As the old saying goes, “Everything is Bigger in Texas.” You’ll get no argument from visitors to the new Toyota Music Factory in Irving. The sprawling 16.7-acre entertainment complex features 20 restaurants and bars, a movie theater and even a bowling alley. But those are just extras. The linchpin of the entire development is the Pavilion at The Music Factory, a 4,000-seat concert hall that can quickly convert to an 8,000-seat amphitheater by opening seven bifold liftstrap doors from Schweiss Doors.
The 410,000-sq. ft. American Entertainment complex was developed by The ARK Group and the City of Irving. Designed by Gensler, it cost roughly $200 to build. Approximately 20 percent of the total budget—$40 million—was allocated to the construction of The Pavilion.
The seven Schweiss doors were installed side by side at the back wall of the building. Ranging from 35 feet, 1 inch to 36 feet, 9 inches in width, all seven doors have a clear opening height of 25 feet, 6 inches. The engineered doors are equipped with Schweiss’ newly patented automatic strap latch system and feature door base safety edges, 3-phase top-drive motors, black liftstraps and full-length windrails that cap off the roller assembly. Hangar Rental Inc. of Brookshire, TX, handled the installation.
“I was brought into the project nearly three years ago when it first developed,” says Oscar Stout, manager of Hangar Rental. “I was asked to read the architectural specifications for what was going on. I was provided documentation that I read through and I realized this is what these people were trying to do, and this is what they are asking for, and they really can’t get from point A to point B with what they are specifying.
“The original specifications called for rollup doors, but you are in a music venue, a sound-sensitive environment and everyone knows those rollup doors can get loud when the wind starts blowing hard. So, they then decided to look at bifold doors.”
Determining factors in how many doors were needed and their dimensions was the length of the back wall and its curvature—10.5-degrees. As envisioned, the seven doors can be opened during sold-out concerts, approximately 30 minutes prior to the time an indoor performance is being held. Keeping the doors closed before the show, even though they’ll need to be opened eventually, allows the indoor theater to retain enough air conditioning for the performers and guests, without taking away from the experience for those with seating on the sloped hillside lawn. In the open position, the doors offer a clear sightline to the stage from anywhere within the specified seating area on the lawn.
Originally, doors from a different manufacturer were specified for the project. It was Stout who tipped the scales in Schweiss’ favor, with the longevity of lift straps versus cables his central argument.
“Right up until the last minute, it was back and forth,” Stout says. “Everybody was looking for the best deal, obviously, and the other manufacturer was prepared to offer the lower-cost option. Eventually it got to the point they wanted to go with the other manufacturer. I told them this is the question the client, Live Nation, needs to ask: What does this manufacturer construe as warranty service because the client is going to see frayed cable within six months and they are going to say, ‘Hey, that cable is breaking and you are going to have to replace it.’
“I entered into the discussion and said you will have to pay me $200 per cable to replace it and you are going to pay my travel to get up here and I’m going to replace every cable on the doors that suffers from a frayed cable because I’m not going to warranty my work unless I know all the cables are from the same manufacturer because steel cables stretch. I don’t want to get into a situation … Well, I replaced this cable which caused more stress on that cable which caused more stress on that cable. And it’s going to cost to rent equipment and it’s going to cost you a couple thousand dollars times seven, because there are seven doors.”
Stout says the other manufacturer backed out when asked these questions. “As far as I am concerned, we stepped up to the plate and installed the superior Schweiss product. We told them if you want the best product on the market, it’s a Schweiss product.”
Hangar Rental scheduled a three-week install time frame but accelerated its schedule so that other contractors could meet their deadlines.
“Nothing beats the strap system, period,” Stout says. “I’ve got a little bit of engineering background and the liftstraps are bulletproof. The safety and reliability of them, the fact that they are effectively maintenance-free as long as somebody doesn’t cut them or expose them to hard chemicals. It’s a phenomenal way to go. The quality is superb and any issues that do present themselves in the field are immediately taken care of by Schweiss.
“If I get a phone call from a gentleman who’s thinking about building a hangar, I ask him, ‘What are your door needs? What are you looking for? Let’s talk about the best product on the market.’ The first words out of my mouth are always Schweiss. The second words out of my mouth are Schweiss, because we start talking about the hydraulic door, then we go to the bifold.”
Irving economic development director Scott Connell estimated that the Music Factory would bring 1,500 jobs to the community and about $14 million in local sales tax revenue during a 10-year period.
“The place looks unbelievable,” says Noah Lazes, president of The Ark Group, of Charlotte, NC. “This couldn’t have turned out any better. It’s a beautiful venue.”
The stage is visible from throughout the Pavilion’s spread. Music and entertainment lovers have already attended performances from the likes of ZZ Top, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Ringo Star, Tom Jones, Jewel, George Lopez, Brad Paisley, the Goo Goo Dolls, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy.