Months after breaking ground, the Chipotle Mexican Grill is the first business to open in the $500 million venture in Stafford called The Grid.
In November, a banner flying in the wind against the new blonde-colored brick building housing the popular Mexican restaurant announced its opening. As construction and underground work continues on the massive 192 acres of the former Texas Instruments property, a site now called The Grid, workers at Chipotle happily served customers and expressed interest in what is to come to the sprawling development.
“This is exciting,” Chipotle manager Miriam Santana said of the giant complex that will feature “a creative mixed-use reinvention” of the landmark site, according to the Dallas based Street Level Investments developers.
“It’s going to bring a lot of people here,” said Santana.
Touted as a destination retail and restaurant concept with 2,400 residential high-end units, 500,000 square feet of office space, a hotel, a central public green with pocket parks, jogging and bike trails and regularly scheduled entertainment events, evidence of work on the projects underway surrounds the light-filled restaurant.
Workers in hard hats and heavy equipment could be seen throughout the area along Airport Road where the Chipotle restaurant is located. The 192 acres of property is bounded on the south by the Texas Instruments Ditch, on the west by Kirkwood Road and US Highway 59 on the north by West Airport Boulevard and on the east by FM 11092/Murphy Road.
The Grid is expected to become a regional attraction for Stafford with shops, a central park, restaurants, high-end apartments, food halls with artisan chefs, and a hotel. About $500,000 of funds from the city’s hotel tax will be used to generate tourism and income to the city.
“I believe things are progressing very nicely,” said Patti Worfe, executive director of Stafford’s Economic Development Corporation.
“Obviously the Kirkwood side has a lot going on because of the underground infrastructure that is going on. Once that is complete, I hope to see things like Whiskey Cake, In-N-Out Burger and Drive Shack begin construction,” she said.
Developers have nabbed some popular tenants including Drive Shack, a golf entertainment venue, a craft cocktail bar called Whiskey Cake and the California fast foods franchise of In-N-Out Burger, which will be the first one in Texas.
Worfe did not have a timeline for when the other businesses will open and the firm representing the developers did not return calls. Worfe said Stafford’s economic development office, “has heard from several area businesses that they have enjoyed seeing all the workers in their businesses and have done whatever they could to help accommodate them.”
Renee Robinson stopped into the restaurant to bring food to one daughter and visit another daughter working behind the counter with the crew at the restaurant. The proud mom watched her daughter working and gushed, “This place is gorgeous, but they need to have bigger signs so people will know it’s here.”