The City Council on Monday approved a mixed-use development of up to 550 high-end apartments that will serve as the northern gateway to the historic core of the downtown.
The council also approved a public-private partnership to build another revitalization tool for the downtown — a large pavilion and amphitheater on South Main Street that would provide free music concerts and other entertainment and other entertainment.
The $60.5 million residential project, Main Street Lofts, was proposed originally as a complex with 900 apartments, townhomes and small single-family homes, designed to blend with the century-old downtown buildings. But the council, concerned about housing density and proximity to existing homes, whittled down the number of dwelling units to about 550 loft apartments before casting its third and final vote for the project Monday.
Although the council stripped away all the planned townhomes and small, zero-lot-line single-family homes, it allowed that some could be requested later.
The council also authorized a $2.29 million payment to the project from a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) established for the downtown and surrounding area. The TIRZ generates tax revenues from rising property values within a geographic zone, which is where the funds must be reinvested.
The TIRZ board of directors, which includes four City Council members, allocated the funds for landscaping, site furnishings, a turn lane and street striping. Councilman Cory Hoffman, the board chairman, said the investment will pay off many times over by stimulating other downtown development and simply adding property value to the TIRZ, which helps generate funding for other projects.
“This is a big shot in the arm,” Hoffman said.
Tim Coltart, managing director of Realty Capital, the project’s developer, was upbeat after the meeting. He said construction on the first phase of about 300 to 315 lofts likely would begin in December.
The Historic Mansfield Performance Park’s groundbreaking is set for May 7 on a roughly two-acre tract sandwiched between the Central Fire Station and Level 5 Design, whose owner, Justin Gilmore, conceived the project. He has set up a nonprofit that will raise money and build the pavilion and grassy amphitheater. Under the joint agreement — similar to city deals with Big League Dreams and Hawaiian Falls — the city would own the pavilion and lease it to the nonprofit to operate and maintain it.
Shelly Lanners, the city’s director of community services, said the city would continue to own the site, the former home of the city public library, “and the city will own all of the improvements.”
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641