North Texas’ Grandscape Named World’s ‘Most Innovative Retail and Entertainment Project’ at London’s RLI Awards

The award is presented annually by Retail and Leisure International, the world's only global magazine for the retail and leisure industry. Grandscape was noted for innovative retail and entertainment offerings that range from the 180-foot Grandscape Wheel to new concepts like Puttery and Electric Gamebox, along with crowd-pleasing attractions like Jurassic Park: The Exhibition.

Most shopping and entertainment districts don’t cause much of a stir. But Grandscape, the sprawling mixed-use development in The Colony north of Dallas, has been causing buzz left and right lately. Now it’s gained global recognition for it—by winning the Most Innovative Retail and Entertainment Project award at the Global RLI Awards in London.

The award is presented annually by Retail and Leisure International, the world’s only global magazine for the retail and leisure industry.

“With so many outstanding projects in the world, it’s truly a great honor for the entire Grandscape team to be recognized as the Most Innovative Retail and Entertainment Project,” said Grandscape President Jeff Lind in a statement. “While we’re excited about what we’ve built, we’re even more excited about what is to come with the future phases of this project. Grandscape is a one-of-a-kind destination, and we’re just getting started.”

The Warren Buffett-backed Grandscape is a $1.5 billion, 433-acre mixed-use development in the middle of the 35-mile stretch of the 121 corridor that’s a hotbed of development.

What made Grandscape stand out from all the other concepts around the world this year? A lot more than the 560,000 square-foot Nebraska Furniture Mart, which has anchored Grandscape since 2015. Here’s a look at why Grandscape has grabbed the world’s attention.

The Grandscape Wheel

For starters, there’s the 180-foot tall Grandscape Wheel, which just opened at Grandscape last month:

Grandscape Wheel [Photo: Grandscape]

Designed by Netherlands-based Dutch Wheels, the Grandscape Wheel features 42 climate-controlled, music-playing gondolas that hold up to eight people each. It’s not as tall as the Texas Star at Fair Park—the largest in Texas at 212 feet 6 inches—but it’s a close second in all of Texas, offering views of The Colony, Frisco, and various skylines. If you dare, you can book the VIP glass-bottom floor gondola with Ferrari-style leather seats for four and front-of-line access.

Photo: Jurassic World: The Exhibition © 2021 Universal Studios and Amblin Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Jurassic World: The Exhibition

Grandscape has also become known for big attractions like Jurassic World: The Exhibition, which is continuing its limited run through January 2. 

Called “the closest you’ll ever come to living dinosaurs,” the experiential exhibit lets visitors discover the science behind Jurassic World, meet baby dinosaurs, and get as close as you dare to ferociously lifelike velociraptors and lots of other dynamic dinos.

Grandscape has also been notable lately as an incubator of hot new retail concepts—like Puttery.

Puttery at Grandscape in The Colony [Photo: Puttery]

Puttery’s first-ever venue opens at Grandscape

Last August, Dallas Innovates took readers inside the first-ever Puttery venue from Dallas-based Drive Shack. Forget everything you know about mini-golf—the sad old Astroturf, the ho-hum windmill, the sullen kid whacking your knee after her ball lips the cup. The new Puttery concept blows that all away. 

The high-tech, totally reimagined, adults-only playground of cocktails, food, and courses is like no mini-golf you’ve ever seen. 

Puttery’s Illusion course [Photo: Puttery]

Puttery’s rooftop course features a challenging set of holes along with a full-service bar and panoramic views of Grandscape:

Puttery’s Rooftop course and bar [Photo: Puttery]

Other “courses” inside Puttery offer an array of themes and environments, from the book-lined Library Course to the Lodge, which makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a lounge in Aspen:

Puttery’s Lodge Course [Photo: Puttery]

Immersive Gamebox has locations in the U.K.—and in Grandscape

Another concept that opened recently in Grandscape is Immersive Gamebox, a group gaming experience that “reinvents how video games are played,” according to the U.K.-based company.

The venue offers “hyper-immersive” games in digital smart rooms—using projection mapping, touch screens, 3D motion tracking, and surround sound without headsets. 

The first Immersive Gamebox in the U.S. opened in Grandscape last December:

Immersive Gamebox’s game, “Alien Aptitude Test: London ‘84.” [Photo: Immersive Gamebox]

Last June, Dallas Innovates wrote about Immersive Gamebox (then called Electric Gamebox), when it had just raised $11 million in Series A2 funding, bringing total investments in the startup to $25 million. 

The company has ambitious plans for the funding—with goals to open 100 locations in the U.S. and U.K. by 2023 and 1,000+ locations by 2026.

Concert at the Grandscape [Photo: Grandscape]

More reasons Grandscape won the award

Along with the concepts above, Grandscape also got award-winning traction from two dozen restaurants in the Phase 1 of the development. Visitors can happen upon everything from a sprawling, innovative Andretti indoor go-kart track to outdoor spaces with live-stage music and events, and more.

And as Grandscape’s president says, much more is to come. 

Grandscape at sunset [Photo: Grandscape]

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