London-based Balfour Beatty broke ground in November on Universal Kids Resort in Frisco, Texas, according to Brian Bruce, director of corporate communications for Universal Destinations & Experiences, a division of Comcast NBCUniversal. It’s the company’s first theme park dedicated to young children, he said in an email.
Universal executives wouldn't confirm the project’s cost, but Frisco expects the company to invest at least $550 million to build it, Axios reported. The park is scaled smaller than its others in order to be more engaging for younger guests, with a 300-room resort hotel, according to a Universal press release.
Architecture firm Gensler, which has extensive experience with theme parks, has been tapped to help design the project, according to Bruce.
Vertical construction is expected to begin early in 2024, and main parts of the park are slated to open by mid-2026. The project is expected to bring about 2,500 construction jobs to the area, per the release.
Universal Kids Resort will have a different look and feel compared to its existing parks, and will cover about one-quarter of the area, Universal said in January when it announced the project. It will take up less than half of Universal's 97-acre site off the Dallas North Tollway.
The resort will include different “lands” themed around Universal Studios characters and films, and will feature rides, shows, restaurants, shops and character meet-and-greets.
The Frisco City Council approved the special use zoning permit for the theme park in March. The city will give $12.7 million to Universal for the project, but the park and hotel on the property must open by June 2026 and meet other requirements in order to qualify for the incentive.
Universal and city officials said the park will draw 20,000 visitors on weekends and holidays and roughly 7,500 people on average weekdays. The company reportedly selected Frisco because of its growing population and ability to attract businesses, according to a city press release.