Keller City Council approves new marketplace

05/13/2014 10:18 AM

05/13/2014 10:19 AM

The site plan for a new multi-tenant retail and restaurant building in Keller was approved at the May 6 city council meeting, but with a few suggestions for changes.

Keller Marketplace, a 10,125-square-foot building on the north side of Keller Parkway west of Keller-Smithfield Road, will be home to “five or six” new restaurant and retail businesses, said Mark Hardaway of Greenway Investment Company at the meeting.

Hardaway said there are talks underway with two different sandwich shops to take one spot and a spa for another, but that no leases have been approved yet.

“We want to make an investment in Keller for tenants who want to be here,” he said.

The vacant facility’s proposed usage got some opposition from neighbors within the 200-foot buffer area, many of whom said the building’s proposed drive-thru for one sandwich restaurant would cause a lot of commotion. The building is near the recently-opened Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and First Financial Bank, both of which have drive thrus.

“A drive-thru creates havoc and is not with the intent of Town Center,” resident Jim McInnis said. “The Saddlebrook residents do not want a strip mall in the back of our neighborhoods — there’s a place for these types of businesses in Keller and this is not it.”

Council member Bill Dodge said his concern was with the quality of businesses the marketplace leased.

“We don’t want ‘fly by night’ restaurants and I think the citizens agree, we want something solid,” he said. “We want quality businesses in Keller and not something that will go out in six months.”

Council approved the facility but urged the developers to seek “quality businesses” and find a way to continue the project without the drive-thru. Hardaway said he and the developers are negotiating letters of intent, but won’t build until at least half of the leasing is approved.

If the developer wants to continue with a drive-thru after choosing a specific tenant, it will go through the specific use plan process again, including public hearings and meetings with the Planning & Zoning Commission and Council, city spokeswoman Rachel Reynolds said.

“We want to see this develop, we really do,” Mayor Pat McGrail said. “We just want it to be good and what people want.”

The next steps for the developer are to submit engineering plans to city staff and start applying for permits, Reynolds said. She said while council encouraged the developer toward higher-end retail and restaurants, council doesn’t approve or block individual tenants in a private sector development deal.

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