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12 U.S. markets where entertainment districts are under consideration or construction

Mixed-Use

12 U.S. markets where entertainment districts are under consideration or construction

The Pomp, a 223-acre district located 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and The Armory, a 225,000-sf dining and entertainment venue on six acres in St Louis, are among the top entertainment districts in the works across the U.S.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | January 29, 2024
12 U.S. markets where entertainment districts are under consideration or construction
Photo: The Armory, St. Louis, Mo.

The Pomp, a 223-acre district located 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and The Armory, a 225,000-sf dining and entertainment venue on six acres in St Louis, are among the top entertainment districts in the works across the U.S.

 

1. Tampa Bay, Fla.
A partnership uniting the city, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and the developer Hines plans to invest $6.5 billion over 20 years for a proposed 86-acre district anchored by a new $1.2 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark scheduled to be completed by opening day 2028. The district includes 4,800 market-rate residential units; 1,200 affordable housing units; 600 senior living units; 1.4 million sf of office, medical, and commercial space; 750,000 sf of retail space; a 50,000-sf African American museum; 100,000 sf of entertainment space that includes a 4,000-seat concert venue; 14,000 parking spaces; and 90,000-100,000 sf of convention/meeting space. Construction would begin in late 2024.

 

2. Miami
The 131-acre Miami Freedom Park was expected to break ground in late 2023. Its centerpiece is a 25,000-seat soccer stadium (the futbol team Inter Miami CF is the developer of this project, a multiphase redevelopment of the former Melreese Country Club). The district’s other components include a 58-acre park; 23 acres of playing fields; one million sf of office, retail, entertainment, and commercial; and 780 hotel rooms. Arquitectonica is the project’s design architect, Manica the stadium designer, and CAA Icon the stadium project manager.

3. Pompano Beach, Fla.
Cordish Companies and Caesars Entertainment are developing The Pomp, a 223-acre district located 10 miles north of Fort Lauderdale, that will incorporate the existing Harrah’s casino. This $2 billion project, which broke ground in February 2022, will include 1.3 million sf of retail and entertainment space; 4,000 residential units; 25,000 sf of food and beverage venues; 1.35 million sf of office space; and two hotels. Topgolf, which opens in late 2023, will be one of the district’s anchors.

4. Gainesville, Fla.
In September, Gainesville’s City Commission voted 6-1 in favor of creating a downtown entertainment district where public consumption of alcohol would be allowed from 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. This multiblock district (whose final vote was scheduled for late October) comes on the heels of a strategic plan the city adopted in October 2022. That plan posited that, to attract more visitors and spending, the downtown area needed more bars, restaurants, performance venues, breweries, and boutiques. The strategic plan also calls for more affordable and mixed-use housing, and “a supportive local business environment” that unlocks real estate potential.

5. St. Paul, Minn.
Populous has designed the 34.4-acre United Village district around Allianz Field, a soccer stadium that opened in 2018. The district’s construction is scheduled to start in late 2023, and include 720,000 sf of office space; 200,000 sf of retail and entertainment space; a 300-seat music venue; two food pavilions; a hotel; 300 residential units; and a one-acre park that will be the district’s centerpiece.

 

6. Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City, home of the popular nine-block Power & Light District, which opened in November 2007, has several projects in the works, including Pennway Point, a reimagining of an industrial site that includes a redevelopment of the Carter-Waters building on six acres. Last July, the project’s master-tenant developer, DaVinci, unveiled its first concepts for Pennway Point: the 6,000-sf Barrel Hall, which showcases some of the city’s favorite and authentic food and beverage brands; and Talegate, a 30,000-sf venue that features three F&B concepts: Beef & Bottle, Funk House, and indoor/outdoor Talegate Park. The latter’s programming will include music concerts and movie nights. The AEC firms working on this project include Collins Webb and Associates (architect), Lankford + Fendler and Associates (MEP), PMA (SE), Olsson (CE), and Whiskey Design (branding). A 150-foot observation wheel and mini golf course will be adjacent to this district.

As part of its plan to replace aging Kauffman Stadium with a new facility, the Kansas City Royals baseball team has submitted two proposals for entertainment districts, each devised by Populous. One proposal, known as East Village, would take up 27 acres downtown and be near the 18,000-seat multipurpose T-Mobile Center. It includes the new stadium, a residential tower, a 4,000-seat performance venue, conference space, and an events plaza. The alternative proposal would develop 90 acres in North Kansas City that uses as its model Battery Atlanta. It would feature an active garden area and 365-day events plaza. The Royals estimate that either proposal would cost at least $2 billion, and the team is hoping that its current lease agreement, where Kauffman splits a 3/8-cent sales tax with Arrowhead Stadium for maintenance, carries over to its new home, whose completion is targeting opening day 2028.

 

7. Anaheim, Calif.
In September 2022, Samueli, the developer that owns and manages the 18,000-seat Honda Center, home to the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, received approval to move forward on ocV!BE, a 100-acre, $4 billion sports and entertainment district that would be anchored by Honda Center and the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), which Samueli manages as well. ocV!BE will encompass 20 acres of parks and trails; 1,500 apartments (including 195 affordable units); a 1.1-million-sf office campus; 230,000 sf of retail and restaurants; a 5,700-seat concert venue; two hotels with a total of 550 keys; a five-acre riverfront park; and nearly 11,000 parking spaces. 

The district will also be powered by an outdoor solar array that generates 6 megawatts. Construction began this year, and most of the district should be completed in time for the Los Angeles-hosted Summer Olympics in 2028. Its Building Team includes smith-clementi (master-plan architect), Fuscoe Engineering (CE), BuroHappold Engineering (sustainability), Populous (concert hall architect), iCrave (market hall interiors), and WATG (hotel architect). The parking deck team includes Choate Parking Consultants, Culp & Tanner, tk1sc, and RIOS.

8. Clarksville, Tenn.
VP Riverside Development has proposed the redevelopment of 30 acres where the Vulcan rubber plant once operated. The entertainment district, near Austin Peay State University, would have as its focal point an 8,000-seat minor league baseball stadium. The district would also have 330 apartments, a hotel, retail, restaurants, a live-performance venue (the size of which was not revealed publicly), and 1,045 parking spaces. McMillan Pazden Smith is the design architect on this project, and CSDG is the civil engineer, landscape architect, and planner. The project’s construction could begin by the third quarter of 2024, with the stadium being completed by late 2026 and the district completed sometime in 2027.

9. Charlotte, N.C.
Last February, a public-private partnership proposed the creation of a new Uptown entertainment hub that would link the 20,000-seat Spectrum Center (owned by the city and home to the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets), Queens City Quarters (an entertainment, retail, and F&B venue), and a new transit center. The district would encompass 12 city blocks, creating an entertainment corridor. More details are forthcoming, but if all goes as planned, construction within the district and for the transit center could start next spring.

 

10. Norman, Okla.
In early September, Team Norman, a group of city and university leaders, proposed a $1 billion, 200-acre entertainment district, 80% of which would be privately financed. One goal of this proposal is to establish closer relationships with the University of Oklahoma; 28% of the district’s space would be occupied by the university as its main tenant, and the district would include a multipurpose, 7,000-seat arena that OU could use for gymnastics, volleyball, and basketball. The district would have 754 apartments (increasing to 1,232 units by year eight), 127 single-family homes, and 50 townhomes. There will be 180,000 sf of office, 150,000 sf of retail and restaurants, a 150-key hotel, and acres of greenspace. Construction could begin next year.

11. Nashville, Tenn.
This is another Cordish Companies project that broke ground last summer. It is repurposing the historic George Jones Building into the five-floor, 50,000-sf Nashville Live! with a Draftkings Sports & Social dining venue, a western-themed PBR Cowboy Bar, an AVA Rooftop Bar, and a speakeasy-style bar that can accommodate 450 people. Phases of this project will be completed by the end of 2023. Nashville Live! will be two blocks from Bridgestone Arena.

 

12. St. Louis, Mo.
In December 2022, Green Street Real Estate Ventures opened The Armory, a 225,000-sf dining and entertainment venue on six acres, with six bars and a 62-foot stage. The developer expects the Armory to attract 1.5 million guests in its first year. Green Street is now proposing to transform 11 Midtown acres into Armory STL, an adjoining entertainment district fashioned after the Beltline in Atlanta, with a mix of offices, restaurants, retail, and hotel that totals 750,000 to 800,000 sf. Armory STL would be the vortex of a broader network that encompasses the Brickline Greenway trail system (under development by Great Rivers Greenway), which connects to four parks, a medical center, and the city’s Gateway Arch. The district would also be near a new Topgolf and St. Louis University’s campus.

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