Frisco Square development picks up

The 147-acre Frisco Square, while not expanding as quickly as originally expected, is showing signs of growth.

An unnamed development is expected in the next couple months to be announced east of World Cup Way and north of Frisco Square Boulevard.

There are also plans in place for what will be the first church in the square.

The Grace Church congregation has plans to break ground in 2014 on a 30,000 square foot facility south of the Church and Page streets intersection.

The congregation recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for roads on the property behind the Cinemark theater and Frisco Municipal Center building and parking garage.

Cheryl Webster, the executive administrative assistant at the church, said the land was donated about two years ago by a developer who wished to remain anonymous.

"With the entertainment, library, living spaces and the community feel, he wanted to have a church in the area," Webster said.

Church officials are working with both the developer and the city of Frisco, which have specific guidelines about what the outside of the building should look like to ensure it fits with existing development.

Frisco Square history

The 147-acre master-planned Frisco Square was envisioned with office, retail, residential and government uses in mind.

In fact, it was a balance of life that inspired Frisco leaders and Five Star Development, the Square's original builders, to go into business together. What started as a plan to build a new city hall and library eventually developed into a goal of creating a town within a town—or as developers have described it, a little European village—surrounding the city's seat of government.

Unlike other area town squares, which city leaders viewed as having too much individual focus on restaurants, retail or residential uses, Frisco Square was to have an even mix of live, work and play.

Planned as a $1 billion project with as much as 4.4 million square feet of development at build-out, Frisco Square has been a work in progress, evolving to respond to market demands and the ebb and flow of the economy.

Five Star had originally anticipated that Frisco Square would take 10 to 13 years to build out, a timeline that would have meant completion this year on the outside. Instead, more than 20 acres are still open for development, but Mayor Maher Maso says the city and the square's handful of land and property owners remain focused.

"Generally speaking, Frisco withstood the recession we continued working on public-private partnerships and members of our business community adjusted well to the economic climate," he said. "Frisco Square went through a partnership transition and faced financial challenges. Our city staff worked closely with the owners of Frisco Square to continue our priority to maintain the highest quality development in this centrally located area."

Today, Frisco Square features retail, offices, apartments, hotels, restaurants, a movie theater, parks and a variety of government uses — Frisco City Hall, Frisco Public Library, the Senior Center at Frisco Square and offices for Collin County all call the square home.

City leaders have also doubled-down on the investment, using major city events such as Christmas in the Square, Arts in the Square and Music in the Square to draw area residents to the development throughout the year.

"At build-out, I see Frisco Square as a vibrant, active element in our community that anchors our bigger vision," Maso said. "We hope to build upon what we've started by creating venues, events and other sports and entertainment opportunities that draw thousands upon thousands of residents and visitors, including those traveling here from across the nation and the world."



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