options. (Rendering by Live Nation)

Live Nation already has a strong footprint in the Dallas area at AT&T Stadium, American Airlines Center, Gexa Energy Pavilion and the South Side Ballroom. Roux and Lazes worked together in opening the NC Music Factory in Charlotte and had a vision of what they wanted the newest incarnation to look like.

“They had a vision of a significantly expanded version of the initial Music Factory with an iconic music venue as a development center for their next project,” Roux said. “We looked at the opportunities around the country, what markets we liked and what markets were really performing well for us. They found that opportunity right here in Texas and this gave us an opportunity to expand our venue footprint here in the Dallas area.”

Eaton expects the venue to draw not only locally, but from neighboring states including Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. He said that Live Nation sells five percent of tickets to fans more than 200 miles away from the show they attend and 10 percent to fans more than 100 miles away.

“When you start adding that up to 100 events a year, that’s a lot of people who are coming in to the Dallas area who are going to stay in hotels, rent cars and spend money,” he said. “It’s going to give Irving a shot in the arm as far as profile goes, not only in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and surrounding areas but the whole North Texas region and surrounding states.”

Aside from Live Nation’s exclusive booking and promoting at the venue, other programming will be vast and varied.

“We plan to have as broad a programming as you can imagine,” Nicolaidis said. “We’ll have high school graduations, corporate events, meetings, concerts, family shows, you name it. They will be loading in a special event in the morning and in the afternoon the event loads out and a concert is in. It’s a multipurpose venue and it’s going to be utilized that way.”

Interviewed for this story: Bob Roux, Danny Eaton, Anthony Nicoladis and Noah Lazes, (310) 867-7197

  • by R.V. Baugus
  • Published: December 4, 2014