Frisco Council to vote on PGA deal that would bring hotel, courses and majors to North Texas
Dallas News | Karen Robinson-Jacobs Brad Townsend | November 30, 2018
The PGA plans to move from its longtime home in Florida to a newly built campus at the northern edge of Frisco in a deal that could cost more than $500 million, three sources familiar with the project told The Dallas Morning News Friday.
The project would include a new 500-room resort by Dallas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts, the new 100,000-square-foot headquarters building, two championship-level golf courses and a 9-hole practice course.
It will also include a guarantee that two PGA Championships, two Women’s PGA Championships and multiple men’s Senior PGA Championships will be played in Frisco, sources said.
The cost for creating the golf courses and a clubhouse is estimated to be about $80 million, one source said.
The Frisco City Council is scheduled to vote on the deal Tuesday.
The PGA issued a statement late Friday saying that it is “pursuing an agreement for a transformational headquarters in Frisco. Until the process is complete, we will have no further comment.”
Most officials close to the project were sworn to secrecy ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
Frisco City Manager George Purefoy said the project isn’t a done deal until it is approved by the council and that the details will be released at Tuesday’s meeting.
“It certainly would be another project on the magnitude of several of the other sports-related deals that we’ve done,” Purefoy said.
Much of the project is still being designed, but one source familiar with the details said the development would include about 30,000 square feet of retail space.
The PGA project would be developed by a newly created partnership of Omni, owned by billionaire Robert Rowling, real estate company Stillwater Capital and Woods Capital. Jonas Woods was a key developer of the Trinity Forest golf course in South Dallas that is now home to the AT&T Byron Nelson.
The Frisco council’s Tuesday agenda calls for it to “consider and act upon the proposed master development agreement for facilities and related improvements by and between [the] city of Frisco, the Frisco Community Development Corporation, the Frisco Economic Development Corporation, the Frisco Independent School District, Omni Stillwater Woods Golf Resort LLC and The Professional Golfers Association of America.”
A separate item says the council will “deliberate the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property located south of US 380, north of Panther Creek Parkway, east of Teel Parkway and west of Preston Road.”
Neither agenda item gives further details on the project.
Rumors have been swirling for months that the Florida-based golf association would join Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys in Frisco, which is home to seven professional sports teams, including FC Dallas.
The new Omni would be about a 10-minute drive from the Omni hotel at the Cowboys’ Star in Frisco.
Founded in 1916, the PGA has nearly 29,000 men and women members in 41 sections across the country. The Dallas-based Northern Texas PGA section was established in 1968.
The PGA’s stated missions include establishing and elevating the standards of golf instruction and expanding interest and participation in the sport.
Starting in 1929, the men’s professional tour in the United States was operated by the PGA, but in 1968, the professional tour players voted to operate independently from club professionals, thus creating the PGA Tour.
The PGA continues to stage one of the four men’s major tournaments, the 100-year-old PGA Championship, as well as the biennial Ryder Cup, the women’s PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship and about 30 tournaments for its members and apprentices.
On Nov. 9, the PGA, during its 102nd annual meeting, elected its first female president, Suzy Whaley.
The PGA has been headquartered in Florida since 1956 and in Palm Beach Gardens since 1981. News of the PGA’s potential move to Frisco surfaced in a Golf.com report in March.
On the eve of this year’s PGA Championship in August, outgoing PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua acknowledged the association’s interest in Frisco.
“That’s still certainly a possibility,” he said, “but it’s also a possibility that we’ll stay in southern Florida or even look at opportunities around the rest of the country.
“And really, this is something that started two years ago, where we all came to the conclusion that those current buildings, while in a wonderful part of the country, just were not getting it done for us.
“And as we went out and started to talk to people about potential opportunities, we had a lot of interesting offers come our way.
“And certainly the opportunity in Frisco stood out from the others.”
Bevacqua’s comments came during the same week in which The News reported that Hunt Realty Investments had purchased Frisco’s 2,544-acre Headquarters Ranch from the estate of Bert Fields Jr. The land for the PGA project was once part of that ranch, a source said.