Work progresses on new Cowboys headquarters in Frisco

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Construction will start this month on the entertainment district that will serve as the gateway to the Dallas Cowboys’ new training facility in Frisco.

Much of the work this past year at the site known as The Star in Frisco has focused on the public portion of the project — an indoor stadium, an underground parking garage and two outdoor practice fields — along with the team’s new headquarters building.

The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.Ly/1HXyqwc ) reports the private development piece is just getting started as part of this joint effort among the Cowboys, the city of Frisco and Frisco Independent School District.

Despite some setbacks from the rainy weather, crews are putting in extra hours to meet the June 2016 opening date for the main attraction.

Frisco assistant city manager Ron Patterson said safety is the No. 1 goal for the more than 575 people on site each day. But a close second is staying on schedule.

“We are going to have the doors open on time,” he said.

Costs are capped at $90 million for the city and school district to contribute to the publicly owned portion of the project. The remaining costs come from the Cowboys. The Frisco City Council has so far approved 14 work authorizations with expenditures totaling more than $220 million.

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“And it’s still going in an upward direction,” Patterson said. That’s mostly because of additions and upgrades made by the team.

Patterson said work doesn’t proceed until the money is in the bank from the Cowboys. But that hasn’t been a problem for the team’s owners, who are up to date on their share, Patterson said.

Initial estimates put the guaranteed maximum price for the public amenity at more than $252.5 million. Patterson said that figure, like the work authorizations, includes pay and performance bonds from contractors. Those will eventually go away once the project is done.

He said he believes actual construction costs will end up being about $219 million.

A major milestone comes later this month as crews set the first of what will eventually be about a dozen trusses to support the roof of the indoor stadium. The 395-to-420-foot-long steel trusses require a special crane to do the heavy lifting.

“It’s quite a process to install the roof,” said Shannon Jones, senior superintendent for Manhattan Construction, the project’s general contractor.

Once the roof is done, the bulk of the indoor work on the 557,000-square-foot stadium can begin.

The 12,000-seat stadium will serve not only as a training ground for the Cowboys but also as a hub for high school football games and other youth events.

The stadium and a convention center planned inside the adjacent Omni Frisco Hotel are also attracting outside interest. Marla Roe, executive director of the Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, said her office is already negotiating with a handful of groups looking to book events there in 2017.

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And now that the public portion is well under way, construction on the rest of the site is getting started. Concrete for the streets is being poured. And dirt is being moved to make space for the two parking garages south of the stadium.

Those will get wrapped with retail and restaurants that play prominently along The Star Boulevard. Construction on that entertainment district starts this month, Patterson said.

The entire 91-acre site sits along the Dallas North Tollway just north of Warren Parkway. Early estimates peg the project as a $1 billion development, but that figure could go up as plans continue to fall into place.

It’s one of four projects touted in the city’s $5 Billion Mile, which also includes Frisco Station, The Gate and Wade Park. The developers for the various projects are talking with each other as well as properties to the north and south to improve connectivity. The idea is to make it easy for folks to travel from one project to the next, whether by road or by trail.

Construction, meanwhile, continues with the Cowboys’ headquarters, which consists of two six-story towers. A good chunk of space will be taken up by the team’s operations. But officials are also looking for private companies interested in leasing space there.

Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, a sports facility planning and advisory firm based in Plano, is studying offerings for an exclusive members-only Cowboys Club adjacent to the headquarters.

As described in an online survey, the club could include a 12,000-square-foot restaurant and lounge. Members would have views of the teams’ outdoor practice fields and be eligible for invitations to watch team practices. They might also have access to Cowboys FIT, a state-of-the-art health club with workout equipment, a rooftop pool and spa services. The club would also have space for members to conduct business, host meetings, and network with other professionals.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.Dallasnews.Com.

This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Dallas Morning News.

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