Granite Park Will Get Pedestrian-Friendly Makeover
One of Plano's largest and most successful office campuses is gearing up to get a lot bigger and more pedestrian friendly. The 20-year-old Granite Park project at the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121 already includes 2.6 million square feet of construction.
"We originally planned to have 1.5 million square feet of office and hotel," David Cunningham with project developer Granite Properties told Plano's Planning and Zoning Commission. "Under our master plan updates, our eventual density at this corner will be more than 4 million square feet. "We've become urban."
Granite Properties is now seeking approval to increase the walkability of the complex and reduce the amount of surface parking as it tries to transform the development from a freeway suburban office park to more of a downtown-style development.
The developer has a $3.5 million capital improvement project for the upgrades that will start with better access between the existing office towers, the Hilton hotel and retail space. New pedestrian crosswalks and streetscape improvements are also part of the plan.
"One of the projects we are working on right now is we are rebuilding several of the crosswalks within Granite Park to create traffic calming," Cunningham said. The developer is also laying out a walking trail system in the mixed-use project that will be complete with "exercise venues like you might see in a public park," he said.
Granite Park's popular boardwalk restaurant complex is growing, too. "We are expanding the boardwalk now to create a musical stage on the south side of the water feature so the boardwalk can become an entertainment feature," Cunningham said. The biggest change the developer is planning for Granite Park is a rollback of required parking spaces. Granite Park has more than 13,000 parking spots in garages or surface lots. About 10,000 people work in the seven office towers in the 93-acre development. "At Granite Park right now we literally have on any given day 2,000 empty parking spots that sit unused," Cunningham said. "We want to stop building parking spots people aren't using."
Granite Properties wants to reduce its future parking construction in the project by about 2,600 spaces because of changes in demand. "It's due to a combination of Uber, rideshare, work from home, business travel and vacation," Cunningham said.
The Plano Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved Granite Properties' proposals for the development. The changes still must be OK'd by the City Council. Granite Park, when it was first planned in 1998, was on the far northern edge of Plano in an area with low-density development. It's now adjacent to the $3 billion Legacy West development which is home to Toyota, Liberty Mutual Insurance, JPMorgan Chase, FedEx Office and many other employers.
Granite Properties just sold its newest building in the project — Granite Park VII — for almost $164 million. That's one of the highest prices ever paid for an office project in North Texas.
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