Before the Dallas Cowboys, FC Dallas and the Rough Riders settled in Frisco, developer Craig Hall had the only game in town for office space.
The almost 20-year-old Hall Park on the Dallas North Tollway is still the largest office campus in Frisco.
And a new development plan — including another office tower — could increase the size of Hall Park more than 40 percent.
“I think we have 1 million square feet more of potential building,” developer Craig Hall said. “We can build for another seven to 10 years.”
During the next few months, Hall plans to start work on a 12-story office high-rise that will be the tallest yet for his Hall Park at Gaylord Parkway and the tollway.
The 162-acre office campus now has more than 2 million square feet of buildings that house about 180 companies.
Hall’s planned tower at Warren Parkway and the tollway — near The Star in Frisco, the Dallas Cowboys’ new headquarters — will be the 17th building in the project.
When Hall started buying land for the development in 1989 and 1990, the tollway wasn’t yet built and none of the surrounding development was there. Much of the area was still farmland.
Hall had to pay for the first building starts out of pocket because lenders didn’t believe the location was suitable for businesses — it was too far north of Dallas.
“For many years we were considered to be on the wrong side of State Highway 121,” Hall said. “Now we hear people say they don’t want to go south of 121.
“I never would have guessed that would happen,” he said. “This project has exceeded every expectation I ever had.”
Even with all the construction in Plano and Frisco, Hall Park is still one of the largest office developments in Collin County.
“It has always been Frisco’s premier office park,” said Jim Gandy, who heads the Frisco Economic Development Corp. “More than 8,000 people populate the park daily.
“It has been an incredible development for Frisco that has brought so many companies and jobs to our city.”
Hall’s office development predates all the retail construction in the area, including nearby Stonebriar Center mall.
“When he opened his first building, there was not a paved road to it,” Gandy said. “He was a pioneer and building in a green field.
“He has been the leader of the pack in terms of build it and they will come.”
Some of the first buildings in Hall Park were two to four floors, and the parking was on surface lots or in garages with just one deck of spaces.
Hall said he’s looking at long-term development plans that would replace parking lots and single-level garages with more office buildings. The parking would be housed in new multilevel structures.
“Our plan is to not build on our green space,” he said. “I plan to eventually build a 14- or 16-story office building at the south end of the park.”
Hall Group is doing a redesign of the entire campus, adding more outdoor features and tenant amenities such as retail and restaurants.
“A third of the land at Hall Park is green space or water features,” said Kim Butler, director of leasing at Hall Group. “We are enhancing our walking trails.
“We are putting outdoor gathering places in two places adjacent to the lake,” she said. “And everybody wants more food in the park.”
Construction is under way on a shopping center on Gaylord Parkway that will include four or five new restaurants. The Hall Plaza project, which opens in January, is being built in partnership with Hall Group and the Weitzman Group.
Butler said the office buildings in Hall Park are more than 95 percent leased. That’s why starting the next project is critical.
“The reason we are deciding to go forward with the building is we are continue to see companies move into the Frisco area,” she said. “And we are continuing to see companies already there add more employees or determine they are going to grow a particular business unit here.”
Major business tenants in Hall Park include AmerisourceBergen, Moneygram, ThyssenKrupp, Fiserv, Schlumberger, Paycor, Randstad, University of North Texas, Transplace, Cardtronics and Jamba Juice, which recently moved its headquarters from California.
“We’ve been successful because the companies in the park have been successful,” Butler said. “We are already getting interest in our next building.’
The 300,000-square-foot office tower will be designed by architect HKS, the same firm that did the last office project at Hall Park.
That eight-story building opened in 2014 on Warren Parkway.
“It will be similar to the building just finished, but we have added a few more bells and whistles,” Butler said. ” We felt the location [overlooking the tollway] warranted a building that size. “
The new tower is in the same area where the Dallas Cowboys are building the $1 billion Star development, which opens this month. And it’s just south of the $1.7 billion Frisco Station and Wade Park, a planned mixed-use project on the east side of the tollway.
“It wasn’t too many years ago I would get a call and brokers would say you are just too far north,” Butler said. Now Hall Park is just south of Frisco’s much touted $5 million mile, which doesn’t even include the Hall Group’s development.
Hall Park — including the potential development sites — is worth more than $1 billion, according to Frisco estimates. In previous years, Hall considered selling all or part interest in the campus.
“We are very lucky and glad we didn’t sell it,” Hall said. “We are now looking at this as a long-term core asset.
“I feel like 10 or 20 years from now, it will still be a great location.”
Along with the new office and retail space, Hall Group is evaluating a couple of potential hotel projects for Hall Park.
“We are temporarily holding work on the hotel because there are so many hotels coming into Frisco,” Hall said. “We’ve looked at putting in some apartments, but I think we are going to stick with emphasizing what we are — an office park.”
Hall, who once held an ownership stake in the football team, said it’s too early to say how having the Dallas Cowboys’ new office, retail and hotel complex next door will affect his project.
“The Cowboys are good for Frisco, and anything that’s good for Frisco we are in favor of.”