FRISCO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – It was supposed to be a $2 billion, 175-acre mixed-use real estate development at Lebanon Road and Dallas North Tollway in Frisco.
But more than five years after its highly celebrated groundbreaking, the Wade Park development has stalled and residents’ frustrations have grown.
“It is a very big eyesore,” said Frisco resident Kathy Marie. “If nothing else, the city should come in and say ‘we don’t want this.’ ”
This summer, Gamma Real Estate, which loaned the original developer $150 million for the project, took over Wade Park.
With new ownership, Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney said he believes the years of frustration with the stalled project are finally behind the city. No construction work has been done on the site for the past two years.
“For the longest time this has been the dark cloud over Frisco but the outlook now is finally bright,” Cheney said.
At a time when other nearby developments – including the Dallas Cowboy’s Star and Frisco Station – took off, Wade Park did not.
The proposed massive development was supposed to be home to luxury hotels, retail, office space, and an entertainment district.
Today the prime real estate site is home to weeds, abandoned construction equipment, and a dilapidated fence.
What was supposed to serve as an underground parking garage is now a five story deep concrete hole, mockingly known by residents as Lake Lebanon.
During the years city officials publicly expressed optimism for the project, but the CBS 11 I-Team learned behind the scenes there were concerns early on.
The developer behind Wade Park, Stan Thomas, had a reputation of taking on massive debt to develop massive projects.
It’s what enabled him to build many of the country’s biggest shopping centers, including The Rim in San Antonio.
But along with the booms, there’s been several busts.
Before Wade Park, Thomas had grand plans to turn The Railyards in Sacramento into a multi-billion dollar development but the project fell through after Thomas could not pay his loans on the project.
Now, it’s a similar story with Wade Park.
As the liens against Wade Park added up, the patience of the lenders and the city eventually ran out.
In 2015, the Frisco City Council approved $122,750,000 in tax incentives for the Wade Park development.
The money came with the stipulation that the project would be finished no later than December 31, 2017. The city later extended the deadline to 2019 before terminating the agreement in March of this year.
“Stan Thomas’ phase one was a very aggressive approach,” explained Cheney. “They were trying to do more in phase one than a developer would typically do and I think that was probably their biggest challenge.”
The I-Team reached out to Stan Thomas and officials with Thomas Land and Development for comment but repeated emails and phone calls were not returned.
Cheney said the city is “no longer looking in the rearview mirror” and is optimistic about the future of Wade Park under new ownership.
The mayor said city officials have already met with Gamma Real Estate about immediately cleaning up the property. He added Gamma is also working with several potential developers and said residents can be excited about the future for this key piece of property.