A Dallas developer is seeking investors for a multimillion-dollar project it says would bring hotels, restaurants and retail, apartment complexes and more south of AT&T Stadium where the historic Eastern Star Home once stood.
Citizens Capital Corp. anticipates closing on the 28.5-acre bank-owned property off East Division Street east of Collins Street within the next 90 days, CEO Billy Hawkins said Friday. The developer is selling $30 million in bonds, half of which would help it buy the Arlington entertainment district property and jump-start the planning and initial construction stages, Hawkins said.
With its proximity to nearby football and baseball stadiums and Six Flags Over Texas, Hawkins said he envisions a cluster of full-service hotels, a mix of shops and restaurants, a movie theater and even a special events center for concerts and sporting events. The Shops at Champion’s Summit would also feature apartments, Class A office space and possibly a grocery store, he said. The developer plans a future $100 million bond sale to fund construction of the urban-style project.
“Everything in the community is accessible, convenient for pedestrians to walk to and from. It will be a community that envisions itself as a destination location and a place people want to be,” Hawkins said.
Citizens Capital has not presented its plans to Arlington for review. The land is owned by Providence Bank in Columbia, Mo., which took ownership in early 2012 as part of the bankruptcy of its former owner. Carrollton-based South of the Stadium Llc. had also planned to develop the site with residences, shops and restaurants.
The property was once home to the 89-year-old Eastern Star Home, known as one of Arlinton’s most historic properties. The two-story structure, built in 1924, was torn down nearly two years ago. It had been vacant since 2001 and fallen into disrepair. When seeking a demolition permit in 2013, bank representatives told the Arlington City Council that potential investors would not buy the property without assurances from the city that they could tear down the dilapidated structure.
Citizens Capital said it anticipates recouping most of the purchase price for the property by selling off small parcels.
“We’re pleased with the price considering the strategic location of the property, the acreage and the types of development possible,” said Hawkins, who declined to disclose the purchase price. “We have the ability to get a good portion of the purchase price back by carving off pieces for resale.”
The developer may build at least one hotel and then sell off adjacent parcels to create a hotel cluster, Hawkins said. Arlington has been seeking additional full-service hotels for the entertainment district, which draws millions of visitors each year.
“The city has been very interested in the entertainment district having a large complement of full-service hotels,” Economic Development Manager Bruce Payne said. “It sounds consistent with the general vision has been, as I’ve heard it expressed” by city leaders.
Councilman Robert Shepard said additional hotels could help Arlington generate even more sales tax revenue by being able to host sports teams or national media who come to town for major events at AT&T Stadium. Plus, additional accommodations could encourage more tourists to stay in Arlington longer and explore shops, restaurants and other cultural attractions, he said.
“More full-service hotels would mean we would have more people staying in Arlington and spend money in Arlington rather than having to stay in Dallas or Fort Worth,” Shepard said.
Just as city leaders hope that 100 Center, a $43 million mixed-use development planned for the former Central Library site, will spur other redevelopment downtown, Shepard said a quality project on East Division Street could help draw more investors to the southern end of the entertainment district.
“As things begin to redevelop, the value begins to be seen in redeveloping other properties surrounding it. That could have additional redevelopment effects along that corridor,” Shepard said.
Councilman Jimmy Bennett said he anticipates seeing additional development announcements.
“Most of what I believe is holding up projects from moving forward is securing the necessary and appropriate financing,” Bennett said. “That particular financing market is much more readily available than it has been. I believe there are some developments on the cusp of announcing.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639