Construction progresses on first phases of new Grand Texas venue

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The 610-acre Grand Texas Sports and Entertainment District—the new large-scale mixed-use complex located in New Caney—is one step closer to opening its first phase of development.

The estimated 26-acre Speedsportz Racing Park is slated for a soft opening in April with a full opening to the public by May, President and co-owner Alan Rudolph said. After beginning work last April, construction on the racing park has been delayed four months due to inclement weather and utility hookup delays, he said.

“We had to wait for our neighbors, Grand Texas, to get all the infrastructure funded and put in the water and sewer lines,” Rudolph said. “The new street to connect [Hwy.] 242 to [Hwy.] 59 isn’t in yet, but it is graded, and trees are cleared. Now that all of that is done, we should have equipment ready [for construction]by the second week of January.”

Rudolph, who is a professional kart driver, said the multimillion-dollar Speedsportz venue will feature a European-style rental kart facility and track and a separate high-speed performance track. The facility is designed to offer racing for drivers age 10 and up with regular karts that can travel up to 50 mph and high-powered karts that can reach speeds of up to 90 mph, he said.

The venue will offer three outdoor terraces and a private lounge for group events, such as corporate groups or parties. Speedsportz will also feature the Alan Rudolph Racing Academy, which will offer instructional kart-driving courses. 

“There are several elements to [the racing park]—one is the concession rental part of it,” Rudolph said. “A customer can pay $25 and do a race much like you would do at an indoor track but outdoors. For the racing academy, customers can take a two- to three-hour ride where they can experience the thrill of driving a real racing kart.”

For experienced and professional racers, club memberships are available along with a garage to store karts and a repair shop Rudolph said.

“Around the country, [Speedsportz has] got a lot of buzz,” Rudolph said. “It’s going to be a world-class facility that will eventually host national world class-level races.”

Other park amenities

Grand Texas will feature a
150-acre theme park, the 40-acre Big Rivers Waterpark, the 83-acre Sportsplex, an RV park with 144 lots, four hotels, 450,000 square feet of retail and dining in a “Downtown Texas” area and a factory outlet mall when complete by mid-2019, CEO Monty Galland said.

In late July, work on the main water plant for the site was complete. By December, the RV park received electrical, water and sewer utilities and is now set to open this spring, Rudolph said.

Grand Texas Communications Manager Jessica Marquez declined Dec. 7 to offer an update on the waterpark and other aspects of Grand Texas. However, Marquez said more information will likely be available in February.

By late 2018 through mid-2019, Galland said he anticipates all sections of the park will be open and operating in their initial phases. Grand Texas, which could bring in hundreds of millions in sales tax revenue each year for the area, is designed with extra acreage to adapt and expand for future build-out over the next 20 years, he said.

Job, economic growth

More than 10,000 new part-time and full-time jobs will be created through Grand Texas, Galland said.

“I think, first and foremost, the most significant aspect to their development is the number of jobs that are being created with the project,” said Frank McCrady, East Montgomery County Improvement District president and CEO. “Taking a piece of property that has sat dormant for numerous years [and turning it]into a destination is certainty something our board was interested in.”

With the construction of Grand Texas, the New Caney area will significantly benefit from job growth as well as a rise in other supporting development, McCrady said.

“We certainty see other hotels, restaurants, recreational opportunities and other types of businesses that provide services to theme parks looking now to be in close proximity to where [Grand Texas] development is occurring,” he said.

A final economic agreement between the EMCID and Grand Texas developers will likely be approved once project plans move further along, McCrady said. In the near future, the EMCID could enter into an incentive agreement to rebate Grand Texas developers for a portion of zone and sales taxes collected on the property, he said.

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