First Major U.S. Cricket Stadium Heading To North Texas OZ, Could Spur CRE Development

Grand Prairie, Texas, greenlighted plans this week to transform a former minor league baseball venue into the first major league cricket stadium operating in the U.S. 

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After obtaining a ground lease agreement with the city, American Cricket Enterprises, the parent company of Major League Cricket, announced plans Wednesday to transform the old AirHogs baseball stadium in Grand Prairie into a 5,400-person cricket stadium using architectural design plans from HKS. 

Once the stadium opens in 2022, it is expected to serve as a catalyst for diverse real estate development inside the city’s only designated opportunity zone — an area that’s already home to horse-racing destination Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie and the Dallas suburb’s entertainment district. 

“No question it is going to be something that can serve as a springboard to development; it is located in an opportunity zone,” Grand Prairie Director of Economic Development Marty Wieder said. 

“We have stayed in conversation with the operators of Lone Star Park, and they have been working with the development group, Wynne Jackson, to explore how they can develop some of the parking facilities around the entertainment district. There are opportunities for hotels, restaurants, as well as office and retail, and maybe even high-quality multifamily.”

The redeveloped venue is slated to host Major League and Minor League cricket events and operate as a high-performance center for cricket players, MLC said during a Zoom press conference Wednesday. It will aim to attract growing cricket fan bases across Texas and the U.S. while generating global attention through the hosting of international events. 

The site will eventually serve as home to Texas’ first MLC cricket franchise and as a training camp for the USA Cricket National team. 

This isn’t Major League Cricket’s first shot in the Dallas area. Thakkar Developers’ Poorvesh Thakkar launched a similar proposal in the city of Allen more than a year ago, only to be shot down by residents who feared the arrival of traffic congestion and neighborhood noise. 

Thakkar, in turn, scrapped plans for a stadium inside his The Avenue mixed-use development.

But the demographics and rise of cricket in DFW kept the area on MLC’s radar.

“The growth of cricket fans in Dallas has probably been the highest in the nation,” ACE and MLC co-founder Sameer Mehta said. 

The U.S. already has somewhere between 15 million and 20 million cricket fans, USA Cricket Chairman Paraag Marathe estimated during a press conference Wednesday. 

One of the key cricket fan demographics living in the U.S. and DFW is the Asian Indian population. About 54,000 people living in just Collin County, Texas, identified as Asian Indians in 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. 

Based on the 100,000 or so Indian Americans in DFW as a whole reported in the 2010 census, the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce estimated that the region may have 150,000 to 200,000 residents identifying as Indian Americans in the North Texas region today. 

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