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Friday, October 14, 2016

THE GREAT ESCAPE TO TRIDENT LAKES

By Richie Whitt
DFWSportatorium

   Fine, serendipitous structure. You win.
   I'm intrigued. Fascinated. On the verge of being mesmerized. I'm fully aware that we live in a scary, skittish world where terrorism has its own daily reality show from Orlando to France to Dallas to Baton Rouge to Germany. And that we exist in a warped culture where everything from Pokémon Go to Dak Prescott to Ken Bone can grip our nation.
   But you ... you temporarily have my undivided attention.
Rising mightily in, um, Fannin County
   So, c'mon, I've pulled over to the side of the road. Now spill your obscurely opulent beans. What-the-what is a big, ornate, marble statue doing perched high in the air smack dab in the middle of a tiny, unincorporated suburb of nowhere North Texas?
   I mean, when tootling along between the one-stoplight towns of Savoy and Ector on sleepy State Highway 56 on a sunny summer afternoon, the last sight I expected is the building of something fit more for Caesar's Palace than Fannin County.
   Rough, meet diamond.
   The thing is beginning to rise out of the nothingness, appearing as deliciously out of place as an ice-sculpture centerpiece at a farting contest between Larry The Cable Guy and Real Housewives of Dallas star Stephanie Hollman. The moment Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones lays eyes upon the spectacular structure he'll crave another glitzy AT&T Stadium accessory.
   Seriously, it's ...
   "Sir, we're going to have to ask you to leave," says the apparent foreman of a 10-man construction crew feverishly working on the statue, plumbing for the accompanying fountain and what looks like some sort of expansive entrance. "Stop taking pictures, please. This is private property."
   "Yeah," I retort in retreat, "but what kind of private property?!"
   As I drive away, I'm flagged down by a local rubbernecker. After all, it's not every day a UFO that glitters like the Palace of Versailles lands - or, in this case, was set into place by a 90-ton crane - in this down-to-Earth rurality 15 minutes south of the Red River.
   "What'd he say to you?" asks a 60-something-ish man in his pickup while his female passenger cranes to hear my answer. "What the heck is that thing?"
   "Honestly, I dunno," I shrug, "Best guess though, it's going to be the entrance to something. Something pretty big."
   "Well," responds the man, "whatever it is ... I wanna be part of it."
   In my rear-view mirror I see two more vehicles slow from 65 mph to skid marks in order to size up the mammoth mystery. If you build it, they will come ... to at least gawk.
   After several shot-in-the-dark phone calls and two more empty trips over a couple of months, I finally get my answer. And an invitation.
   "It's Trident Lakes," says Paul Salfen, who identifies himself as a spokesman and Director of Celebrity Relations for the development. "Think of it as a 5-star playground, equipped with DEFCON 1 preparedness. Why don't you come on up?"
   Gulp. At first glance I think these guys building something so big in somewhere so small are out of their minds. But, no, as life as we knew it deteriorates into one of those Southwest Airlines' "Wanna Get Away?!" commercials, it quickly occurs to me that they're merely way ahead of the game.
   Fine, serendipitous structure. You win.

                                                       PROVOCATIVE PROJECT
   We grow up here learning everything is bigger in Texas, so we're a tad cynical when someone proclaims to be building "the next greatestbiggestbest thingamajig".
Closer to Paris, Texas than Paris, France
   Our statues aren't something out of Greek mythology, but rather born-'n-bred icons such as Tom Landry, Nolan Ryan, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Big Tex. And our epic construction projects include the world's largest football stadium, largest high-school football stadium, a retractable-roof ballpark for the Texas Rangers, 200,000-seat Texas Motor Speedway, The Omni Hotel, The Star in Frisco as the epicenter of the $5 Billion Mile, those two weird, white bridges near downtown Dallas and Trinity Forest Golf Course, a 400-acre, $50 million project in South Dallas aimed at hosting the U.S. Open. We've seen a giant chair promote the future of Nebraska Furniture Mart in Frisco and a huge beaver open the mega-truck stop Buc-ee's in Fort Worth.
   Shoot, we've even seen Dallas swing-and-miss at hosting The 2012 Summer Olympics, drag its feet for 10 years on the Trinity River Corridor Project, and something called the Superconducting Super Collider flop and fail in Waxahachie in the '90s. In other words, Trident Lakes better be considerably bigger than something along the lines of "McRib is back!"
   It is.
   "This," says Salfen, pointing to the base of a statue that will soon rise to over 50 feet, "is just the tip of the iceberg."
   When Trident Lakes is complete, it will be one of the most ambitious, grandiose and important developments in our state's history. Maybe our country's.
   The plans call for it to be part private resort/part safe haven. It will be both a lavish country-club community that features upscale amenities, and also a state-of-the-art secured fortress that boasts subterranean luxury condos able to withstand the shit's direct hit into our fan.
   In other words, Trident Lakes promises to be the ultimate retreat for people seeking shelter from a world gone mad. The more your imperfect news cycle is littered with Amber Alerts, domestic terrorism in Orlando, an attempted coup in Turkey, police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, trucks used as weapons in Nice and the stench of ISIS seemingly everywhere, the more this idea - unfortunately - makes perfect sense. America's FBI "Watch List" has grown to include more than a million names for crying out loud, and director James Coney recently admitted that there are ISIS members or sympathizers in all 50 states.
   Yeah, yikes.
   "We'll be one of America's most unique, most safe neighborhoods," says Salfen. "What we offer are world-class amenities combined with unprecedented civilian security. It's life assurance. Luxurious life assurance."
   A settlement worthy of, indeed, a serendipitous structure.
   The construction around Trident Lakes' majestic entrance is already gaudy enough to be a spin-off from Rome's Trevi Fountain. When finished, according to Salfen, the massive water feature will be the heart of one of the largest fountains in the world.
   In terms of square footage (55,000+) and length (longer than Bellagio's famed lake of dancing water in Las Vegas), few - if any - fountains on the planet will be bigger. The height of the structure that will spew water and anchor the property's elaborate entrance will also be dimensionally unprecedented. Not exactly a fountain of youth, but more so one aimed at ensuring old age.
   Design options call for this sundae's cherry to be a huge, gold Trident, perhaps even wielded by Poseidon himself.
   (UPDATE: The Poseidon statue was severely damaged by a Blossom-based Unruh Construction cement truck in July. Construction on the surrounding fountain continues, but work on the statue is on hold until a settlement is reached with Unruh's insurance company - Albuquerque-based Mountain States. A Trident Lakes source says the company is hopeful the claim will be resolved without litigation, but - despite Unruh accepting responsibility for the accident - describes Mountain States as "wholly uncooperative.")
   Fitting of its bedazzled beacon, Trident Lakes will surely become the crown jewel of northeast Texas. For now there's a website - www.TridentLakes.com - and social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (though with minimal activity and few followers). Salfen was tight-lipped on details surrounding specific security features and pinpoint costs. But after a 30-minute tour across the surprisingly lush and rolling property on an ATV, and discussions with security and real-estate experts, I can make some educated guesses on the particulars:
   Try 700 acres and $300 million. Commence eyeball-popping.
   The community is being developed by Dallas-based Vintuary Holdings Corp. which - hence the giant fountain and grand entrance - looks like they have the moxie to pull this off. I managed to get in touch with lead architect Charles Ralph, but he only wanted to talk about what everyone else was already talking about.
   Yep, the serendipitous structure and its vast waters.
   "We’re confident one of the largest fountains in the world sets the stage for a standard of quality that will bond the entire community,” said Ralph. “It’s a unique tone-setter for a place residents will enjoy, but also depend on.”
   Our proud history and state pride be damned, I'm pretty sure we've never seen a community adorned with enough bells, whistles, upgrades and foresight to keep survivors from becoming victims in the event North Texas deteriorates into an apocalyptic combination of The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and The Purge.
   "You can't predict catastrophes, but you can prepare for them," Robert Glasser, head of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, said in a recent speech. "The prudent people are taking steps to be ready the best they can for the worst that's likely to come."
   Says Salfen, "Live on a piece of paradise, get peace of mind. It's a win-win."
   Though Trident Lakes won't come alive with water through its veins until 2017, it's already casting a substantial shadow. Salfen says the early "trickle" of cars stopping with curiosity (guilty, party of one) has increased to a "steady stream" of visitors seeking answers, snapping photos or - in some cases - attempting to reserve a plot in the affluent-yet-anonymous neighborhood.
   Residence at Phase I - the first of three planned subdivisions - will be via invitation-only, complete with a waiting list. After successful beta testing, according to Salfen, engineering plans for Phase 2 have been accelerated and accompanied by a formal waiting list as well.
   Offered initially to movers and shakers throughout America, Trident Lakes' membership will likely parallel the hoity-toity exclusivity of Dallas National Golf Club, Washington D.C.'s Greenbrier Resort and that fantasy land beyond the armoire known as Narnia.
   Though the price tag will remain confidential until initial invitations are hand-delivered, seems reasonable to estimate the cost aligning with that of an affluent second home. That, of course, would preclude the community from becoming fertile ground for grass-roots, nut-job government separatists and keep it instead purely an oasis for the powerful and savvy.
   Make no mistake, Trident Lakes will be much more Elysium than Idiocracy.
   Though Salfen was adamant about maintaining the privacy of residents, rumors are that notable celebrities are already sniffing around the place. After all, swanky resorts exist from coast to coast, but not many - if any - include state-of-the-art security prepared to mitigate our planet's biggest threats.
   Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. And, apparently, have a lot of fun in between.

                                                       5-STAR PLAYGROUND
   You would expect the DFW Metroplex's rich and famous to vacation in exclusive spots such as Aspen, Cabo or Maldives. But why in the world would they make the hour trek northeast to a previously unremarkable landscape?
   Easy. Because most well-to-do families also own lake homes, and Trident Lakes vows to both pamper and protect its residents while turning the trick of putting this lil' corner of Texas on the global map. It's going to transform nowhere, into somewhere. Somewhere special.
Today: Natural Texas landscape
Tomorrow: Nasty Trident 18th green
   It promises to be one of the world's best-appointed hiding places. After all, we need complex "what if" plans. But, in the meantime, we also need cool "what if not yet" playgrounds.
   During my tour I heard general plans for seemingly every toy imaginable including an 18-hole golf course, 15-acre blue lagoons with white-sand beaches, a 5-star spa, jogging trails, sports courts, kids' play areas and learning center, equestrian center, polo fields, zip lines, gun ranges, retail shops, restaurants, waterfront wedding venue and a row of helipads.
   Weaving throughout the planned development will be about 400 Earth-covered, terraced condos with three unique floor plans ranging in size from 900-3,600-square feet and all providing patio views of the site's lagoons.
   Barring the Apocalypse, Trident Lakes could simply maintain itself as one of the most exclusive, best accessorized country clubs in Texas, if not all of America. But if Hell and high water converge simultaneously, developers have a plan for that too.


                                                  DEFCON 1 PREPAREDNESS
   Trident Lakes promotes itself as more than just a pretty place. Its three-pronged purpose ensures "Plan", "Protect" and "Play." With terrorism tragedies spreading almost daily from Orlando to Turkey to Belgium to Joint Base Andrews to (fill in the blank), some probably feel like this protective palace can't be built too fast.
   As last summer's sniper ambush in Dallas unfolded, the shooter (Micah Johnson) who killed five officers told police "the end is coming."
   Cue the chills. Call to action.
   "Our hope is that membership will never need Trident Lakes for anything more than a vacation home, main residence or just a fun place for a family getaway," says Salfen. "But in the event of something dramatic, it will also be a 5-star insurance policy and a place that will - as well as possible - dilute the ongoing dangers."
   I wasn't privy to a formal Master Plan, but was told Trident Lakes could eventually become a self-sustaining community using off-the-grid sources of food, water and energy. Among the extensive security features being kicked around are a protective wall surrounding the property (eat your heart out, Mr. Trump), watchtowers, air-lock blast doors, a navigable tunnel system, communal greenhouses and a DNA vault.
   Those detailed checks and double-checks would, in theory, protect residents and minimize disasters such as terrorism (ISIS). It will also be built to diminish the brunt of virus pandemics (Zika), intergalactic events and violent conflicts. From Mother Nature's mood swings to scary scenarios that would empty store shelves within hours, Trident Lakes plans to take a big swing at answering the most ominous questions ... even before they are posed.
   "One of Trident Lakes' most appealing features is its proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth, yet its location at least an hour from the major 'threat zone'," says Salfen. "Whatever danger arises, we feel confident we're providing the best Plan B money can buy. After all, preparation negates panic."
   One of the things that struck me about Trident Lakes is its seeming contradiction: Existing as a deluxe, secret safe house - but one adorned with one of the most ostentatious fountains on Earth. The palace screams "Look at us!" But the philosophy is founded upon "Please don't notice us."
   In his UN address, Glasser just might have it figured out.
   "It's all about risk management," he said. "If you plan properly, you can hide in plain sight."
   Like a joint password protecting sensitive information, a safe word drawing boundaries on sexual exploration or the designated family meeting spot during ominous weather, planners hope "Trident Lakes" becomes the default escape destination when and if Doomsday dawns in Dallas and beyond.
   Fine, serendipitous structure. You win.
   In the present, your sprawling fountain in the remote reaches of North Texas will generate unique curiosity.
   In the future, you just may provide unparalleled security.

36 comments:

  1. Our local news cant get info about this place. Thank you for this story. I live nearby and like the many that asked you on the road what is happening, we are all in wonder. It's like Willy Wonka's factory or something is being built.

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  2. I think you may want to further your research on Fannin county which will soon be the jewel of north Texas with it's lakes (no, not Trident lakes)and projected future growth! We are not as "rough" as you may think.

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    1. Didn't mean to disparage in any way. It's kind of nice up there. I am just pointing out how, at this point, the land is natural and underdeveloped.

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  3. Fannin county is the butthole of texas lol not that rough

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  4. I grew up in Fannin Co., Tx and I'm still not sure where this place is. Give me some coordinates.

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    1. Head West through Ector on Hwy 56. Go 1 mile look to the right (North) you cant miss the fountain.. :)

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  5. i just find it a little strange that you were a contact in the first article written on 9/23/2016 but in this article you act like you don't know anything about it.... why is that?

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  6. Fannin County is the last place in Texas I would choose to live. There is nothing there. You have to drive to either Greenville or Sherman to shop. My husband and I laugh at that atrocious fountain out in the middle of nowhere when we drive by it.

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    1. There is nothing there ... yet.

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    2. so move,no one is begging you to stay... the rest of love it here...

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    3. Wow. So much for Southern Hospitality huh?

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    4. I seriously hope the place falls flat and this is from one of the property owners in Ector, Texas with seven generations having lived in the area. It's a travesty and disgusting.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. This is a big joke of all the places in the USA why Ector,Texas ? Must have gotten a great deal on the property. I agree with a comment made this is the last place in Texas I would choose to live.

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    1. It's not a booming metropolis, no. Which is kind of the point if you're trying to escape a major city/threat zone.

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    2. And we don't want it. Let Dallas stay in Dallas. We have no interest in having city snobs living in our area.

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  9. Thank you Richie for your insightful information on this ambitious project. As a citizen of Fannin County I am glad to see progressive thinking projects and the commerce that follows it brought to our part of North Texas

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    1. Thanks. We'll keep you updated as the place starts to really take shape.

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    2. And anyone supporting this is a complete moron.

      How sad to lose beautiful countryside to greedy developers. Look at how beautiful this countryside is now. Imagine it bulldozed and sold to the elite and overpaid in pre-formed lots of bunkered quarters. Idiotic. Reminds me of the lyrics from one of the Eagles songs, "The Last Resort".

      "Some rich men came and raped the land,
      Nobody caught 'em
      Put up a bunch of ugly boxes,
      and Jesus people bought 'em
      'nd they called it paradise
      The place to be
      They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea

      We satisfy our endless needs and
      justify our bloody deeds,
      in the name of destiny
      and in the name of God

      And you can see them there,
      On Sunday morning
      They stand up and sing about
      what it's like up there
      They call it paradise
      I don't know why
      You call someplace paradise,
      kiss it goodbye."

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    3. This place is being constructed by an investments holding company, which we know that many of them can be nothing more than scams. What's so funny about this whole project is why Fannino Cunty? Cheap taxes, no enforcement of codes or true bearer of law enforcement. Another question arises is if this is supposed to be such a secret location, playground for the 1% then why has it been so overly advertised. And 700 acres may not seem like any small parcel of land once filled up with all the crap 1% will need it will be too close of living quarters.


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  10. Interesting development. I'd love to see this place upon completion- invitation only? What exactly does that mean? Who invites? It's all about IF you have enough money to love there right?

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    1. Phase I is invitation only. Phases II and III will have a first-come, first-served waiting list. Which you can get on right now at TridentLakes.com.

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  11. I own property about 2-3 miles north of there in Ector. It's been in the family since the 60's. I remember going to Mr. Johnson gas/convenience store just down the road from the fountain. I hope Trident Lakes bring in a new positive future for the people who live there as well. I'm hoping to get on the list!

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    1. Waiting list is open at TridentLakes.com. Thanks for your interest.

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  12. I readsome where that all the condos will be under ground do you know if that is true?

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    1. 90% underground, each with a patio.

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    2. So how does it apply to law enforcement and teachers in respect to invitations, pricing, etc... I thought i saw something that referenced them.

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  13. Did they happen to mention the workforce they were expecting to hire? Not only for building the project but also for running things once the phases were completed and property owners are moving in? Thanks

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  14. These local attractions deserve our attention. I am sure that each of these places can be an excellent platform for the field.

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  15. I posted several negative comments and observations on their FB page. They removed them all and blocked me from posting any others. Wonder what they're hiding?

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    1. I researched wahlbergs posting anything on their twitter or Facebook and didn't see anything about Trident. Weren't they supposed to host some ground breaking event?

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  16. You write the article as though you stumbled upon a mystery and then you're exposed as a s"spokesman" for the development. Hell, channel 5's "infomercial" for Candace Romo's horseshit kids spray is closer to honest journalism. You have embarrassed yourself Richie.

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  17. Will Pizza Buzz deliver out to Trident Lakes?

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  18. What is your official role or title with this group?

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  19. I heard Tom Cruise was involved with this. I hope it's not a Scientology resort. Other than that I think it's good for our county. It will definitely put Fannin

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