FRISCO — Frisco is plunking down $61 million to buy a big chunk of land along a major corridor where it will add more athletic fields and open space.
The City Council unanimously approved the purchase of about 390 acres from Brinkmann Ranch on Tuesday. The sale is expected close on Feb. 5.
Mayor Jeff Cheney called the deal a bold move that would not only serve the city’s growing population but also draw more visitors for sports tournaments.
"This project is really going to set Frisco’s future up to make sure we have adequate park space for generations," Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said.
The undeveloped land, which will be split among the city and its development corporations, is at the southwest corner of Preston Road and the future Panther Creek Parkway.
About 240 acres from the purchase is planned for a park that would be more than double the size of some of Frisco’s existing parks with athletic fields. Warren Sports Complex, for example, which is just south of the new park, is 105 acres.
Dallas’ Fair Park, which hosts the State Fair of Texas each year, is 277 acres.
Frisco is expected to build fields and courts for a variety of sports, including baseball, football, tennis, volleyball, lacrosse and cricket. Plans are also likely to include hike and bike trails, a pond and plenty of parking.
"This land purchase gets us significantly closer to meeting our city’s needs for community parks at ‘build-out,’ " Shannon Keleher, the city’s Parks & Recreation director, said in a release. "While the layout of the land has yet to be determined, we’re excited about the opportunity to shape something special."
The city will use general obligation bonds to buy the park land. The Frisco Community Development Corp. will pay $23 million of the total price for 100 acres to use for future development, which could include city facilities. Specific plans have not yet been developed.
The Frisco Economic Development Corp. will consider buying the remaining 50 acres later this month. If the EDC decides against the $9.1 million purchase, that acreage will be split between the city and the CDC, Assistant City Manager Nell Lange said.
This sign beside Preston Road in Frisco identifies the land being purchased by the city for a park.
The involvement of the CDC and EDC allows the city to control the development adjacent to the park land, Cheney said.
The land, which had long been zoned to allow multifamily development, is part of the ranch owned by Dallas businessman Baxter Brinkmann.
Many Frisco residents have been up in arms over the large number of apartment complexes being built across the city in recent years. A 2016 report ranked Frisco as the second-busiest apartment market in the country. Frisco’s purchase of the land means that about 1,100 apartments will be subtracted from the number projected to be built in the city.
Council member Will Sowell said the city seized a great opportunity.
"Being able to secure a large parcel of land now at 2018 dollars is a lot better than having to wait 10 to 15 years to secure that," he said.
The city purchased 390 acres at the southwest corner of Preston Road and the future Panther Creek Parkway.