A new Market Street grocery store, affordable apartments and converting U.S. 287 into an interstate highway dominated Monday’s City Council meeting.
Market Street could be coming to town
An 80,000-square-foot Market Street could anchor a new shopping center east of Mansfield High School at East Broad Street and Cannon Drive.
The proximity to the high school makes it tricky, though, because city ordinance prohibits the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a school.
The council voted 6-1 to approve the zoning change for the project on first reading with Councilwoman Wendy Burgess casting the dissenting vote. It returns for second reading Feb. 27.
Councilman Cory Hoffman requested that the individual tenants come to the council for permission to sell alcohol so they can control who locates there.
Will Tolliver, managing director for retail at Leon Capital Group, the developer for the project, said he would prefer a blanket approval for the site but it’s not an unreasonable request.
In addition to the grocery store, Leon Capital Group is in talks with tenants such as Raising Cane’s, Zoey’s Kitchen and Wells Fargo to occupy pad sites.
There will be two sit-down restaurant sites that will have patios and will likely sell alcohol for on-site consumption, too. There’s also a high-end pet store and pediatric dentist interested in locating there.
The northwest corner of the project will have a park and covered patio for people to gather.
When fully built out, the project could add $60 million to the tax rolls plus another $10 million in business taxes per year.
“We’re getting some pretty great activity on who wants to be here,” Tolliver said.
Mayor David Cook said he wants to prohibit sports bars and restaurants with provocatively dressed staff.. He also limited it to two fast-food restaurants.
Councilman Darryl Haynes grilled Tolliver about why they should allow alcohol sales in proximity to the school.
“I’m going to get 100 phone calls about this next week,” Haynes said.
First, Tolliver said there will be a buffer and grade separation between the school and shopping center.
“We’re creating multiple layer of separation between us and the school,” he said.
Plus, the high-end restaurants won't locate in the center if they can’t sell alcohol, he said.
“All of those guys sell beer and wine because their margins are so impacted by food that they’ve got to make it up somewhere else,” Tolliver said.
Cook agreed that the proximity shouldn’t be an issue.
That stretch of East Broad Street has become a magnet for grocery stores with the Kroger already there, the proposed Market Street and plans for an H.E.B. at the intersection with U.S. 287.
Whole Foods has been trying to get to Mansfield for 10 years and was once interested in the site where the Kroger located, Tolliver said.
Pioneer Place passes initial vote
Zoning for an affordable senior apartment complex on West Broad Street was approved unanimously on first reading. The 135-unit complex, called Pioneer Place, will be age restricted to residents age 55 and up.
The council requested a few design changes before Pioneer Place returns for second reading Feb. 27. Council members want more masonry, stone and stucco instead of the hardy plank siding that was originally shown on the complex.
Bethlehem Baptist Church purchased the 5.5-acre tract at 1197 W. Broad St. across the street from the church for the sole purpose of providing affordable housing for seniors.
The three-story complex will be under one roof so seniors can walk to their neighbors and community amenities.
Bethlehem Pastor Michael Evans said the the 146-year-old church congregation has long advocated for the West Broad corridor and guaranteed the 113,500-square-foot project would not be substandard.
“Any kind of reference to that almost borders on insulting,” Evans told the council. “The time has long come for there to be affordable housing for senior residents. We have fought over the years to make sure that we have quality development, right now we don’t have any. We felt it was long time for us to purchase the property across the street and be the catalyst to make this happen.”
Rent for the one- and two-bedroom apartments will vary based on income levels. It would be subsidized by state and federal tax credits.
Hoffman said he supports the project but he wants more masonry, stone and stucco on the exterior. As proposed, the apartment complex would have 30 percent masonry. Hoffman would like to increase that to 55 percent to 70 percent.
“I would like to see the project just look a little nicer from the standpoint of the exterior aesthetic design,” Hoffman said. “It’s not a tremendous additional cost on the project. It’s not a deal breaker.”
Interstate designation for U.S. 287
U.S. 287 could become an interstate highway spanning from Beaumont to the Canadian border in Montana.
A bill has been filed in the Texas Legislature instructing TxDoT to secure funding for a corridor study, Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, said.
Brown spoke on behalf of TEX-21 Transportation EXcellence for the 21st Century, a group advocating for the highway expansion.
The interstate designation is important because it intersects with all the major highways in the state and could become a critical hurricane evacuation route, Brown said.
The widening of the Panama Canal increases the amount of freight coming into Texas ports, leading to more trucks needing routes through the state.
East Debbie Lane will be repaved
Tiseo Paving Company will start redoing East Debbie Lane from F.M. 157 to U.S. 287. The $5.2 million project will feature 12 inches of subgrade and 10 inches of concrete with a raised median and landscaping.
Mansfield had originally planned to redo the road with asphalt, but upgraded it to concrete so that stretch of road can be used as a truck route.
Sidewalks will also be built on both sides.
A new westbound right-turn lane will be added for drivers wanting to head north on F.M. 157.
Mesquite-based Tiseo also repaved East Debbie Lane east of Matlock Road. The year-long project will start in late March.
Honoring first responders
Mansfield could build a memorial plaza honoring fallen police officers and firefighters. The proposed plaza would cost $105,000 and would be built at City Hall.
New traffic lights
Traffic lights are coming soon to the intersection of Heritage Parkway and Matlock Road. The council picked the lowest bidder, Roadway Solutions, for $254,243. The project will take about four months.