CoStar Article: PGA of America Tees Up New Texas Campus As Part of $10 Billion Development

A Developer's Dream? A Clean Slate To Build a City Like Playing Legos.

By: Candace Carlisle  | Online, CoStar News | April 18, 2021

The PGA of America’s new home in one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities reached a construction milestone, making way for a larger, $10 billion, city-like project on a wide open Texas prairie site.

PGA of America, a 105-year-old golfing trade association with nearly 29,000 members, is midway through the construction process of building its headquarters in Frisco, Texas, a fast-growing suburb about 27 miles north of downtown Dallas. The campus is on track for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

About 660 acres are being transformed into what is being planned as a hub of golf innovation that includes two championship golf courses and a proposed Omni hotel and resort. Construction on the $185 million, 500-room Omni PGA Frisco Resort was delayed by a year because of the pandemic, but work is expected to start next month.

The projects are a catalyst to a much larger, 2,000-acre development called Fields, which is moving ahead as planned with master developer Fehmi Karahan and his team underway on a $100 million infrastructure project being developed in partnership with the city of Frisco.

“The PGA headquarters, two championship golf courses and the Omni hotel and resort are a great beginning, but we have 2,000 acres remaining and we are very excited about it,” Karahan said in a phone interview. “This is truly a developer’s dream, which is a clean slate and being able to play Legos of sorts as we build a city.”

Fields is expected to include up to 10 million square feet of commercial real estate and more than 10,000 homes. Unlike other real estate developments, Karahan said, work on the Fields project hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic, with design and planning continuing as expected over the past year.

“Frisco is the next big destination for big corporate relocations,” Karahan said. “We are seeing a lot of companies look at Texas for various reasons from California to New York to the state of Washington to Illinois. They are all trying to understand what the pandemic has done to their work environments, but they have made the decision they are going to relocate.”

Frisco is one of the nation’s fastest-growing large cities. From 2010 to 2019, Frisco topped the list of fastest-growing big U.S. cities with a growth rate of 71.1%, according to the Census Bureau.

PGA of America announced plans in 2018 to relocate its longtime headquarters from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, a city known for its golf courses and gated communities, to the wide-open spaces of Frisco. The trade group teed up agreements for more than $160 million of economic incentives from various Texas government entities for the relocation.

Construction on PGA’s new campus started in September, just as the popularity of golf gained momentum during the pandemic as people socially distanced and spent more time outdoors. The popularity of the game carried over from 2020 into early 2021, according to a report by the National Golf Foundation, a golf advocacy group.

At the PGA of America job site, construction crews with Adolfson & Peterson Construction had varying shifts throughout the day and night to ensure project deadlines were met even with social distancing on the job site.

“The pandemic impacted the entire world, and it impacted the construction industry,” said Granger Hassmann, a vice president at Adolfson & Peterson Construction, in a phone interview. “Luckily, we were considered an essential business, which kept us active.”

The construction company also adjusted lead times in terms of procuring materials to ensure timely delivery and supply chain delays wouldn’t affect the project timeline, Hassmann said.

Then a severe winter storm hit Texas in February, bringing below-zero temperatures to the state known for its mild winters and shutting down the Dallas-Fort Worth area for about a week.

“It wasn’t just impacted by the weather, but the power outages and the personal lives impacted by what happened that week,” Hassmann said. “We lost seven days of work on the sites. However, we’ve been able to catch up quickly, in part because we didn’t just wait for the snow to dry and the roads to be driveable and the power to come back on. We were preparing our thaw-out plan and doing small things that week so when the snow cleared, we could be more efficient.”

The mud left from the snow at the construction site was the primary hurdle for workers because the acreage is part of a large tract of raw land in Frisco, Hassmann said. The pandemic also helped shape the evolving design of PGA of America’s campus with some cost-cutting measures such as removing a grand atrium spanning the height of the building, reducing the footprint of terraces and doing away with some high-end finishes, Hassmann said.

For the Record

Cushman & Wakefield is the project manager for PGA of America’s campus, which was designed by Page. The championship golf courses are on track to open in the summer of 2022 and the Omni PGA Frisco Resort is expected to be completed in spring of 2023. For the larger Fields project, the development group includes The Karahan Cos., Dallas-based firm KDC, Hunt Realty, Republic Property Group, Chief Partners and CrossTie Capital.

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