A pedestrian promenade and marketplace will be added to the Shops at Broad mixed-use project as Mansfield leaders work to fulfill the vision they originally had for the project.
The City Council approved the changes unanimously Monday after lengthy discussions in closed session. The 81-acre site is located at the northeast corner of U.S. 287 and East Broad Street.
In addition, the council agreed to contribute an additional $4.5 million so the city can control the majority of the parking lots. That way, the parking will be available for everyone and can’t be restricted for private use.
The council also removed the fire lane near Carlin Road, so there will be more greenbelt buffer space near the homes in that area.
Construction has been progressing on the site based on the site plan that was approved last year but council members and city staff kept pushing for more enhancements for the project.
The main addition is the east-west promenade that City Attorney Allen Taylor said will become a destination and gathering place for the community. It will have shops on either side that will be accessible on foot.
"This should serve as an economic engine to accelerate development," Taylor said. "It produces a significant enhancement of the facility in terms of achieving the city’s goals. The Shops at Broad will be generating significant sums of ad valorem and sales tax funds in the years to come."
The city already has a huge stake in the Shops at Broad because it owns the Mansfield StarCenter ice rink that’s under construction and scheduled to open in August. It also owns the FieldhouseUSA Mansfield facility just to the north of the Shops at Broad. The city will also extend the Walnut Creek Linear Park trail through the development.
Mayor David Cook wanted to confirm whether this promenade would be part of the first phase. Taylor said that the city negotiated to make sure the promenade would be ready by August 2019.
Previously, the city had announced that the first stores at Shops at Broad would open in fall 2018.
No other council members commented on the matter.
So far, only Academy Sports & Outdoors, At Home and Flix Brewhouse have been confirmed for the Shops at Broad. Starbucks has also contacted the city about a sign request.
Council to Saltgrass: Good fences make good neighbors
Saltgrass Steak House moved closer to final approval Monday night but the council directed the restaurant developer to include a fence in the plans before final reading Nov. 27.
The council voted 6-1 to approve the planned development zoning change with Councilman Terry Moore voting no.
Residents have raised concerns about traffic, light and noise from a proposed Saltgrass at 1770 N. U.S. 287. Saltgrass representatives at the meeting said they couldn’t make a decision to include a fence that night.
Cook said the fence would cost about $15,000, a small amount considering the restaurant will cost millions of dollars to build.
Cook also directed the developer to contact the residents who have concerns about the project. If the residents haven’t been contacted by the next meeting, Cook said he will table the project.
Wayne Burgdorf, a broker at Coldwell Banker, has been marketing the property for three years and said he’s had several prospects, including limited service hotels.
"We want you here but we also have to protect the things that are bringing you to Mansfield," Moore said. "You want to be here and you want to be here for a reason."
All could have built on the site without even getting a zoning change. The only reason Saltgrass needed a zoning change was for variances to the city masonry and sign requirements.
If Saltgrass bails out of the project, another commercial use could come to Mansfield, pull a permit and start building without any public notice.
"I don’t envy your position," Burgdorf said. "Be careful what you wish for."
Councilman Darryl Haynes said he was fired up from this negotiation process over a simple fence.
"We certainly do not want a hotel," Haynes said. "We’re going to play hardball. You represent your customer. We represent our customer. It’s just $15,000 on a $2 million project? Give me a break."