Five Star Development Co. will break ground in October on a 12-year project for a $170 million, mixed-use “vintage” development on 145 acres in Frisco.

The creation of a circa-1920s town square, including municipal buildings, marks the largest project undertaken by the development company, based in the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound. Frisco Square’s first phase will consist of about 400,000 sf of office, retail, restaurant and apartment space. Major construction for the first phase will get under way in first quarter 2001 and tentatively is set for completion by year’s end. When it is fully developed, Frisco Square will total more than three million sf.

Five Star, headed by Cole McDowell, is teaming with nationally renowned architect David Schwarz of Washington, D.C. Schwarz is best known in the region for his designs at Sundance Square in Ft. Worth, The Ballpark at Arlington and the under-construction American Airlines Center in Dallas.

A source told that decisions are pending for the selection of four other high-profile architects and several well-known residential home builders to round out the project’s core team. A decision could be forthcoming by the end of next week.

Frisco City Council has formed a Public Improvement District to provide infrastructure for the project, being characterized as a new urbanism development blending retail, office, residential and municipal facets into one undertaking. Officials say Frisco Square has the potential to create about 9,300 non-governmental jobs and accommodate 1,200 municipal employees.

In a prepared statement for, McDowell says the project will quickly move to engineering and construction phases now that he has closed on the acreage. The land is located on the southeast corner of the Dallas North Tollway and FM 720. He says the closing is “the first step in bringing the citizens of Frisco a new downtown community.”

The development, a neo-traditional design, features 15 parks, 30,000-sf heritage center, 80,000-sf library, church facilities for seating 1,400 people and some 300,000 sf for government offices. Ultimately, the project will provide 1.75 million sf dedicated to office space, 550,000 sf for retail, 110,00 sf for restaurants and 900 apartment units. The development will include a 16-screen, 3,800-seat theater.

The residential component calls for three-story buildings: quaint retail on the street level, professional offices on the second floor and loft apartments on the upper level. Residences will be situated in the southern section of the development while property abutting the Dallas North Tollway is dedicated for 15 to 20 pads to house two banks, three full-service restaurants with a common courtyard, major grocer, drug store, gas station, two fast-food restaurants and a five-star hotel.

According to the source, the owner for Health & Athletic Center, which is building at Five Star’s Parker Square complex, has already made a space commitment for Frisco Square. Other Parker Square tenants also have indicated plans to lease space in McDowell’s newest and largest project of the near three decades that he has been building in the metroplex.

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