Sapphire Bay update: Wave pool project one small piece in big Dallas development

Yep, it’s true, everything is bigger in Texas. A large site in the town of Rowlett, which is just to the east of Dallas, on the shore of Lake Ray Hubbard, is set to be home to a large commercial development called Sapphire Bay.

This billion-dollar master-planned mixed-use development is expected to open its first phase in fall 2023. The Sapphire Bay Resort & Conference Center (which is a joint public-private partnership with the city of Rowlett) will be part of this phase, as will the wave pool, the crystal lagoon, and then an additional secondary hotel. The entire development itself is estimated to be complete in 7 to 10 years.

The resort will join Hyatt’s Destination Hotels brand and showcase more than 500 guestrooms, suites, and villas each with waterfront views overlooking Lake Ray Hubbard and the seven-acre man-made Sapphire Bay Lagoon.

What’s different about this development, is the sheer size and scope of the project. Rowlett’s Acting Director of Economic Development Libbey Tucker anticipates the townhomes on the south side to go vertical in Phase I, followed by one of the two condo towers in Phase II. Both north and south properties of the development were designed to hold around 3,000 total residential units. 

“I would say within two years – probably less – that you will see the townhomes open, but one of the condo towers won’t start going vertical until at least two years,”. Funderburk said.

The Surf Village, as it’s dubbed on Sapphire Bay’s website, will be home to the wave pool. One end of the lagoon will house the equipment to generate the waves, while the other end features a beach area for folks to relax and watch the surfing action. Guests will also enjoy three resort-style pools, two swim-up bars, a lazy river, and multiple outdoor beach gathering spaces for relaxation and games. Chaise lounges, day beds, and private cabanas round out the tropical paradise making up the Surf Village.

“There are only a few locations really in our hemisphere where people can learn the trade and also get those barrel roll waves,” Libby Tucker said. “This surf park makes that possible.”

While no official announcement has been made about the pool tech involved, it appears, looking at the artistic renderings, to be rectangular in design. This likely rules out Wavegarden (diamond-shaped) and Endless Surf (almost heart-shaped), so it could be a Surf Loch (by Tom Lochtefeld’s company Wave Loch), as it resembles a demo model they’ve displayed at trade shows. 

We reported this in a previous article. Though Sapphire Bay has stated in more recent press releases that the pool will be a “one-of-a-kind 600-foot-long surf lagoon serving seven-foot barrels to advanced surfers and smaller waves to beginners.” It will also, “produce a new wave every 10 seconds.”

Also, and probably more telling, is a simple line of text on the concept images on a downloadable PDF from the Sapphire Bay site stating “Surf Loch entry.”

But while other global wave pool developments are using the pool as the anchor, or main feature, for Sapphire Bay it looks like it’s just one of many crowd-pulling attractions. Along with a 1000-slip marina, 177,000 square feet of food offerings (that’s a lot of Texas BBQs), there’s also to be more than 100,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space. Including two grand ballrooms, multiple-sized breakout boardrooms, pre-function areas, event lawns, and a special event island nestled along the eastern shore of the Sapphire Bay Lagoon.

And as the developers are anticipating six million visitors a year, hopefully, they’ll not all be hit the wave pool at the same time.

Endless Surf 2023A