This post will be updated as new information is released.
Is a Universal Studios theme park coming to North Texas? Here’s what we know.
Universal Parks and Resorts bought 97 acres of land in Frisco’s Fields development. The property is east of the Dallas North Tollway, north of Panther Creek Parkway, and next to the Cobb Hill Neighborhood. The acreage is also in close proximity to the new PGA headquarters and golf courses, and the new UNT Frisco campus.
Phase one of the theme park will be on 30 acres, and include a 300 room hotel. It will offer 4-5 Attractions. No specifics on specific themes yet, yet though the properties Shrek and Madagascar have been mentioned. The park is intended to cater towards families with children under 12, with an emphasis towards kids age 3-9.
City leaders and Universal have disclosed their intent to build a buffer around the property so that it cannot be directly seen from neighboring homes or even the tollway. Many attractions will be indoors, climate controlled, and will prevent sound from being heard outside the park.
Biggest concerns I’ve heard so far are about traffic, a rise in short term rentals in residential neighborhoods, noise from the park attractions, and the impact of the park on home values. Some perspective on each:
Traffic Traffic is a valid concern. The city says the original mixed use zoning of apartments and offices would have generated more traffic and at peak times.
Short Term Rentals (STR) Short term rentals are already regulated by the city through permits and fees, and some neighborhood HOAs have limits in how many (if any) homes are allowed to be used in any rental capacity.
Noise Pollution City leaders and Universal have addressed concerns about noise by stating that their immersive environments include many indoor experiences that have to be sound controlled already so they don’t affect the guest experience. The planned buffer around the park is intended not only to keep the surrounding buildings and roads from being visible, but also to keep the sound of the park in the park, and the sounds of the highway on the highway.
Home Values The impact of a Universal theme park on home values is a mystery, despite what some real estate “experts” are putting out there. Frisco’s home values have already increased dramatically over the last few years, and large scale development projects like The Star, The Fields, and the PGA have no doubt enhanced that. It is a bit early to determine if this theme park project itself can directly affect home vales, though that won’t stop some real estate agents from telling everyone to “sell your home now” or “buy a home in Frisco now” depending on their business models. Overall, Frisco is a great place to live and it continues to get more and more attractive as a place to live.
Who will design it? In June 2023 the architectural firm Gensler was tasked to design the park. This is significant because Gensler is now led by Bob Weis, who you may remember as the former “Head of Imagineering” at Disney who was responsible for developing 200 global projects including properties in Europe and Asia.
We will post more updates here as the project develops!