After nearly six months of planning, developers for Denison’s Gateway Village broke ground Friday on a new $11 million entertainment complex near the intersection of FM 691 and U.S. Highway 75. In September, officials with HeyDay Entertainment announced plans to build the entertainment chain’s first Texas location in Denison.
“It took a lot of work to get from that day to today,” HeyDay owner Brad Little said at the ceremony. “There is more work to be done, but we will get it done.”
The complex will be developed on four acres of land just north of Denison’s Hilton Garden Inn and Texoma Event Center. Previously, developers said the venue would feature mini-golf, bowling, a restaurant and ropes course, among other features.
Earlier this week, Little said construction on the site had been delayed slightly as developers worked to finalize planning documents and submit them to the city. Despite the delays, Little said Friday that, weather permitting, the venue should be open by late 2018 to early 2019.
Following the event, Little said the development represents about $11 million in investment in the community. Construction for the building will cost between $6 million and $7 million, and interior outfitting and furnishings will cost an additional $4 million. He also noted those total do not include the cost of the four acres the facility will occupy.
Once built, Little said it may be a year or more before the final amenities within the facility are finalized and put in place, noting the features in year one and may be different from years two and three. Currently, HeyDay is watching national trends and is considering some features in the Denison site that are not included in its flagship Norman, Oklahoma, location.
Friday’s groundbreaking comes just one day after Texoma Medical Center, located just across Hwy. 75 from HeyDay, held a grand opening for its new emergency room. The ER is occupying the first floor of a new four-story tower expansion for the hospital.
During Friday’s groundbreaking, Denison Mayor Jared Johnson said both developments represent the growth that is coming toward Denison, and is currently taking place in the gateway to the city.
“Growth, expansion — if you look for it, you will see it everywhere,” Johnson said.
With the announcement of HeyDay, Johnson said the city was in a unique position as multiple entertainment-related companies expressed interest in the site. Developers for Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille, which also announced plans to open a similar development in Denison last year, initially considered the site before deciding to build near the intersection of Crawford and Hwy. 75.
To support the development, both the city and Denison Development Alliance previously approved a series of incentives valued at $1 million in total. The DDA approved a $250,000 incentive to Covenant Development for infrastructure and site preparations while the city approved $750,000 in tax abatements for the project.
In January, Ryan Johnson, president of Covenant Development, said the HeyDay development would be one of two major entertainment anchors for the retail phase of development within Gateway Village. Following Friday’s ceremony, Johnson said the second entertainment anchor could come in the form of a movie theater, indoor recreation or similar venue.
With work beginning on HeyDay, and the expected opening of the $17 million Texoma Health Foundation Park to the north, Johnson said he expects to see development begin to escalate in the area.
“We are starting to see a lot more interest now over people inquiring or just kicking tires,” he said.