"My hunch just kind of stemmed out of watching the theaterbusiness," Campbell says. He says three-way negotiations often canbe difficult. "This one was a pleasure," he says. "Our relationshipwith AMC has been very good." The inbound tenant for 304 HoustonSt. is Houston-based Norris Training Systems Inc., which has beenscouring the city for a location nearly 18 months.

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Campbell tells GlobeSt.com that Sundance will begin demolitionwithin two weeks on the theater, which just closed two days ago.Sundance's part of the deal is to deliver a white box with levelfloors while retaining stadium seating in a portion of thetwo-story building, AMC's 11-screen location for the past 15 years.The AMC Palace 9 at 220 E. 3rd St., which opened 10 years ago,stands intact.

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[IMGCAP(2)]The Fort Worth conference center will be the secondlargest in Norris' portfolio, which includes an 80,000-sf facilityat 4522 Fredricksburg Rd. in San Antonio. Linda Hampton, Norris'executive vice president, says the Fort Worth ribbon-cuttingtentatively is set for August. In the fall, Norris plans to open a26,000-sf conference center in the 1.1-million-sf CityCentre inHouston.

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Norris' broker David Price of CresaPartners in Houston had beenfloating inquiries for space for quite awhile before Campbell cameup with the idea that the Kansas City, MO-based AMC might considerconsolidating to free up space in one of the tightest CBD marketsin the state. Talks ramped up three months ago, according toHampton.

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The Norris team had converted a theater in Austin and awarehouse in Corpus Christi, but this is the first two-storybuilding that it's undertaken. The soundproofing system and stadiumseats make theaters a good choice, Hampton says. "And being part ofthat Sundance community was very appealing," she stresses.

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Hampton says Norris is planning an estimated $2-millionrenovation once Sundance delivers the white box. Although spaceplanning has just begun, she envisions 10 or 11 meeting rooms in22,000 sf to 25,000 sf, with the balance of the space as lobbies,offices, restrooms and kitchen.

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Campbell says Norris contracts with local restaurants ratherthan staff its own kitchen. "Now, you're seeing an opportunity forsynergy," he says, explaining that too was key to the decision toask AMC for its space. "It's the greater venue of Sundance Squarethat's making it so attractive."

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The Norris center targets day trippers who don't require hotelrooms and often are attending meetings that, by choice, aren'tcatered. Campbell admits parking was a concern for the inboundtenant, but it was allotted spaces, as needed, in the immediatearea. Sundance Square controls 5,000 parking spaces, includingthree lots within two blocks of the theater and a 766-space garageright across the street.

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Campbell says the Downtown's need for more meeting space alsowas addressed since several hotels are revamping their spaces andnew hotels are on the way. Sundance Square, a destination locationfor tourists and locals alike, has had a steady stream of meetingspace requests for expos, seminars, training and special events"that we can't accommodate in Sundance," Campbell says. "There area lot of people wrinkling their brows and not fully understandingNorris caters to day trippers. I think it brings an entirely newdemographic to the Downtown."

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