|(Credit: Michael Connell/Texas Stars)|
Phil Brewer, the city of Cedar Park's Director of Economic Development, was there when the whole thing started in 2008 and was on the stage for the victory rally last month as a city representative.
"It's been a positive impact from the day we've opened the facility in terms of community visibility and recgonition," he said. "Every year they've grown the number of events."
While a formal study of the economic impact of the center has not been commissioned, the evidence is there that the entertainment at the corner of 183A and New Hope Drive brings business to the Cedar Park economy.
"Recently we hosted the Bluebonnet Open Figure Skating competition. It filled up the hotel rooms. We had over 200 room-nights used in Cedar Park out of a total of 360. Projects like that have a positive impact on the community. Others come in, like Cirque du Soleil. Most of those performers stay in Cedar Park, eating in our restaurants and shopping in our stores, having a positive impact on the city and community."
Cedar Park is the fourth fastest growing large city in the country and that growth is bringing a lot of business into the city, including the new Costco, In-n-Out Burger, and Walmart Super Center. Future developments where Texas Stars fans can look forward to spending their pre-game meal dollars include BJ’s Brewhouse, a new Chipotle, and Lupe Tortilla.
From the hockey side of things, the Dallas Stars are very happy with the relationship they have with the city through the Cedar Park Center.
"You couldn't have hoped for more," said Dallas Stars president Jim Lites. "We started in 2005. To see how the community has grown toward it, the success we've had, the crowds, how [the media has] been. Everything we wanted to create in Cedar Park has occurred.
"Players want to play here. Guys want to manage here. Coaches want to coach here. It's about winning. It's 3 hours from Dallas. The guys get down here and the players know we're watching. It really matters."
As part of the agreement that brought the Texas Stars to Cedar Park, Hicks Cedar Park LLC had the option to purchase the 17 acres of land around the Cedar Park Center for development. Brewer confirmed that the company had exercised the option last fall and purchased the land.
"When the center opened in 2009, the economy was not the strongest it's been," said Brewer. "It has been a really matter of waiting and being patient. We don't want to see any development happen in front of the center if it's not quality development. It needs to enhance and be part of the theme in that area.
"The Hicks folks have been working on site plans and layouts and we've had some meetings in regards to that. They are looking for the right partner. That is the plan with restaurants, retail and maybe even office space and a hotel."