Construction begins on new hotels and restaurants at Epic Central in Grand Prairie

Construction of a large, city-owned investment in Grand Prairie with two new hotels, a convention center and a food court is underway.

City leaders and private partners on Thursday celebrated a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of Epic Central, a 172-acre park nestled along George W. Bush Tollway and Arkansas Lane.

These will be the most recent parts of the development, which already includes five man-made lakes, a water park and a recreation center. Plans have been in the works for years and were made possible by $ 75 million in bonds approved by voters earlier this year.

Here’s what’s included, why, and how much it will cost:

Hotels

Grand Prairie will spend approximately $ 50 million to build two hotels linked by a conference center, which will open in 2023. The city will lease management and operation from Concord Hospitality.

One hotel will be a Hilton Garden Inn, with 129 deluxe rooms, an executive lounge, restaurant, swimming pool, gym and business services. The other, a Homewood Suites, will offer 147 studios, one and two bedroom suites with full kitchens.

Both hotels will attract business visitors from nearby Lockheed Martin and Airbus Helicopters, city officials said, as well as families visiting Epic Central.

Why is the city building the hotels?

Texas is giving Grand Prairie an incentive to build hotels by returning to the city all sales taxes generated in hotels and the conference center, as well as anything within 300 yards.

Conservative estimates predict that the deal will bring Grand Prairie $ 25 million over the next 10 years, according to the city. The revenue generated will exceed the cost of bond payments and increase the city’s tax base.

Few industries have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic such as the leisure and hospitality sector. After an almost complete halt to travel, the industry is unlikely to regain its pre-pandemic performance until 2025 at the earliest, according to a recent analysis from Dallas-based ThinkWhy.

This hasn’t stopped new hotels from appearing.

Loews Hotels & Co. recently announced that it will build a $ 550 million hotel in Arlington that will house the city’s new convention center. The Loews Arlington Hotel, slated to open in early 2024, will feature 888 rooms, 266,000 square feet of meeting space and the 150,000 square foot Arlington Convention Center.

Catering areas

The city is building six catering areas which will open at the end of 2022.

Restaurants will include Vidorra Cocina de Mexico; an unnamed modern American concept; Serious Pizza, Sliders and Shakes; and a new breakfast and brunch called Poach’d. A fourth space will become Loop 9 BBQ, an upscale barbecue restaurant owned by Larry Levine, the founder of Chili’s. The city said these were entertaining options for the sixth food court.

These restaurants will be just north of Chicken N Pickle, a roast chicken restaurant and pickle ball place, which is currently under construction and is slated to open in December.

Entertainment area

The city is working with the state legislature to establish an entertainment zone at Epic Central that would allow patrons to transport alcoholic beverages to the area. This is especially important because an outdoor lawn would host events.

Sundance Square in Fort Worth and Texas Live in Arlington both have this legislative approval.

And there’s more

Around hotels and restaurants is a large open outdoor space with a covered stage for events, concerts and programs.

Grand Prairie works with outside companies to develop light shows on the lakes and interactive technology and public art installations on land.

Bolder Adventure Park is also under construction, an indoor entertainment center with climbing structures, ziplines and rope courses. The opening is scheduled for summer 2022.

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