City aims to unite downtown with new development

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City aims to unite downtown with new developmentFrisco city officials said they hope that a new development called Frisco Fresh Market will bring the historic downtown and new downtown together.

In September, Frisco City Council approved plans for the 32.6-acre development to be located east of Toyota Stadium at the northeast corner of Frisco and Main streets.

City staff and council said Frisco Fresh Market would complement the historic downtown core to the southeast and Frisco Square to the southwest.

“It’s long been a concern of mine how we’re going to tie old downtown into the newer area, and [Frisco Fresh Market] looks like a good puzzle piece to fit in there and to help with that connection,” City Council Member Bob Allen said at the Sept. 15 council meeting.

Frisco Fresh Market Plans

Jeff Coleman and Paul Cheng own Frisco Fresh Market LLC and are the developers of the new project.

City aims to unite downtown with new developmentThe development includes plans for a public market featuring a farmers’ market, retail stores, restaurants, residential space, office space, hotels and a tennis center and club.

Coleman said he visited public markets throughout the world such as Mercado de San Miguel in Spain, Borough Market in London, Boston Farmers Market and the Milwaukee Public Market. The pair believed it to be a good idea to bring such a market to Texas, specifically to Frisco.

“The more we started researching it, the more it seemed to be a real, vibrant deal as far as a new shopping experience goes,” Coleman said.

Cheng said the market will be fun for the whole family and will support local business owners.

“It brings tourism, entertainment and shopping all together in the same experience,” Coleman said.

The developers chose Frisco for their project because they liked its fast growth and development, especially in the downtown area.

Cheng said the location near Toyota Stadium and Frisco Square will bring in a great number of  people to the market,  especially during events.

The developers have also reached out to the Frisco Farmers Market, which is sponsored by Rotary Club of Frisco. The market is open Saturdays from May through October for local produce and artisanal food items.

“We were invited by the developer to review the project and are quite excited about what it will bring to the downtown area,” Rotarian Audie Adkins said. “They expressed a strong desire to work with the Rotary Club of Frisco in transitioning the Frisco Rotary Farmers Market to Frisco Fresh Market as the development comes to fruition.”

Cheng said he did not want anyone to feel as if Frisco Fresh Market would be taking away anything from the city or the culture of downtown, so Cheng and Coleman are working closely with the city and organizations to ensure that does not happen.

Frisco Fresh Market is expected to break ground in April and should take about a year to finish. Weather permitting the developers said they hope for a spring 2017 opening.

Cheng and Coleman said as of right now Frisco Fresh Market LLC. is the only funding source for the market.

The plans also include multifamily residential apartments by developer Stoneleigh Companies and two hotels by Dabu Hotel Group.

Frisco Chamber of Commerce President Tony Felker said with the investment of the new market as well as the National Soccer Hall of Fame inside Toyota Stadium he hopes there will be more encouragement to revitalize historic downtown.

“I hope with a development like [Frisco Fresh Market] we’ll start having sections of historic downtown that will start to go through a little renovation,” Felker said. “Hopefully [old downtown can]begin to improve while still keeping the historical charm to it.”

Felker said he would like the historic downtown area to reflect a unique urban life similar to that of Austin.

“The market is something that not a lot of [North Texas] communities have so it’ll be a great addition to what we are trying to accomplish in downtown Frisco,” Felker said.

JoAnn Fritz, Frisco Main Street Merchants Association president, said the new project fits right into the heart of Frisco.

“I feel [Frisco Fresh Market] will bring a cohesiveness between the new city center and the historic downtown area and maybe tie the two together,” said Fritz, who also owns Blue Door Boutique in historic downtown. “The new market will fit in very well with the old town feel. [FMSMA] hopes to be an integral part of the growth of Frisco, but it is very important to us to keep our historic fabric in place.”

Marrying old and new

Bringing the historic portion of downtown and Frisco Square, as well as other new developments, together has always been a plan for the city, Frisco Development Services Director John Lettelleir said.

To do this the city has architecture standards every business in downtown must follow and plans to revitalize historic portions of downtown, such as the grain silos.

When the city first intended to develop Frisco Square, it was vital that it felt and looked like the existing downtown area, Lettelleir said.

“When we did the zoning of Frisco Square in 2000 it was very important for the city that we do not turn our back to the historical downtown,” Lettelleir said. “So we had to figure out a way to make [Frisco Square] an extension of downtown because downtown is part of the roots of the city.”

One way the city did this—and what it has planned for Frisco Fresh Market—is making sure the newer developments’ architecture standards reflect those of historic downtown.

One of the standards is framing the streets by creating sidewalks around the buildings for a more unique and walkable experience for pedestrians, Lettelleir said. Frisco Square is a prime example, he said

“As Frisco Square builds out toward John Elliot Drive, you’ll have buildings framing the streets, setting it up for walkability to favor pedestrians where they feel most comfortable walking,” he said.

The city uses the Original Town Commercial architecture standards for all developments in downtown to encourage a traditional, pedestrian-oriented district with a vertical mix of businesses and residential uses, Lettelleir said.

In 2014 the grain silos on the northeast corner of John Elliott and Main—located in between the older and newer portions of downtown—were being considered as a possible dining/lounge space and a multipurpose facility for weddings and other events.

However, according to the city the lease agreement has expired for the grain silos. The prospective tenant determined that it was not an economically viable project with the cost of infrastructure improvement that would have been required.

Right now the silos and the railroad tracks along with the Frisco Heritage Museum and Frisco Junction just south of those structures is the line between the historical downtown and new downtown, but city leaders hope the Frisco Fresh Market addition will make that line less distinct.

Lettelleir said the city is working closely with the developers to help bring this new development to fruition so it will bring more attraction to the area as a whole.

“When you bring in more people it creates interest in this specific area, and hopefully that spreads to the old downtown as well as Frisco Square,” he said.

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Nicole Luna is the Senior Reporter for Frisco. She covers development, transportation, education, business and city government. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Spanish from The University of Texas at Arlington and has been with Community Impact Newspaper since June 2015.
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