Details on the more than $12 million in economic incentives offered to Universal to build a theme park in Frisco were broken down in a city news release immediately following the project’s approval in March.
The zoning request by Universal Studios and Resorts to build a theme park, currently called Universal Kids Frisco, off of the Dallas North Tollway was approved by Frisco City Council and the Frisco Planning & Zoning Commission during a March 7 meeting.
The specific-use permit granted at the meeting will take approximately 90 acres of land in the Frisco Fields development to build a 30-acre theme park and resort. A plan for developing the remaining approximately 60 acres has not been announced.
A development agreement of $12.7 million in performance-based incentives was approved by the city to be funded by sales tax generated from Universal, according to the news release.
- $10.7 million of the funds will be in grants for infrastructure improvements, which will be directed toward streets, roads and utilities.
- $2 million of the funds will be in tax reimbursements issued over 20 years.
- Phase 1: $8.7 million over 10 years
- The phase will include $1 million in sales tax reimbursements for materials.
- Phase 2: $4 million over the following 10 years
- Phase 2 will include $1 million in sales tax reimbursements for materials.
The development agreement also stated the theme park must offer residents discounts or offers during nonpeak periods chosen by Universal. The theme park must also provide an annual half-day for a city employee appreciation event, according to the news release.
City staff have stated they estimate the theme park to bring in $3 million to the city’s general fund every year from property and sales taxes, estimating the first 10 years of the park will bring $30 million to city services.
“That [money] goes to pay for police and fire; that goes to pay for the library; it goes to pay for all the city services,” Mayor Jeff Cheney said at the March 7 meeting.
A staff presentation at the March 7 meeting stated the city estimates the indirect economic impact to the city will be $1.5 billion over 10 years and $3.5 billion over 20 years, according to the news release.
Cheney and other City Council members made a point to state they had no personal or business economic interests to gain from the park after a resident at the March 7 meeting accused them of partiality to the project.
Council Member Laura Rummel stated a desire to table the discussion further, citing a need for Cobb Hill residents to become more acclimated to the project.
The discussion had already been tabled twice at previous City Council, and planning and zoning meetings.
More information on the Universal Kids Frisco plans can be found on the city’s designated theme park website.