The Mansfield City Council revealed new details about the funding for the Dr Pepper StarCenter that include a land swap and a significant contribution by the developer of the Shops at Broad.
However, the mixed-use Shops at Broad project still faces strong opposition from residents who have concerns about traffic, drainage, apartments and a public-private partnership with Dallas Stars Enterprises. Many residents called on the council to table the project so they could continue meeting with the developer.
After more than two hours of discussion, the council voted 6-1 to approve the zoning change on second reading late Monday night.
Councilman Larry Broseh voted no, saying he agreed with residents that he needed more time. The majority of the council agreed to move the project along because it’s time sensitive.
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A final vote, which will also include a public hearing, will be Aug. 8. The 83-acre project is proposed at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and U.S. 287.
The project includes about 330 apartments in a four-story building, though it was pushed farther away from a nearby neighborhood. One whole wing of apartments was shifted so it wouldn’t loom over a home.
Tyler Morris, a partner with developer Geyer Morris, said the retail market has shifted in recent years, hence the need for high-end apartments to create foot traffic.
“Multi-family is a critical part in a lot of these developments across the Metroplex,” Morris said. “It can drive significant amount of traffic into the development. The more higher-end, higher-quality tenants are now interested in looking at the development because they see the value of the traffic.”
Also, Mansfield did a land swap with the developer of the Shops at Broad so the StarCenter can be built in the middle of the mixed-use project. The council approved a deal on first reading where the city gives Geyer Morris 4 acres of land fronting U.S. 287 in exchange for 6 acres within the Shops at Broad. The conveyance of land requires two more votes.
Most importantly, Geyer Morris will give the city $2 million as part of the transaction. That’s money Mansfield will use to fill in the gap to make the StarCenter happen. Earlier this year, Dallas Stars Enterprises looked to the Mansfield school district to provide that funding, which proved controversial and quickly got shot down.
The 4-acre site, located adjacent to FieldhouseUSA, was where the city had originally proposed to build the StarCenter.
The City Council unanimously approved a new 30-year lease and operating agreement with Dallas Stars Enterprises for the $15.1 million ice rink that includes an up-to-date funding breakdown.
The Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corp. will contribute $7.9 million in bonds, which will be repaid by the city’s half-cent sales tax. The city of Mansfield will issue $2.7 million in debt and contribute another $2 million from the land swap with Geyer Morris.
The 80,000-square-foot facility will be built and owned by the city. The StarCenter would open in September 2017.
Dallas Stars Enterprises will pay $18.5 million in rent over the course of the 30-year lease and will pay $2 million in upfront rent and security deposits.
The total net investment for the city will be $1.9 million, or $66,198 per year, when taking into account the rent and the city’s capital investments.
To accommodate the increased traffic, East Broad Street will be widened to a six-lane divided road from U.S. 287 to Cannon Drive. The council awarded a $500,000 contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. to design the expanded road.
The project includes a traffic signal at the intersection with Regency Parkway, which will be the main entrance into the Shops at Broad project.
The funding for the roadway design will come from the Mansfield Economic Development Corp.
Opponents sound off
Gino Fenoglio, who lives on Carlin Road, said that the project should be tabled and added that the StarCenter should be put to a vote. He’s concerned about flooding, traffic and the viability of the project overall.
“I’m not sure the creek can take it. It backs up so fast and it comes up in a hurry,” Fenoglio said. “Are we rushing into something or are we doing something right?”
His wife, Catherine Fenoglio, said the apartments will start a downward spiral for the whole area.
“Apartments put a strain on the infrastructure,” she said. “The problem of overcrowding. The strain it puts on the police and fire. The influx of crime into the area.”
Karen Pope, a 26-year resident of Carlin Road, said she just sees a sports center that she will have no use for.
“I’ve watched the city grow up around me. Now, it’s at my front door,” Pope said. “If this is for the citizens of Mansfield then it should be for all residents, not just a select few.”
Sandi Kunasek said the Shops at Broad needs more public spaces where people will want to gather with fountains, amphitheaters, sculptures and other landmarks.
“What is something different than the other shopping centers in Mansfield that would want you to stay there and spend your money?” Kunasek said. “Implementing just a few of those could be the draw to get people to stay here.”
Former City Councilman Greg Kunasek, who lives on Carlin Road, said his driveway was underwater for three days during the spring. The flooding will only get worse when the soil and corn crops are replaced with concrete, he said.
Flooded lots become parkland
In other business, former residential lots that flooded in 2010 will become part of the Walnut Creek Linear Park.
The council voted unanimously to have the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corp. purchase seven properties, three on Parkridge Drive and four on Palm Street, for $70,000.
A Federal Emergency Management Agency grant awarded funds to the homeowners after the homes were damaged by flood waters from Tropical Storm Hermine. The homes have since been demolished.
As a condition of the grant, the land must remain open space park land. Improvements such as pedestrian trails, signage, drinking fountains and shade structures could be added in the future.
The purchase will be funded by the MPFDC’s half-cent sales tax. Additional properties that flooded could be purchased in the future.
The football fields at Clayton Chandler Park will be getting shade structures.
The council approved $67,825 for 10 new fabric shade structures for both football fields. The request for the shade structures came from the Mansfield Pee Wee Football Association so spectators can watch the games more comfortably.
Mansfield also initiated eminent domain proceedings against a property at 1416 Holley Creek Lane in the Shannon Creek neighborhood off Debbie Lane and U.S. 287.
Mansfield needs the .37-acre tract to build a new sanitary sewer line to replace the existing one. The property owner has rejected two offers presented by the city.