A $200 million investment does not come without risk, but for those involved with the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas, that risk has become reality just months into the project’s existence.
The music venue is a multi-purpose campus that combines stage entertainment with bars, restaurants and a yet-to-be-finished Westin hotel. A staple of the Music Factory was to be music-centered restaurant Big Beat Dallas, a Billy Bob Barnett property. Barnett is the renowned owner of Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, ‘The world’s largest indoor honky-tonk’.
After two months on site, Barnett withdrew the restaurant citing disagreements over what was agreed upon in the lease in May.
Now, Toyota Music Factory must carry on without what was supposed to be its staple tenant. With the Westin Hotel not scheduled to open until the end of this year at the earliest, time will tell whether the venue can continue to rise as a premier music destination in the DFW Metroplex.
The hotel should provide the venue the boost it is missing with the withdrawal of Big Beat Dallas. With a population of 240,000 and 3.4 million visitors stopping in Irving the past year, a hotel on the premises would be a lynch pin to the Music Factory’s success going forward.
According to the City of Irving, visitors spent $2.3 billion in the city last year, accounting for $55.6 million in taxes.
In press releases, the Music Factory has expressed confidence that the venue will continue to succeed even without Big Beat Dallas’ presence, but a vacant 90,000 square-foot venue is currently a hole in the site’s lineup.
A lack of major retailers on the campus only contributes to the Music Factory’s issues. With no hotel and a lack of retail options, one can imagine that it is difficult to maintain a consistent level of foot traffic on days without notable performances.
Artists including Paramore and Foreigner headline the Music Factory’s lineup for the rest of July, so there is no problem attracting guests to see shows of this caliber, but the site still has work to do in order to make Irving a more holistic destination not just for music fans, but those looking for a complete hospitality experience.
Without it, the Music Factory will have to rely on the quality of its tunes while it carries on without its signature restaurant and state of the art hotel.