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Lewisville’s Northern Gateway continues to grow


Lewisville’s Northern Gateway is experiencing a surge in development as city officials seek to transform the area.

Several developments have been approved within the last year that will bring a mix of residential, office, hotel, retail and commercial use as well as green space over the next few years. Major existing or planned projects include nearly 2,500 multifamily units and townhomes, a dog park, office and retail space, and an entertainment venue.

The city’s Northern Gateway, which includes the Lake District, is made up of 962 acres along I-35E on both sides of FM 407 and including the Lake Shore areas east of the highway.

As one of the primary entries into Lewisville, the Northern Gateway serves as a first impression of the city. The long-term vision and zoning for the area was originally slated to be industrial, but city officials decided in 2015 the area should instead serve a different purpose, Lewisville Mayor TJ Gilmore said.

“That’s our front door,” he said. “It was important to [Lewisville City Council] at the time that we turn that into or activate that space as something more. There’s places for warehousing; it’s important as part of the economy of the city, but we have enough of that in other locations.”

Development in the Northern Gateway has been ongoing for several years. It aligns with the Lewisville 2025 Vision Plan, which outlines goals city staff plans to achieve as Lewisville approaches its centennial.

Gilmore said the goal is to create a sense of community in a mixed-use environment that attracts residents and businesses.

“We’re not trying to redevelop or bring something back. We’re trying to create something,” he said.


New developments

City officials first established a vision for the area through the adoption of The Northern Gateway Plan in 2015.

The plan visualizes the area as a mixed-use, walkable urban space. Roughly 40% of the Northern Gateway is developed to date, Gilmore said. Of the 10 projects planned, three have been completed as of Nov. 9.

Lewisville’s Economic Development Director Marichelle Samples said the Northern Gateway’s proximity to Lewisville Lake, infrastructure and active construction makes the area an attractive option for developers.

Norra was the first residential project to break ground in the Northern Gateway, according to city data. The apartment community consists of 347 multifamily units and was completed in 2021. Tower Bay Lofts was completed in 2020. That community consists of 308 multifamily units and has a parking garage, access to trails and a boat ramp to Lewisville Lake.

The Northern Gateway is also slated to have retail and entertainment in addition to residential.

Planned projects include Gas Monkey Bar & Grill, a 7.4-acre restaurant and entertainment venue expected to open in two phases. Amenities, such as a collector vehicle display, an outdoor stage for performances, a putt-putt golf course and a go-kart track, will be included in the first phase, which is anticipated to finish by March 2024.

An amusement ride is expected to be added in the second phase, which will begin in 2025.

Lakeside Crossing is another anticipated project. It will be one of the larger developments with 759 multifamily units, 201 townhomes, 5,000 square feet of live and work units, 30,000 square feet of commercial space, over five acres of open space, and trails.

“[The Northern Gateway] is really going to be a vibrant area with new amenities, new open space [and] new trails,” Samples said. “It’s been an attraction because of all the activity that we have.”

City investments

A number of different strategies were employed to help fulfill city leaders’ plans for the Northern Gateway, Samples said.

In February 2021, council authorized a $9.25 million purchase of a large piece of undeveloped land off I-35E to prevent warehouse developers from deviating from the city’s vision. The Hamptons is now slated for the area, according to Lewisville Economic Development Manager Christina Williams. The Hamptons is a mixed-use project, which will include office, retail, restaurant and park space as well as a hotel.

The city has invested $11.35 million in the Northern Gateway to date, Williams said. Other investments by the city include offering economic development incentives to attract developers.

City officials are also investing in the creation of a master development plan for Lake District projects; the master-planning phase is estimated to take place through September 2023, Samples said. Potential plans include the Lewisville Fishing Barge’s return after the council approved a request to permanently close it in August.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the land around the lake, is also reviewing a proposal for expansion of the Pier 121 Marina, according to the city. The expansion would provide additional facilities and services, such as an RV campground, expanded RV storage, glamping suites, a lakeside lodge and an aquatic skills training facility.

The commitment to preserving the Northern Gateway vision has ultimately bolstered the area’s potential, Williams said.

“Because of the plan that was adopted in 2015, it just makes [the Northern Gateway] more attractive for those types of developers to look at this part of Lewisville,” Williams said.


Long-term vision

After years of planning, city leaders are seeing those ideas for the Northern Gateway come to life.

Amanda Ferguson, owner of We + You in Old Town Lewisville, has served on the Lewisville 2025 Vision advisory board since 2012.

The board is made up of residents, business owners and other stakeholders who provide input on the desired vision for Lewisville and ensure the plan remains on track.

The board is seeing its efforts come to fruition, Ferguson said. Many of the projects that were discussed years ago have either been implemented or are on the horizon.

“It’s really kind of hitting it on the commercial side and the neighborhood side as far as diverse living spaces and areas,” she said. “We have little green spaces that are being developed. We’re starting to see a lot of little pocket parks be able to pop up in those areas. We’re kind of hitting a lot of those little key steps that we have.”

Lewisville Lake is the Northern Gateway’s main attraction, Ferguson said. To help capitalize on that, city leaders are interested in a resort-style option for the Lewisville Lake area that would include a lakefront hotel or restaurants.

As the city’s vision continues to be implemented, Ferguson said she would like to see continued growth and commitment to making the area an attractive option for developers, residents, retailers and corporations.

“Hopefully you have an environment that people want to live here and reside in Lewisville; you kind of get that trifecta of that live, work, play,” she said. “We’re getting there, and we still have a lot of work to do. But I think slowly and surely, we’re getting there.”


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