Fort Worth arena proposals passed by wide margin

The request for funding for a $450 million, 14,000-seat multipurpose arena and sports facility proposed for the Cultural District secured an easy victory Tuesday night, according to unofficial results.

“I think the citizens heard the message and understand how critical this is to our future and that it is a tremendous public-private partnership with no impact on our bottom line,” said Mayor Price.

The ballot propositions and the percentage of “for” votes were:

The nonprofit Event Facilities Fort Worth, chaired by Ed Bass, pledged to raise at least half the money for the arena. Bass said the election “sets the stage for very strong support from the private sector on the funding.”

“I think the citizens told us three things: They like the project, they want the project, and we’re supposed to build the project,” Bass said, adding the work “has only just begun.”

The taxes are expected to fund about 15 percent of the public share of the $450 million sticker price, which would include a 2,000-space parking garage, infrastructure improvements, and a plaza at Harley Avenue and Gendy Street.

The city and Tarrant County have already spent about $10 million on the project by fixing storm drain infrastructure and improving roads.

The rest of the public money will come from hotel occupancy, hotel sales and mixed-beverage taxes. About 18 percent will come from incremental revenue of the state’s portion of the hotel-motel taxes within 3 miles of the arena. And 14 percent is expected to come from the local hotel tax increments in the same radius.

The arena will range from 9,300 to 14,000 seats, depending on the event. Concerts would seat 12,500 to 14,000; basketball could hold 13,300; hockey and family shows could hold 12,200; and equestrian and rodeo events could seat about 9,300. Officials hope to finish the arena by 2019.

“It will be a big boon for dollars, for tourism, for trade, for all kinds of things, and, of course, for entertainment,” Price said.

The Eppstein Group, hired by the Forward Fort Worth Partnership, launched an aggressive campaign featuring bilingual television ads on network, cable, Telemundo and Univision channels; radio ads; newspaper ads; mailers; recorded phone messages; and a door-to-door push.

Endorsements came from baseball legend Nolan Ryan, the Fort Worth City Council, businesswoman Rosa Navejar and legendary Fort Worth basketball coach Robert Hughes.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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