by Valerie Wigglesworth
As construction crews worked in the background, officials gathered Wednesday afternoon for the ceremonial ground-breaking for The Tower at Frisco Square by Dallas developer Encore Enterprises.
The lead tenant for the new five-story complex at Main Street and World Cup Way will be Gearbox Software, now based in Plano. The $35.7 million development will also be home to other offices as well as retail and restaurants.
Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox, said his company decided to make Frisco its new home after outgrowing its office in Plano. He’s bringing nearly 250 software engineers, designers, artists, game developers and other creative types who develop the company’s videogames that are played around the world. He said his company could locate anywhere in the world.
“[When] I learned about the vision of Frisco and what’s going on here, I was excited to become a part of it,” he said.
Also coming to the site will be what’s believed to be the nation’s first bar and restaurant themed around videogames and information technology. The 6,200-square-foot XP Bar will feature executive chef David Michael.
Pitchford said a lot of gamers and technology folks may not go to a typical sports bars but will feel right at home with this new concept.
City officials have been committed for some time to bringing the development to reality. It was first announced to the public in 2011. In February 2013, the Frisco City Council made the relocation of Gearbox’s headquarters one of its top priorities. No other project has had the focus of the Frisco City Council like this one, Mayor Maher Maso said Wednesday.
“We’re excited to see Gearbox up here,” he said. “It’s going to help drive the technology side of what we have planned in Frisco, which we’re committed to.”
Frisco City Council member Scott Johnson said the new development will make the area a serious destination to contend with in the North Texas marketplace.
“Gearbox is a perfect example of the kind of company we want in Frisco,” he said. “It’s high salary, high growth, new technology – perfect fit for the community that we’re working hard to develop.
It will also bring a lot of new energy and enthusiasm to Frisco Square, he said.
The development has been a long time coming. Jim Leslie of Frisco Square said it’s taken 1,401 days to get the project off the ground. It’s being built next door to a 275-unit luxury apartment project recently announced by developer PegasusAblon and investor Behringer.
Together, Leslie said, “this could be the tipping point for Frisco Square.” The 147-acre mixed-use development in the center of Frisco is about 25 percent built out.
“Come the end of 2015, you’ll see a whole new vibrancy in all of Frisco Square,” Leslie said.