Frisco is getting a kids-themed Universal Studios park
Frisco’s latest development project will bring a large cast of superheroes, TV stars and movie bigwigs to Collin County.
Universal Parks & Resorts — the theme park arm of entertainment giant NBCUniversal — has bought a site on North Dallas Street for a new children’s theme park and hotel. The planned nearly 100-acre entertainment center will be located on Dallas’ northern thoroughfare in the $10 billion Fields development.
Drone video: See the future site of Universal Studios in Frisco on North Dallas Street.
Frisco officials and executives with Universal announced plans Wednesday for the groundbreaking new development after months of planning and negotiations. The Orlando-based company bought the land for the theme park in December using a Delaware-based shell company, 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. The park will include four or five universally themed interactive experiences, as well as a 300-room hotel.
“You have a fantastic town,” Woodbury said. “It’s alive and full of energy and full of young families, which makes it the perfect place for what we’re doing.
“We have a portfolio of great attractions that attract young families around the world,” he said. “We had an idea to bring them all together and create a destination that is specifically designed to attract families with young children. It will be a rich and enriching experience for families to enjoy together – making memories that will last a lifetime.”
Woodbury said the park’s attractions will be “built around a richly landscaped environment.”
Universal executives did not provide a timeline for the project. Property sales records show the company has four years to open the park.
Mayor Jeff Cheney called it a “one of a kind” project for which Universal considered locations around the globe.
“Families for generations to come will experience immersive environments with the stories they love,” he said. “They were looking not only anywhere in the country, but somewhere in the world to start this.
“They decided North Texas would be a good fit,” Cheney said. “You can all see why they chose Frisco – Frisco is known for being family friendly.”
Related: 5 things you need to know about Universal Studios as park debuts Frisco
Unlike Universal Studios’ sprawling parks in Orlando, Los Angeles and abroad, the Frisco development will be a much smaller attraction.
“The park is approximately one-fourth the size of our major Orlando parks,” said Universal Parks President Page Thompson. “It’s full of family-friendly attractions, interactive shows and lots of games.
“You will have met and greeted all of our beloved Universal characters.”
The project at the northeast corner of the tollway and Panther Creek Parkway will also include retail and restaurants, according to the agreement with the Fields developers.
Frisco officials touted 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 eyeing North Texas for a theme park.
Frisco Universal Park will join the PGA of America’s new golf resort as major attractions at the Fields community, which has been in the works for four years.
The Frisco Fields development, which stretches between Preston Road and US Highway 380, is planned to include up to 14,000 homes and apartments plus commercial space. Developers Karahan Cos. and Hunt Realty are building the Fields community in partnership with investors Chief Capital and Crosstie Capital.
Part of the entertainment conglomerate Comcast, 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 revenue from its signature properties in Florida, California, Asia and Spain.
The huge Universal Orlando resort attracts more than 10 million visitors a year. The Orlando park is more than five times the size of the one planned in Frisco.
Universal Orlando features attractions based on popular movies, including Harry Potter, ET, Minions and The Mummy. There are resort hotels, retail restaurants 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 previously slated for mixed-use development.
“This is another big thing for both our project and Frisco,” said Fields developer Fehmi Karahan.
The Frisco City Council has scheduled a meeting Wednesday night to talk with homeowners about the planned development. It will be held at Trent High School south of the Fields development.
“Certainly our planning and zoning still has some work to do on this project,” Cheney said.
Related: Is Frisco’s Fields development poised to become home to a theme park?