Frisco Square is a 148-acre master plan for an extension of the City of Frisco’s existing downtown. The city has evolved over the last two decades into one of the five fastest-growing municipalities in the US. Frisco Square is planned to accommodate this growth by extending Main Street through the development towards a new tollway and echoing the existing street grid.
Thoughtful, Civic Development
The land on which Frisco Square is built was originally an agglomeration of odd-shaped land parcels owned by various parties, including the City. The leaders of the City Government recognized that all of the land would be more valuable if the City’s land was thoughtfully distributed throughout the combined whole. Civic structures, including a library, police station & heritage center have been given the most prominent sites in the master plan, often terminating the axis of vistas along the streets. City Hall has been located on a new civic square that bisects Main Street, on axis with the extension of an existing collector street that continues to the north.
Fostering a Pedestrian Friendly Environment
A primary project goal was to create a pedestrian-oriented development that would foster a sense of community for a city whose recent commercial development consists of several strip centers, pad site restaurants and large shopping mall. The City of Frisco, recognizing the unique opportunity at Frisco Square, allowed the existing city zoning code to be replaced in its entirety with new, pedestrian-oriented zoning regulations. These regulations still accommodate suburban parking requirements, while coordinated development allows for the creation of a pedestrian-oriented street environment with parking in surface lots behind the buildings. Years later, as the development grows, parking decks can be built in these lots to meet the needs of Frisco Square.
In creating a pedestrian-friendly environment, streets have shop windows and building entrances directly fronted onto the sidewalk. Street trees, period street lamps, and benches further articulate the sidewalk edges throughout the commercial district. Exterior materials consist of brick, stone and cast stone. Corbelled and polychromed brickwork, oriel windows, corner turrets, show windows, canopies, awnings and signage are variously employed to create the fine layer of detail characteristic of traditional, pedestrian-oriented environments.
Bringing a mix of uses to the site in close proximity to each other is important to reinforcing Frisco Square as Frisco’s downtown. The master plan accommodates a total build-out of approximately three million square feet of retail, restaurant and office uses in four-story buildings, 1.3 million square feet of apartment uses and over 300 new townhouse lots. The master plan is viewed as a blueprint for a fifteen- to twenty year build-out and is therefore flexible enough to allow for a variety of future development.
Designing for Districts
Frisco Square is divided into four distinct districts, each defined by a prominent but not specific use: Commercial, had the Central, Residential and Highway.
The Commercial District is comprised of the blocks and streets that surround Main Street. The office and retail buildings within the commercial district are all designed as four-story structures with predominantly office space on the upper floors, and shops and restaurants at street level. Many buildings in the Commercial District will initially contain residential uses, which are convertible to office space at a later date. The Commercial District has the civic square at its heart. The civic square, which functions as both a formal town park and a place to host community events, is anchored by City Hall and creates a focus for the entire master plan. It is surrounded on three sides by a retail arcade, which will provide protection and relief from inclement weather and the harsh Texas sun.
Upper stories in the Central District are intended to be used primarily for apartments and condominiums. Lower floors are will allow for both residential and neighborhood service retail. The Library and Church will anchor the Central District.
The Residential District is comprised of single-family residences surrounding a series of small squares and parks. Streets in the Residential District are bisected by these squares to provide both pleasant vistas and to keep traffic speeds down. Alleys provide access for garbage and recycling collection, as well as private garages for each lot.
The Highway District fronts the Dallas North Tollway and provides for convenience shopping. The highway district is meant to act as a transition from the typical highway development that has occurred along the Dallas North Tollway to the more pedestrian-oriented heart of Frisco’s downtown that will be Frisco Square. Unlike typical highway pad sites, buildings in the highway district would be required to reinforce Frisco Square’s street edges and promote pedestrian activity without compromising quick vehicular access and movements.