The Frisco City Council on Tuesday unanimously moved to rezone the 88.2 acres of land that houses Dr Pepper Ballpark to make way for a potential addition to the space.
On the intersection of the northeast corner of Dallas Parkway and Ikea Drive, the council lifted the previous zoning ordinance that was adopted in 2002, in hopes of installing a major hotel adjacent to the ballpark.
Anthony Satarino, the planning manager for Frisco, told the council that a new zoning outline was necessary due to the limitations the 2002 measure put on a future hotel. In the previous ordinance, a hotel was capped at 600 beds, and the area surrounding the hotel was not zoned to be nonresidential. In order for a hotel to be built, the business would need restaurants, offices and other installations around it to survive. These were prohibited prior to the council’s vote.
“The original ordinance was adopted for the purpose of creating a mixed use district centered around anchor sports facilities and the convention center,” Satarino said. “Since then the north section of the land has developed, leaving a 14-acre tract on the northeast corner vacant.”
Satarino said hotel plans have been submitted to the office of Planning and Zoning Commission to be placed inside the 14-acre tract of land south of the stadium. Since 2013, the land has been owned by Frisco Community Development Corporation and could be built immediately once a design is approved and businesses are put in place.
As of now, the area is being used as parking for the ballpark. Satarino said in order to compensate for the loss of parking, the hotel and offices, would put in place a joint use parking area to meet the demands of a capacity crowd in the ballpark and the hockey arena. The council lofted the idea of a parking structure being erected. The new ordinance demands that any office, or hotel, share parking during games or events.
“I don’t have any issues with the hotel. The RoughRiders are a long standing amenity in Frisco, an attraction,” Councilman Will Sowell said. “I want to make sure we are taking care of their parking needs as we move forward with the rest of the development. We don't just want the standard parking garage approach. It is just different when you have everyone leaving at one time compared to trickling in to the office.”
Mayor Jeff Cheney also indicated that his concerns were more about the future developments on the 14 acres rather than just the 4.3 acre proposed hotel.
“How do we make it an experience zone tied to the stadium for the rest of the property? It will be nice to finally put some life in there and have things for people to do before and after events,” Cheney said.
As for the hotel, the council sees the opportunity to increase visitors as well as revenue.
“I mean this is a good thing. It means more beds, more heads in beds and that is great for Frisco. One of the things that will come out of this is more art money,” Councilwoman Shona Huffman said. “People who are not from Frisco will come in and spend money here.”