The new project will include more than 330 homes, townhouses and single-family bungalows priced from $235,400 to $310,000.
About 130,000 square feet of retail and commercial space is planned.
Centurion American CEO Mehrdad Moayedi said construction will start in March.
"We are already doing improvements to the rodeo building — a new sound system and new concrete floors," Moayedi said. "We have already had two or three big concerts."
The developer said he's talking with two or three homebuilders about the project.
"And we have four restaurants going in the retail" space, he said.
The city is working with the developer to improve streets in the area and make the improvements to the rodeo arena.
"The residential side of the Iron Horse development will bring a variety of housing that is not currently available in that part of town," said Mesquite City Manager Cliff Keheley. "The townhomes are something many residents have mentioned as being needed in Mesquite.
"The most significant impact for this development is that it will support a retail and entertainment complex that we have wanted in this area for a number of years," he said. "The entire development will have a big impact on this part of town."
Mesquite's rodeo dates to the late 1940s but came into its own in the 1950s when it was championed by legendary bull rider Neal Gay. In 1958, Gay opened the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, which became one of the most popular events in the industry.
"We are going to try and get it back to where it was," Moayedi said. "It has a historic importance that we see and Mesquite sees."
Centurion American is one of North Texas' biggest real estate developers, doing everything from suburban residential communities to redevelopments including downtown Dallas' historic Statler Hotel.