With a formal opening date set for summer 2015, officials with the crazily-anticipated Grand Texas Theme Park revealed further details about the heir apparent to Houston's much-missed Six Flags AstroWorld.
During a Wednesday press conference at the Greenway DoubleTree, developer Monty Galland stressed that the project in New Caney will be far more than just roller coasters and water slides, but rather an "entertainment district" where families can spend a long weekend without leaving the 630-acre enclave.
While much of the broader design scheme was unveiled at a recent area Chamber of Commerce meeting (reported on first in Houston by CultureMap), officials shared conceptual drawings for three of seven Texas-themed areas planned for the amusement park. Grand Boardwalk aims to recreate a quaint turn-of-the-century fair, while the Pecos Territory will contain most of the wilder rides. Main Street will present a romantic look at Texas' past, emphasizing fun over historical accuracy.
"People see me in the line at H-E-B and are like, 'You're the guy who tore down AstroWorld.' . . . I'd really like to leave a different legacy."
Swaths of the site's shade trees will remain intact between each themed section, a natural technique designed to keep temperatures lower on hot days.
Beyond the 150-acre amusement park and Big River Water Park — which will take the shape of old-timey fishing village — families will be able to enjoy a massive retail and dining area dubbed DownTown Texas and spend the night in Hospitality Village, which will feature two hotels as well as an RV area called Shady Oaks. Developers noted that most of the retail and hospitality already is under contract, although business names could not be discussed.
The project also expects to feature not one, but three separate sports venues. The Ballpark of Montgomery County will host its own independent baseball team, while the Grand Texas Sportsplex offers 90 acres of "tournament ready" playing fields for local amateur teams. The East Montgomery County County Event Center will feature 200,000 square feet of space for conventions, concerts and a professional hockey team.
Grand Texas founder and CEO Chuck Hendrix — a seasoned amusement park executive who served as AstroWorld's final general manager — told CultureMap that the park project is long overdue in one of the nation's largest urban areas.
"People see me in the line at H-E-B and are like, 'You're the guy who tore down AstroWorld.' Well, I'd really like to leave a different legacy," Hendrix said.
"We have an incredible opportunity to come into the most viable city in America right now to create something the community is so truly excited about."
For more details on the park's progress, you can check out the newly-launched Grand Texas Sports & Entertainment District website.