The Dallas Morning News ran a story on Wednesday insisting that the Billy Bob Barnett entertainment complex originally slated for downtown Dallas may have found a home instead in suburban Irving, in the Las Colinas development. But I think the opposite is probably true. According to the people I'm talking to, Billy Bob is more likely to be headed back downtown.
It's complicated. The entertainment complex was originally going to be a horse track, hotel and other stuff right by the Dallas Convention Center. It involved a very screwy land-swap with billionaire Ray Hunt that the mayor didn't like. The deal fell through because Barnett and his partners couldn't demonstrate that they had any funding.
Well, now they probably will have funding. Big funding. The Henry S. Miller Company's investment banking group is out scouring up bags of moolah for them.
The News story said the City of Irving was eager to get the deal done somewhere at Los Colinas, but that deal is nowhere near being done. And face it: Who wants to drive to the airport to get drunk?
Meanwhile, the main shotgun on this thing at Henry S. Miller, Vance Miller, is a way-back supporter of Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and a long-time proponent of hotel and entertainment facilities next to the Dallas convention center downtown. Billy Bob still has options on land just south of the Dallas convention cneter and still has a portable race track license he could put there, as well as drawings for a river-walk. If that could all be put together in a way that didn't involve Ray Hunt, the mayor might go for it and beat the drum on the council.
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So maybe Billy Bob's headed our way, not for the highway. Guy sure gets around, eh? --Jim Schutze