Developer announces Texas indoor ski resort

By | October 15, 2014

GrandAlps-3GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — At a press conference held Tuesday, October 14, 2014, Levi Davis and Sherman Thurston of Grand Alps Resort DFW Inc. announced plans to build an indoor snow ski facility and resort. To be located on Belt Line Road across the entrance from the Verizon Theatre in the city of Grand Prairie, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth. The resort is expected to cost $140 million for the 350,000-square-foot indoor ski facility and another $75 million for the Hard Rock International hotel. The complete resort will include a sports bar, wine bar, coffee & tea house, movie dinner theater with family entertainment center, and gifts & accessories stores.

The hotel will contain 300 rooms, 28,000 square feet of open meeting space, 20,000 square feet of divisible meeting space, at least two restaurants, an exercise facility, luxury spa facilities, resort style rooftop pool complex, and structured parking. The developer has committed to building a second hotel of comparable quality or expanding the existing hotel by 300 rooms within two years of the initial opening of the first hotel.

The indoor ski resort will be a year-round, world-class fourth generation indoor facility with restaurants and specialty retail, and will be integrated with the Hard Rock hotel. The snow dome will offer indoor ski slopes measuring nearly 300 feet tall and 1200 feet long, an indoor ice climbing wall, luge track and winter wonderland play area. Skiers will enjoy pristine conditions on 7 different slopes, including: beginner runs with 4 slope angles, Green runs with slopes from 6º to 10º, Blue runs to slopes from 10º to 12.5º, Black runs from 12.5º to 28º, Forest runs with trees and slopes from 12.5º to 28º. The Grand Alps facility is temperature controlled at 28º at all public times.

The city of Grand Prairie’s investment includes the land, a three-year Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds for infrastructure, 100% real estate tax abatement for seven years, and a 75% rebate of hotel motel tax for ten years after opening.

GrandAlpsThe developer anticipates ground breaking in first quarter 2015, contingent upon full financing. The project will take 34 months to construct and is scheduled to open in early 2018. The resort will create over 1,900 jobs upon full operation. The total multi-phase project is estimated to be $400 million at completion

Thurston said the group has raised $100 million to finance the project through the U.S. State Department’s EB-5 program, in which qualified foreigners can receive visas for investing in job-creating projects in the U.S. In addition, the project has received $68 million from private-equity investors and $35 million from Grand Alps itself.

Grand Alps’ is also planning indoor ski resorts in Brazil, Malaysia and China. The Grand Prairie resort would be the company’s first.

A similar indoor ski resort announced in 2009 for the city of Grapevine, Texas, never got off the ground. A 2007 proposal of the $700-million Bearfire Resort man made mountain covered with an artificial surface, and 600-room hotel near Alliance Airport in the city of Fort Worth, has been put on ice.