Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (originally the Dallas Memorial Auditorium and formerly Dallas Convention Center) is a convention center in the Convention Center District of downtown Dallas, Texas. The original Dallas Memorial Auditorium was designed by George Dahl in 1957. It holds approximately 10,000 seats. Dahl was responsible for the renowned Art Deco buildings at the Dallas Fair Park, as well as many other Texas landmarks. The Convention Center additions were designed by Larry Oltmanns, who was a Design Partner with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill at the time.
The center is over 2,000,000 sq ft (190,000 m2) in size and contains over 1,000,000 sq ft (93,000 m2) of exhibit space. The largest contiguous exhibit space in the structure is 726,726 sq ft (67,515 m2). A 203,000 sq ft (18,900 m2) column-free exhibit hall in the center is the largest of its kind in the United States. It is annually used for the Dallas Auto Show.
The east side of the structure contains the original element of the Dallas Memorial Auditorium, a 9,816-seat arena. The complex also houses a 1,740-seat theater, 105 meeting rooms, and two gigantic ballrooms. In terms of accessibility, the world's largest heliport/vertiport sits atop the structure and 75 truck berths line its docks. The Dallas CBD Vertiport, located at the south end of the complex, has two 60 ft × 60 ft (18 m × 18 m) concrete helipads and 169,000 sq ft (15,700 m2) of flight deck, and is capable of handling tiltrotor aircraft.
In May 2009, voters approved construction of the Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel, a 1,000 room hotel that is attached to the Convention Center. It opened in late 2011, under budget and ahead of schedule.
The Dallas Memorial Auditorium was originally constructed in 1957 near the intersection of Canton and Akard Streets. While the auditorium still hosts many smaller events, its antiquated facilities and technology, along with the fact that it is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, have kept it less busy than in the past. In the 1970s, the center was expanded and renamed the Dallas Convention Center; the expansion was designed by local architects Omniplan. The center was expanded again in 1984 and once more in 1994, when Dallas Area Rapid Transit constructed the Convention Center Station underneath the west-wing of the facility, connecting it to the Red and Blue light rail lines. The most-recent addition to the facility was completed in 2002. The complex was renamed in honor of former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2013.
Notable tenants and events
The venue was once home of the Dallas Chaparrals/Texas Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association, who played in Dallas from the 1967-68 season through the 1972-73 season. The team moved to San Antonio in 1973 and became the San Antonio Spurs.
On August 22, 1973, The Jackson 5 held a concert in the auditorium. While on a five city tour in the final week of 1976, Elvis Presley performed at the Dallas Convention Center on December 28. The concert was recorded and later released on the Follow That Dream collectors label with the title of Showtime! On April 1, 1977, Led Zeppelin opened what would become their last ever American tour together in the Dallas Memorial Auditorium, their sixth time performing at the venue. In October 1978, Queen played at the Convention Center during their US tour, and the music video for "Fat Bottomed Girls" was filmed at the center. Prince had two concerts at the venue: once in 1981 and again in 2000. Other performers who held concerts here include: Madonna, James Brown, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Grateful Dead, Black Sabbath, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Billy Joel, and Elvis Costello.
From March 31 to April 3, 2016, WWE hosted the professional wrestling convention WWE Axxess at the center. On Friday, April 1, WWE held NXT TakeOver: Dallas in the auditorium. The events were all part of WrestleMania week in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex area.
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