The Dallas Morning News

Frisco is getting a Universal Studios theme park

Steve Brown

New entertainment complex will bring millions of visitors and business to Collin County.

Frisco’s latest development project will bring a huge cast of superheroes, television stars and motion picture greats to Collin County.

Universal Parks & Resorts — the theme park arm of entertainment giant NBCUniversal — has bought a site on the Dallas North Tollway for a new theme park. The almost 100-acre planned entertainment hub will be located on the Dallas North Tollway in the $10 billion Fields development.

Frisco officials and executives with Universal announced plans Wednesday for the groundbreaking new development after months of planning and negotiations. The Orlando-based company acquired the land for the theme park in December using a shell company based in Delaware, county records show.

The project will be designed to appeal to families, with immersive experiences making it a one- to two-day destination, said Mark Woodbury, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks and Resorts. There also will be a 300-room Universal-themed hotel.

“You have a fantastic town,” Woodbury said. “It’s vibrant and full of energy and full of young families, which make it the perfect place for what we are doing.”

Unlike Universal Studios’ sprawling parks in Orlando, Los Angeles and abroad, the Frisco development will be a much smaller attraction — the first of multiple such projects the company plans.

The project at the northeast corner of the tollway and Panther Creek Parkway could also include hotel rooms, retail and restaurants, according to the agreement with Fields developers.

Frisco officials teased the project as a “major economic and tourism development” on Tuesday.

Plans for the Frisco Universal theme park come after decades of speculation that entertainment companies including Disney were scouting North Texas for a theme park.

The Frisco Universal park will join the PGA of America’s new golfing resort as major attractions in the Fields community, which has been in the works for four years.

The Frisco Fields development, which stretches between Preston Road and U.S. Highway 380, is planned to include as many as 14,000 homes and apartments plus commercial space. Developers Karahan Cos. and Hunt Realty are building the Fields community in partnership with investors Chief Partners and Crosstie Capital.

A part of the Comcast entertainment conglomerate, NBCUniversal is best known for its television programming and box office hit movies. The company’s theme park business generates billions of dollars a year in revenues from its signature properties in Florida, California, Asia and Spain.

The huge Universal Orlando Resort draws more than 10 million visitors a year. The Orlando park is more than five times the acreage of what’s planned in Frisco.

Universal Orlando showcases attractions based on popular motion pictures including Harry PotterE.T., the Minions and The Mummy. There are resort hotels, restaurants retail and of course thrill rides.

Universal’s theme park business employs more than 28,000 people worldwide.

The Universal Studios theme park in Frisco will occupy land that was previously planned for mixed-use construction.

“This is another huge thing for both our project and Frisco,” Fields developer Fehmi Karahan said.


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