If you want a world-class facility, you look at the world. So for weeks on end, developers from the Arena Group, comprised of representatives from both Hillwood Development and Hicks Muse, traveled to sightsee and research.
They were inspired by Barcelona, where a blighted area was transformed into the Olympic Village for the Summer Games in 1992. By Singapore, where a new convention center, retail plazas, a Four Seasons Hotel, and other mixed-use spaces have been developed, mostly under the eye of I.M. Pei. By Shanghai, where 50 million feet of office space has erupted in three years. They traveled to Munich, Frankfurt, Tokyo, London, and Berlin, gathering concepts and creating visions.
Like every Hillwood Development project, the new arena is a collaborative effort involving four major branches. The quarterback of the team is the master planner of record, who integrates the entire complex with the existing environment, in this case with the West End and with The Crescent. The architect of record gets it built, like a gen-eral contractor who oversees the schedule and keeps everyone else in line. The sports architects are those that have done arenas before: They know the dimensions involved, they are well-versed in sightlines, and they are familiar with necessities like locker rooms and press boxes. The design architect is mostly responsible for how it looks, including the building itself and the retail development around it.
The 65 acres in the heart of Dallas is recognized globally as a chance to create something truly extraordinary. Urban designers and planners yearn for such an opportunity, to have so much space located in the middle of so much activity. The short list of design architects considered for (he job is a compilation of the best of the best.
But, perhaps more impressive than what will be built is how it will be built.
This is the largest scale development in Dallas history to make a concerted effort to ensure that all groups participate. After collaborating with the Dallas Fort Worth Minority Business Development Council, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, League of United Latin American Citizens, NAACP, and the Organization of Hispanic Contractors, the Arena Group came up with the Dallas Arena Fair Share Agreement.
“The agreement is a model for the city and even the country,” says Reginald Gates, president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce. Gates commends the Arena Group for the way they have leveled the playing field in terms of bidding and contracts.
The backbone of the Fair Share Agreement is five major points: 1 ) To develop a minority hiring plan and all jobs are related to that plan
2) To expand the governing board of the Arena Group and include African-American and Hispanic representation
3) To establish offices of minority affairs that are at an executive level in the Arena Group for a minimum of 30 years to monitor minority affairs and carry out the hiring plan To break contracts down into sub-contracts to allow equal access and competitive bidding
To comply with the terms of the city’s M/WBE Plan for the hiring of minority and women-owned business enterprises. ’The public-private partnership is bridged by that document,” says Gates.
A number of workshops encourage minority businesses to get involved in the arena project ai all stages: demolition, architects and design contractors, environmental remediation, and general contractor/construction managers. The workshops are advertised in minority newspapers and on radio stations and then are made available on audio and video cassette for vendors who are unable to attend. Large contracts are broken down into smaller jobs that smaller businesses can handle.