Universal theme park idea attracts resistance from NIMBY in Frisco

Left to right: Universal’s John McReynolds; Mayor of Frisco Jeff Cheney (Getty, Frisco, TX, 2015 Universal Orlando Resort)

Here’s the neighborhood: Frisco residents aren’t sure Shrek is moving into their backyard.

Universal Leaders, City Leaders and Local Developers Outlined Plans for a Frisco amusement park to neighboring owners on Wednesday evening. It didn’t go as they hoped, the Dallas Business Journal reported.

The more than 100 attendees peppered them with questions about traffic, noise, the impact on surrounding property values ​​and the park’s appearance. One attendee expressed concern that nearby homes could become Airbnb rentals for park visitors.

John McReynolds, senior vice president of external affairs for Universal, assured the crowd that property values ​​have increased around Universal’s theme parks in Orlando, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

“I monitor the company’s real estate issues and I don’t know of a single surrounding area that hasn’t gone up in value,” McReynolds said. “Property values ​​have gone up under all circumstances, and in Orlando alone there are six HOAs I deal with.”

The Frisco Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council have yet to approve the project, which may not happen if the community unites against the idea.

There’s also an incentive deal set to be finalized within the next month, according to Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney. The incentives will be tied to road and infrastructure improvements made by the city to benefit the park in exchange for the sales tax revenue the park is expected to generate, he said.

Cheney is supportive of the development, although he hasn’t said his decision is made.

“What was planned for this site was much denser than what is proposed,” Cheney said. “Traffic impacts from high-rise buildings, offices, mixed-use hotels and all intended uses for this site would likely have been thousands of additional cars per day.”

As for noise concerns, Page Thompson, president of New Ventures for Universal Parks & Resorts, explained it this way:

“As you enter each country, we want to immerse you in the world of that story,” Thompson said. “For the sake of discussion, let’s say this is Shrek country. Shrek lives in a swamp. You will therefore enter an environment that resembles a swamp. The music of this country will be the music of the Shrek movies. Next to this land will be another character-themed land. We don’t want the music or sound from Shrek country to spill over into the neighboring country, because that will ruin the experience of being in an immersive place.

“So we’re trying to contain the sound in that terrain — not just in the park, but in part of the park,” Thompson continued. “We’re going to work really hard to contain that sound.”

-Maddy Sperling

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