Frisco Sta­tion’s first phase is open­ing

Frisco project faces trou­ble over mil­lions in un­paid bills

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - STEVE BROWN steve­brown@dal­las­

Frisco Sta­tion, a $1.5 bil­lion project that has been in the works for three years, is open­ing its first phase on the Dal­las North Toll­way.

Abig chunk of Frisco’s fa­mous $5 bil­lion mile has hit a bump in the road. It’s been more than three years since ground was bro­ken for the $2 bil­lion Wade Park project on the Dal­las North Toll­way.

The 175-acre com­plex at the south­east cor­ner of the toll­way and Le­banon Road is the largest of sev­eral big mixed-use de­vel­op­ments in the works along that stretch. Wade Park has also been the slow­est of these Frisco de­vel­op­ments to get go­ing.

Work re­cently stopped al­to­gether, with two un­com­pleted re­tail build­ings — and a huge hole in the ground — be­ing all there is to show for the am­bi­tious deal.

Now, con­struc­tion com­pa­nies that have worked on the project are tak­ing le­gal ac­tion over un­paid bills. Con­trac­tors and sup­pli­ers are seek­ing more than $7 mil­lion in un­re­cov­ered costs, Collin County records show.

The con­struc­tion firms have at­tached liens to the prop­erty and could force the de­vel­op­ment into bank­ruptcy.

Started in 2014

In early 2014, At­lantabased Thomas Land & De­vel­op­ment pur­chased the Wade Park site from a long­time Frisco fam­ily.

In June of the same year, Thomas Land broke ground on the project, which was planned with a Whole Foods Mar­ket, other re­tail space, an en­ter­tain­ment venue and high-rise of­fice, ho­tel and res­i­den­tial build­ings.

The de­vel­oper did site work for months, dug a mas­sive pit along the toll­way and be­gan work on the Whole Foods and a Star­bucks cof­fee out­let along the south side of Le­banon Road. An ipic Theatre, Pin­stripes bowl­ing cen­ter, Ho­tel Zaza and a Lang­ham Ho­tel & Re­sort were also an­nounced.

About a year ago, the de­vel­op­ers said that the project — which orig­i­nally had been sup­posed to be­gin open­ing in the spring of 2015 — had been de­layed.

Wade Park’s first phase was then set to open in the spring of 2018, de­vel­oper Stan Thomas said. But con­struc­tion has halted on Wade Park in re­cent months.

The Whole Foods and Star­bucks are par­tially built shells. Whole Foods rep­re­sen­ta­tives say they still want to have a store in Wade Park, but no open­ing date has been an­nounced.

Of­fi­cials with Thomas Land did not re­spond to phone calls seek­ing an up­date about the de­vel­op­ment.

Com­pa­nies that have filed claims against the project say they are still try­ing to get paid.

“We’ve done ev­ery­thing we could to help them get over the hump but haven’t been able to re­solve this,” said Wade An­dres with An­dres Con­struc­tion Co.

Of­fi­cials with the con­crete con­trac­tor Cap­form said they also hadn’t been paid. “The liens are still valid and ac­tive against the own­ers of Wade Park,” said Cap­form’s at­tor­ney Jeremy Spiegel. “We plan on en­forc­ing them.”

Other con­struc­tion com­pa­nies and sup­pli­ers that are seek­ing pay­ments in­clude Redi Mix Con­crete, Wright Con­struc­tion, Vil­hauer En­ter­prises, Dam­bra Con­struc­tion, AB Glass & Glaz­ing and S&K Plumb­ing, Collin County records show.

Mil­lions in in­cen­tives

If Wade Park fal­ters, it will be a big let­down for Frisco, which has touted its $5 bil­lion mile project in na­tional ads and videos.

The city of Frisco in 2015 agreed to pro­vide up to $122 mil­lion in eco­nomic in­cen­tives to Wade Park’s de­vel­op­ers.

“We spoke to the de­vel­oper a few weeks ago and were ad­vised the de­vel­oper was close to com­plet­ing the fi­nanc­ing nec­es­sary to move for­ward with the project,” said Dana Baird, Frisco’s direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “Any Frisco Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Corp. in­cen­tives are per­for­mance-based and would only be paid once per­for­mance dead­lines are met and de­liv­ered.

“To date, no FEDC in­cen­tive pay­ments have been made to Wade Park,” she said. “At this time in the process, the city of Frisco is re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing the con­struc­tion site is se­cure; city in­spec­tors have worked with the de­vel­oper to make sure site main­te­nance mea­sures are in place.”

While Wade Park has lan­guished, the other big pieces of Frisco’s $5 bil­lion mile have moved ahead.

The first phase of the $1.5 bil­lion Frisco Sta­tion — a new of­fice build­ing — is open­ing just south of Wade Park.

And the Dal­las Cow­boys’ huge Star de­vel­op­ment, with its play­ing field, re­tail, ho­tel and of­fice build­ing, has been a suc­cess.

De­vel­op­ers of the nearby $700 mil­lion Gate project on the toll­way are build­ing apart­ments and work­ing on of­fice build­ings.

All of these Frisco de­vel­op­ments are just north of the $3 bil­lion Le­gacy West com­plex — the hugely suc­cess­ful mixed-use project that in­cludes Toy­ota’s new head­quar­ters and of­fice cam­puses for Jp­mor­gan Chase, Fedex of­fice and Lib­erty Mu­tual In­sur­ance.

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