Grand Prairie is experiencing a business boom along the relatively new, and still largely undeveloped, south end of the President George Bush Turnpike.
The bevy of new businesses, including an IKEA, a Wal-Mart and a massive water park and fitness center complex called "EPIC," going up are all within one mile of one another.
“Once the George Bush Turnpike opened up [in 2012] we knew it would get into a lot of developable land, and it did,” Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen said. “We thought if we were patient enough something big would come, and it has.”
Jensen spoke with excitement this week while he watched the ongoing construction of the EPIC facilities, at Texas 161 and Arkansas Lane.
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EPIC Waters will be an indoor water park, featuring the largest retractable roof of its kind in the United States, in addition to the largest indoor water slide in America and the longest indoor lazy river in the country. It's slated to open in late 2017, according to Jensen.
Scheduled to open in early 2018, Jensen described the EPIC workout facility as a “fitness center on steroids.”
According to a news release from the City of Grand Prairie, the 140,000 square foot EPIC will include:
• gym courts
• a yoga room
• an aerobic dance room
• a spin bike room
• a theater
• artist studio
• $1 million state of the art fitness equipment with free weights
• an indoor pool with lap swim, play zone, exercise zone and lazy river/resistance walk
• an indoor track with incline
• children’s indoor playground and game room
• a culinary arts instructional classroom
• an audio and video studio.
One exit south on the PGBT, IKEA is nearing completion near Texas 161 and Mayfield Road. When IKEA opens in the fall, approximately 500 people will work at the 290,000 square foot furniture store.
The Grand Prairie IKEA will be the second in the Metroplex and the fourth in Texas. A third DFW IKEA is planned for construction in Fort Worth.
Beside the IKEA facility, Weber Development has purchased about 80 acres, according to the city, and has plans for 24 restaurant sites totaling almost 100,000 square feet, 24 retail sites totaling almost 980,000 square feet and a hotel.
“I’ve seen who [some of restaurants, businesses and hotels] are. I just can’t tell you who they are,” Jensen said.
Finishing touches are being put on a Wal-Mart on the east side of Texas 161 at Pioneer Pioneer, which is set to open in June.
A variety of fast food restaurants are also expected to open in 2017 and 2018, including Panda Express, Chick-Fil-A, El Pollo Loco, Starbucks and Chipotle, according to a news release.
“This is the vision I had. Grand Prairie has been underserved for years,” Jensen said. “I moved here in 1963 when I was 12. We have been under served in retail and restaurants for years. It’s our time. It’s our time to shine.”
In addition to the planned developments, the city noted that there are approximately 1,900 acres of open land available for development in the same vicinity.