Grand Prairie, Tx. – At 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, the city of Grand Prairie and its hotel, conference center and restaurant partners will break ground on EpicCentral, 2960 Epic Place, Grand Prairie. The 172-acre park site is located in the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex off George W. Bush Tollway (Highway 161) and Arkansas Lane.
The city is building two connecting hotels with a shared conference center, six restaurant spaces, parking garage and creating a water/light show on the lakes as well as interactive technology experiences on the land. EpicCentral will emphasize Grand Prairie’s family, friendly, fun culture and offer exciting new dining and entertainment experiences.
Hotels, conference center. Grand Prairie will build two connecting hotels with a conference center in EpicCentral, with the two hotels being Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites to open in 2023. Concord Hospitality is providing construction development and procurement services. The Hilton Garden Inn will offer 129 luxury rooms, executive lounge, restaurant, pool, fitness room and business services. The Homewood Suites will offer 147 studio, one- and two-bedroom suites with full kitchens.
The conference center will offer a 10,000-square-foot ballroom with seating for up to 1,000. The ballrooms can be divided into five conference rooms in addition to an executive conference room with seating for 10 across the hall. The complex is designed by Merriman Anderson Architects, and built by Arch-Con Corporation. Interiors will reflect the flora and fauna of the north Texas prairie in tones of blue, green and whites, with accents of orange and red.
Restaurant Spaces. The city is building six restaurant spaces designed by Merriman Anderson Architects and built by Hill & Wilkinson Construction Management in EpicCentral to open late 2022 and has negotiated terms with Milkshake Concepts to bring Vidorra Cocina de Mexico; an American modern concept; Serious Pizza, Sliders and Shakes; and a new breakfast/brunch concept called Poach’d. Larry Lavine, the founder of Chili’s, will open Loop 9 BBQ in a fifth space. The city is entertaining options for the sixth restaurant space. This is all going just north of Chicken N Pickle, offering farm fresh foods and indoor/outdoor pickleball courts, and opening December 2021.
The American modern restaurant will be an approachable neighborhood restaurant and bar, suitable for all of life’s gatherings; a business lunch, a happy hour cocktail, an intimate meal or a relaxed place to eat and unwind with friends. Its artisanal menu offers a variety of unique delicacies for all palates.
Vidorra Cocina de Mexico celebrates Mexican food, drink and culture. The restaurant offers bold and exciting Mexican flavors, a unique cocktail program, lively social experience and rooftop patio.
Serious Eats will feature the infamous Serious Pizza and introduce Serious Sliders and Serious Shakes.
The restaurant space will feature expansive seating, a full bar, and a live music stage that faces both the interior and the lawn. Finally, Milkshake Concepts – one of Dallas’ most dynamic and fastest growing hospitality groups – will launch their new breakfast/brunch concept called Poach’d.
In a fifth restaurant site, Dallas entrepreneur Larry Lavine, who founded Chili’s in Dallas in 1975, and his partners, will open Loop 9 BBQ. Lavine helped launch Ten50 BBQ in Richardson in 2014. Loop 9 fare will tempt guests with great barbecue, melt-in-your-mouth brisket, burnt ends, pork ribs, beef ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and farm fresh poultry. From scratch sides include hand cut fries, mouth-watering mac n’ cheese, crisp coleslaw, hand battered onion rings and Grandma’s creamy potato salad. Hand crafted golden crust fresh fruit pies and cobblers provide a sweet ending to every barbecue celebration.
The city is entertaining options for the sixth restaurant space.
Open Space. Surrounding the hotels and restaurants is a large outdoor open space with covered stage for events, concerts and programs.
Water/Light Show and Land Experiences. The city of Grand Prairie is working with Outside the Lines (OTL), 900lbs of Creative and End Design to design and fabricate creative and innovative placemaking attractions at EpicCentral, with construction to start 2022, opening late 2022. OTL, a design-build specialty construction company, creates one-of-a-kind water features, rock work and themed environments. 900lbs is an interactive design agency that creates a diverse range of interactive initiatives and visual content to showcase the art of the possible using an arsenal of cutting-edge technologies. End Design is a leader in fabricating high quality custom goods and jaw dropping public art installations.. The experiences will repeat daily and be refreshed 3-4 times per year. Design concepts may integrate technology, water, lighting, image projection and other inventive ideas.
EpicCentral also home to. Reflecting innovation and community investment, EpicCentral is also home to Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark; The Summit recreation center for adults ages 50+; The Epic Arts, Fitness and Entertainment Center; PlayGrand Adventures, an all-inclusive playground; Prairie Paws Adoption Center; Central Bark dog park; and the Grand Prairie Public Safety Building. Amenities include five lakes, a grand lawn, boardwalk, and pad sites for future retail opportunities.
Chicken N Pickle. Opening in late 2021 just south of the hotels is Chicken N Pickle. Chicken N Pickle is the wildly popular, indoor/outdoor entertainment complex centered around pickleball, offering a variety of games, a casual, chef-driven restaurant and sports bar. The 77,000-square-foot venue will feature a dining room, six indoor pickleball courts, five outdoor pickleball courts (two covered), and 7,500 square feet of outdoor yard games. A large rooftop bar, stages for live performances and the signature lawn games for which Chicken N Pickle is known round out the property. In this joint venture between the company and the City of Grand Prairie, the city will own the land, develop parking needs and lease to Chicken N Pickle. Chicken N Pickle will operate the facility.
Bolder Adventure. In addition, Bolder Adventure Indoor Adventure Park broke ground in EpicCentral in August 2021. Bolder Adventure is an indoor family entertainment facility that will provide adventure-based attractions in a 66,000-square-foot pneumatic dome structure with ceiling heights of approximately 75 feet. Guests will be offered a unique opportunity to experience rock climbing, zip lines, via ferrata, ropes courses, tubing slides, synthetic ice skating, adventure nets and more. The venue plans to open summer 2022, and Grand Prairie would be its first nationwide location.
Grand Prairie – Nearly 60 years after the historic March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famed “I Have a Dream” speech, Grand Prairie city officials announced the renaming of a major thoroughfare in remembrance of the celebrated Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Council members voted last month to rename the street as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and city officials and community residents gathered Saturday morning to dedicate new signage for 19th Street.
The observance came on the anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. That rally, held Aug. 28, 1963, drew more than 250,000 people – the largest crowd ever at that time – to the nation’s Capitol in a call for economic justice and voting rights for Black Americans.
Organizers said Saturday the historical significance of the 1963 March was not unnoticed.
“We’re excited because this day…is the 58th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington,” the Rev. Denny Davis, pastor of St. John Church Unleashed in Grand Prairie, said to those gathered at David Daniels Elementary Academy of Math and Science for the street dedication.
“It was that march that inspired President (John F.) Kennedy to go forth on civil rights legislation,” said Davis, who offered opening remarks for the event. “We come today to dedicate 19th Street in honor and in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Across the country, thousands of Americans rallied in cities and rural communities to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington and to renew calls for expanding – not limiting – Americans’ access to voting.
In Washington, D.C., 75,000 people were expected on the National Mall Saturday for the “March On for Voting Rights,” an event that featured Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King, III.
Dr. King’s 13-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, who also spoke during the program, said limiting voting rights is “unacceptable.”
“It’s easier to register to own a gun than it is to register to vote,” she said. “Think about that. If you are a Congressperson protecting firearms, why won’t you protect the right to vote?”
Similar rallies were held outside City Hall in St. Petersburg, Fla., the King Center in Atlanta, and other cities and towns across the country.
In Mississippi, the Chickasaw Inkana Foundation in Tupelo hosted a panel discussion to form plans to tangibly carry out Dr. King’s vision for his “beloved community,” the Daily Journal, a Northern Mississippi newspaper reported in its Saturday morning e-edition.
Many of those who gathered at rallies Saturday called on the U.S. Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which members of the House of Representatives passed earlier this year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday on her official Twitter account that 58 years after the March On Washington, “Americans are marching again today for our democracy.”
“With state laws disenfranchising voters and making it harder to vote, we need the Senate to pass the For the People Act and the House-passed John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act,” Pelosi tweeted.
She was joined Saturday by African American civil rights organizations, including the NAACP, and national service sororities, in encouraging their members to call their respective senators and demand immediate passage of the bills.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a national sisterhood of 350,000 initiated members, emailed its “Sorors” late Saturday evening alerting them that the national Sorority had called on “Senate leadership to eliminate the filibuster, so these crucial bills have a chance at passage.”
“An antiquated procedural tactic should not stand in the way of essential voting rights protections for all Americans,” the email read.
“Delta Sigma Theta asks all members and allies to contact their U.S. Senators and demand passage of the For the People and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Acts,” the email read. “The time to act is now. We cannot wait any longer for Congress to ensure access to the ballot box for all citizens, restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and stop insidious attempts to suppress the votes of citizens of color.”
In Grand Prairie, Mayor Ron Jensen, who is white, told the diverse crowd that he recognized the nation’s racial divide, but that it could be bridged.
In an interview with Texas Metro News after the mayor addressed the group, he said he had less influence over national and state decisions but could influence his neighbors and constituents who are local.
“I can’t worry about what’s going on in Washington or in Austin,” he said after Saturday’s ceremonies ended. “I have things I can do in Grand Prairie to promote unity.”
He said the renaming of 19th Street – a mile and a half stretch of roadway that runs north and south through Grand Prairie – would show “everybody in this city we value you.”
“We’re an inclusive city,” the 70-year-old mayor said.
Others in attendance celebrated the street renaming as a milestone in race relations in Grand Prairie.
Vandella Menifee, who moved to the city from Atlanta 15 years ago, said she doubted that a vote to approve a street renaming after an African American would have happened in previous years.
“The city has really changed since Ron Jensen became mayor,” she said. “When he says ‘Things need to come together,’ he means it.”
Jonathan Mendez, 30, grew up in Dalworth, the historic Black community of Grand Prairie, and home to a stretch of 19th Street.
“The renaming of the street is awesome,” he said, fanning his head and wiping away sweat from his face. “It’s going to be life-changing.”
“Martin Luther King wanted everybody to come together as a nation,” he said. The street renaming “reminds us of unity.”
Linda Egbuonu, an NAACP member and chair of the local branch’s education committee, agreed.
She said she could see proof of Dr. King’s vision of racial unity at Saturday’s event itself, which was attended by African American residents alongside white and Latino city officials, police officers and others from various backgrounds – all of who clapped loudly upon the unveiling of the street signage.
Looking out at the crowd, Egbuonu called attendance at Saturday’s event “amazing.”
“When Martin Luther King said ‘I have a dream,’ this is one of his dreams,” she said.