Grand Texas—the future 610-acre sports and entertainment district in New Caney—is scheduled to break ground on the first phases of construction late this summer and open to the public in early to mid-2015, reports Impact Newspaper.
The development will feature a 150-acre theme park, 40-acre water park, 83-acre sports complex, RV park with 144 lots, more than 240 hotel rooms, and 450,000 square feet of retail and dining once completed, said Monty Galland, CEO of the Grand Texas Sports and Entertainment District.
Officials also announced the addition of a 43-acre auto racing component at the park, which will be constructed on the property near the RV park and the sports complex.
The RV park is expected to break ground by the end of July and open in February 2015. The first hotels will be completed around the same time frame, he said.
Grand Texas, which is estimated to draw 1.2 million annual visitors, will be near the intersection of Highway 242 and Highway 59, about 35 miles east of Magnolia.
“We want what we refer to as ‘the district’ [to be] a destination, and as a destination, that means it’s going to drive development,” Galland said.
“We have a lot to offer that you just won’t find any place else.”
Galland said Grand Texas will differ from other theme parks in the state since it will feature Texas history and cultural elements throughout the property. The theme park will include roller coasters and other carnival attractions and is expected to span 71 acres in the first phase of construction, Galland said.
The theme park has room to add new attractions on up to 150 acres in the future.
The first phase of construction on the Big Rivers Water Park will span 28 acres. Galland said the water park has space to accommodate up to 40 acres of development, with the first section spanning an area slightly smaller than Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown in Spring.
The sports complex will include indoor facilities and 20 sports fields with high-tech turf able to withstand up to eight inches of rain per hour without game delays, Galland said. The fields are designed to accommodate a variety of sports teams, including junior and senior baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, 7-on-7 football, and rugby.
Grand Texas officials are projecting 750,000 annual visitors for the junior baseball games alone, he said.
“We are hoping to surpass Craig Ranch in McKinney [for total sports complex attendance], and they do 2 million visitors a year for all sports,” Galland said.
“The great thing about it is it creates hotel stays and hospitality as well as dining.”
In addition, the RV park will include at least 150 spaces to accommodate a wide variety of vehicles ranging in depth from 65 feet to 85 feet, Galland said. The RV park and a few hotels will be some of the first components of Grand Texas to open early next year.
On July 21, Grand Texas announced that Palmetto Racing in The Woodlands is working with Miller Performance USA in Utah to develop a multipurpose attraction called Motorsportz on 43 acres near the RV park.
The new attraction is expected to include nearly two miles of track for a combination of traditional karts, super karts that can reach speeds of up to 90 miles per hour, and test-track operations for sports cars. The venue is also expected to feature high-performance driving schools and other motorsports activities.
Up to four racetracks are planned for Motorsportz at Grand Texas and the complex will also include commercial pad sites for future hotels and restaurants.
“This type of family-oriented racing will be very well received in Houston,” Palmetto Racing owner Tim Crawford said.
“We could not be more pleased to bring this to the deserving people of this great city.”
Transportation at Grand Texas will be facilitated through a 50-acre parking lot for visitors and a few separate lots for employees and coaches, Galland said. A trolley shuttle system is planned to be installed in the coming years once the park opens, he said.
Galland said there will be a higher than typical wage for entry-level positions at the park, and there will be a large number of full-time employees. Grand Texas plans to develop a multifamily housing complex for employees, but officials are still determining the location for it.
Grand Texas officials learned lessons about preparing for future growth from the closure of Six Flags AstroWorld in 2005.
“With AstroWorld, one of the biggest things is not the closing—it was very successful—but AstroWorld’s growth potential was stunted by being boxed in,” Galland said.
“That’s why we developed [Grand Texas] with the ability to continue to grow for 30 years.”
Well it’s lonesome in this old town
Everybody puts me down
I’m a face without a name
Just walking in the rain
Goin’ back to Houston, Houston, Houston