Dream Hotel Group is expanding into Texas with a new property in Frisco, at the southwest corner of the Dallas North Tollway and U.S. Highway 380.
The 200-key hotel, which is scheduled to break ground in 2023 and open its doors in 2026, will anchor the new mixed-use development Firefly Park. The landmark project calls for 4.75 million square feet of office space, 2,200 residential units (including luxury mid- and high-rise apartments and townhomes), and 380,000 square feet of planned retail space. The project is also set to include a music hall and an outdoor amphitheater.
“We’re going to do it in spades in Frisco,” says Kyle Wilks, CEO of Wilks Development—the developer behind Firefly Park. “We’re all in. We believe this is a legacy deal, and we might only get one opportunity to do a project like this on this scale.”
If you haven’t heard of Wilks Development before, you’re probably not alone; based in the West Texas town of Cisco, the company has primarily developed mixed-use, multifamily, and industrial projects in West Texas and west of Fort Worth. The firm also is developing a 200-acre business park called Markum Ranch in West Fort Worth and a land site in Southlake that’s about 2 miles from Fort Worth Alliance Airport.
Wilks is the son of Farris Wilks, one half of the famous “Wilks Brothers,” who sold a 70 percent interest in their oil and gas services firm Frac Tech for $3.5 billion in 2011. Dan and Farris Wilks founded Frac Tech in 2002 and turned the family business into the largest independent pressure pumping provider in the country.
“The new Dream Hotel in Frisco will provide a hospitality experience unlike any other in the market today and will bring the vibrancy and entertainment of Firefly Park to a whole new level,” Wilks said in a statement.
Lynn Dowdle, president of Dowdle Real Estate and hospitality industry expert in North Texas, connected Dream Hotel Group with the Wilks Development team. “It was an honor bringing the Dream Hotels brand to this project,” she says. “It is a perfect fit for the city of Frisco and one of the most anticipated hotel openings in the region. Dream Frisco will offer up a sophisticated-cool factor like no other.”
Amsterdam-based architect UN Studio and Sasaki Associates designed Firefly Park.
Wilks says phase one of the project will include the hotel and focus on attracting unique restaurant concepts. Equally important, he says, are the 40 acres of public spaces with multiple ponds, water features, and hike-and-bike trails, as well as state-of-the-art children’s playgrounds. “It’s why I got into development,” Wilks told D CEO. “I want to create a place where you can bring your kids. My goal is to build places where I can see the community enjoy themselves for years to come.”
Firefly Park in Frisco
Wilks Development is known for adding extra flair to its projects. At The Shops at Willow Park, a mixed-use development about 20 miles west of downtown Fort Worth, Wilks commissioned an artist to create a 25-foot, stainless-steel sculpture of an alligator gar. Although he doesn’t have plans for any gigantic gars in Frisco, he says public art will be a hallmark of the new development.
When asked why he chose the name Firefly Park, Wilks says he wasn’t about to choose a dull name. “We want this place to be full of vibrancy and energy,” he says. “When you think about being a kid and running through the woods—you catch these fireflies and put them in a jar. To me, it brings back good memories of childhood and all the fun I had. … We felt like this was a good opportunity to throw a curveball and go with something with a little more flair.”
And the project will be a spark for Frisco, indeed.