Baker, Ahles & Kaskovich

Huckabee firm is moving to new digs

Plano-based Main Event Entertainment opened a bowling-anchored entertainment complex in north Fort Worth.
Plano-based Main Event Entertainment opened a bowling-anchored entertainment complex in north Fort Worth. Main Event

After years of having its offices on Hulen Street in southwest Fort Worth, Huckabee architecture and engineering firm will move to downtown this summer.

CEO Christopher Huckabee said the 48-year-old company, which primarily designs and builds educational buildings, is looking forward to the change. Huckabee has leased the fifth and sixth floors in Burnett Plaza at 801 Cherry St. and expects to move by July 1.

The firm was founded in 1967 by Huckabee’s father in Lubbock. When Christopher Huckabee graduated from Texas Tech in 1991, he joined his father but then bought the then-30-employee firm and moved it to Fort Worth. Today, the firm also has offices in Dallas, Waco, Austin and Houston and a project office in Mansfield.

Huckabee has 150 employees in its Fort Worth office and about 200 companywide.

Huckabee started in the Frost Bank Building on Hulen and in 2001 bought the Executive Place building at 4521 S. Hulen St. from renowned pianist Van Cliburn. In 2008, Huckabee sold the building but continued to lease space.

“We take up most of the building now,” Huckabee said. “We’re busting at the seams. We’ve grown into every nook and cranny.”

The firm will have about 50,000 square feet at Burnett Plaza, about 15,000 square feet more than it has now, Huckabee said.

He said that for a year, the firm studied several options before deciding on Burnett Plaza and that employees were involved along the way. The new space will feature desks that will allow employees to sit or stand, video conferencing capabilities and a full-time barista in the lobby, among other things.

For employees, it is especially important to have offices where they can walk to restaurants for lunch and after work, Huckabee said.

Pat McDowell, a broker with Jones Lang LaSalle, represented Huckabee. Jack Clark with Red Oak Realty represented the landlord.

Check the address

American Airlines Chief Executive Doug Parker seemed to have a little memory lapse during the company’s fourth quarter earnings conference call last week.

“If you look at our results we produced a total shareholder return of 114 percent. … Had we been in the S&P 500, it would have been the second best, behind Southwest Airlines,” Parker said, when touting American’s stock performance in 2014. “It was a good year to invest in Dallas-based airlines.”

Wait … Dallas?!?

At last check, American still had its headquarters on Amon Carter Boulevard in Fort Worth just south of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

Before somebody could slap a Molly pin on his lapel, Parker realized his error and issued a mea culpa about 45 minutes into the call.

“In my unscripted remarks I said two Dallas-based airlines performed at the top of the industry. We, of course, are based in Fort Worth, here at American,” Parker said. “So at any rate I should have said Dallas/Fort Worth-based airlines, and I apologize to Mayor Price and all of our friends in Fort Worth who remind me all the time. We are proud to be here in Fort Worth.”

And on a related note, Parker said during the call that there was no upcoming announcement about moving its headquarters.

Main Event

Plano-based Main Event Entertainment has 7.2 acres under contract in the Presidio Junction development in north Fort Worth where it plans to open a bowling-anchored entertainment complex this year, its sixth in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Its only other Fort Worth location is in Cityview. It also has a location in Grapevine. In all, Main Event has 19 centers in five states but plans eight more locations by June 2016.

The company is a subsidiary of Australia’s Ardent Leisure, an owner and operator of leisure venues including Dreamworld, WhiteWater World & SkyPoint theme parks and attractions, AMF and Kingpin Bowling, d’Albora Marinas and Goodlife Health Clubs.

The land is along Interstate 35W between North Tarrant Parkway and Heritage Trace Parkway. Charlie Keegan, Main Event’s CEO, said construction will begin soon after the land transaction closes.

Main Event has opened six centers in the past seven months, he said: two in Atlanta and one each in Chicago, San Antonio, McAllen and Oklahoma City.

“We’re having a great few years,” Keegan said. “Our business is very solid. Our expansion in our home market of Dallas-Fort Worth is an important part of our growth plans.”

The north Fort Worth location will feature its latest, “more modern exterior” building, as well as its new, redesigned interior, he said.

“Our new prototype, you walk in and you get an array of options,” Keegan said. The centers feature state-of-the-art bowling lanes, a multilevel laser tag arena and a challenging gravity ropes course suspended over a games gallery with more than 100 interactive and virtual games.

The new location will open with 175 to 200 full- and part-time employees.

Andrea Ahles, 817-390-7631

Twitter: @Sky_Talk

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

Steve Kaskovich, 817-390-7773

Twitter: @stevekasko