Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Frisco’s $5 billion mile is just starting with Cowboys' The Star
When you see construction cranes along the Dallas North Tollway north of State Highway 121, you've hit Frisco's $5 billion mile.
Referring to a stretch of proposed real estate developments, the $5 billion mile is anchored at the south end by the Dallas Cowboys' Star development and at the north end by the planned Gate mixed-use project.
That works out to something like $950,000 a foot in big property deals along the tollway between Warren Parkway and Lebanon Road.
Though only about a fifth of the proposed projects are under construction, that hasn't kept Frisco from turning the idea into a major marketing campaign. Advertisements for Frisco and the $5 billion mile are popping up in financial publications touting the boom underway in the community.
"It's taken on a life of its own, and the momentum that has been generated in such a short period of time has been incredible," said Jim Gandy, president of the Frisco Economic Development Corp. "We have stepped up our marketing efforts on a regional and national and international basis.
"The recognition and notoriety of the $5 billion mile has far exceeded our expectations."
In the late 1990s, Frisco began to transform from a sleepy farming and railroad community into one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Development spread north from State Highway 121 up Preston Road and along Dallas Parkway.
"Stonebriar mall opened in 2000, and there was an incredible amount of commercial retail development launched," Gandy said. "With the mall and the Frisco Bridges development, it's grown to more than 4.5 million square feet of retail and restaurant space."
About the same time Stonebriar Centre mall was being built, developer Craig Hall began his 162-acre Hall Park office development at the tollway and Gaylord Parkway. The Hall development now has 16 office buildings with more than 2 million square feet of space. And plans are in the works for a hotel and shopping.
"This whole northern tier of the Dallas North Tollway is exploding like never before," Gandy said.
The Cowboys' $1.5 billion home is just the first of the $5 billion mile developments to open its doors.
Surrounding the Star, Van Trust Real Estate is building the 242-acre Frisco Station in partnership with developer Hillwood Properties and the Rudman Partnership.
Construction is set to start in September on the first seven-story office building on Warren Parkway in Frisco Station. The plans include 2,400 apartments, retail, entertainment, medical buildings and 4 million square feet of additional office space.
"From the city of Frisco's perspective, they wish we had the first office building up today," said Geoff Meyer, VanTrust Real Estate executive vice president. "They are fielding numerous business inquiries.
"It's well documented that there is a lack of available office space in Frisco."
Frisco Station hopes to have its office building ready for tenants before the first buildings open in the $2 billion Wade Park development on the other side of the tollway.
Plans for the 175-acre mixed-use project at the southeast corner of the Dallas North Tollway and Lebanon Road include about 600,000 square feet of retail; two luxury hotels; up to 6 million square feet of commercial office space; and 1,300 apartments, condominiums and single-family homes. A Whole Foods Market, iPic Theatre, Pinstripes bowling center and Hotel ZaZa are among the anchors named so far.
The first phase of the Wade Park shopping center is scheduled to open late next year.
"We are opening the first of the retail in October of 2017," said developer Stan Thomas of Thomas Land & Development. "Then, in spring of '18, we'll have another big chunk of the project come on board."
"What we are building is real special to create a regional draw," Thomas said. "You will be able to do everything from living there to officing there to having entertainment."
Thomas said design and construction of Wade Park has been complicated and time-consuming. The formal groundbreaking took place almost two years ago.
"Everything takes longer than you think it will," Thomas said.
The fourth major development in the $5 billion mile, the 41-acre Gate mixed-use project at the tollway and John Hickman Parkway, is still in the planning stages and hasn't broken ground. Dubai-based Invest Group Overseas is looking for development partners and offering to sell construction sites in the $1 billion project.
Plans include almost 20 buildings ranging in height from about three stories to more than 10 floors. The development is envisioned to include more than 650,000 square feet of office space, almost 1 million square feet of residential buildings, more than 130,000 square feet of retail space and a luxury hotel.
The four projects along the $5 billion mile are just part of the development underway in Frisco. Other major projects are in the works along U.S. Highway 380, Main Street and Preston Road.
"I would assume there is another $2 billion out there under construction on the commercial side," Gandy said. He estimates that about 60 percent of Frisco's 71 square miles are developed or under construction.
"Frisco experienced a tremendous growth spurt from 2000 to 2008, and then things slowed when we had the economic downturn," Gandy said. "I never thought we would rebound beyond that growth rate.
"We have not only bounced back to that level of growth but far exceeded that."
The $1.5 billion Star in Frisco development sits on 91 acres on Warren Parkway, west of the Dallas North Tollway. It includes the Cowboys' headquarters, the 12,000-seat Ford Center stadium, two planned hotels and the Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research center.
Written by Steve Brown/Dallas Morning News