Two retail strip centers got initial approval from the City Council on Monday and a contractor was selected to oversee the $12.9 million Mansfield Fieldhouse USA Project. Also, retailers trying to skirt the city’s sign laws might be hearing from code enforcement soon.
Debbie Lane retail
Faced with crushing debt, the Community of Hope United Methodist Church wants to sell some of its land at 1800 E. Debbie Lane to a developer, who could build restaurants and retail on the site.
One of the restaurants calls for a drive-thru and council members were concerned that cars could stack up in the parking lot and out into Debbie Lane. They want the drive-thru reconfigured and color renderings before the second reading Dec. 14.
Church officials said the project is critical for the church’s future and will make the necessary changes.
“I can’t stress to you enough that this sale must happen,” said Kevin Hopp, lead negotiator and member of the finance committee at the church. “We want the opportunity and the flexibility to reach more of Mansfield.”
The council approved it unanimously on first reading.
The 15,421-square-foot strip center doesn’t have any tenants yet, but church officials say they don’t want a high-traffic business that does most of its business in the drive-thru. They want a place where the drive-thru supplements the sit-down business inside.
The council can’t guarantee what type of tenant goes in that space unless it requires a specific-use permit once a restaurant is identified. The council included a stipulation to require that.
More retail planned near football stadium
A retail center just north of Vernon Newsom Stadium also got unanimous approval on first reading. The 9,000-square-foot building could have a restaurant , a dentist, a hair salon and another retail space. The developer is currently in negotiations with Schlotzsky’s for the restaurant space.
A Jake’s Hamburgers is proposed on an adjacent building that wasn’t part of the proposal.
Fieldhouse contractor named
Pete Durant and Associates will be the contractor at risk for the 90,000-square-foot FieldhouseUSA project at the northeast corner of U.S. 287 and East Broad Street. With a guaranteed maximum price of $12.9 million, the contractor at risk must deliver the project at that price and is responsible for any overages.
The council approved it as part of the consent agenda with other routine items.
It will include eight basketball courts, which could also be used for volleyball.
The construction will be paid for by the Mansfield Park Facilities Development Corp., which is funded by the city half-cent sales tax. It’s scheduled to open in October 2016. The day-to-day operations will be managed by FieldhouseUSA, a Frisco-based company that has a similar facility in that city.
Watch out for window signs
Mansfield will be cracking down on signs that are strategically positioned in front of windows, especially in convenience stores. Oftentimes, these signs are in excess of what Mansfield allows but code enforcement didn’t have the means to remove them because they weren’t affixed to the window.
Now, they do.
The council voted 4-3 on final reading for an ordinance that Felix Wong, director of planning, says clearly defines a window sign as anything that can be viewed through the window.
“If a merchant has a sign that they put within a couple inches of the window, it is now defined as a window sign,” Wong said.
That has Councilman Larry Broseh concerned that the city will come down hard on its businesses.
“I don’t see how you can in good conscience do this when it affects so many stores,” Broseh said. “Most of the retailers would not be in compliance. [The signs] don’t offend me. In this case, I feel there are more injustices that we would do than justices.”
Councilman Stephen Lindsey, who chairs a code enforcement subcommittee, said it’s about creating a level playing for all the retailers, including those who follow the rules.
Broseh, Mayor David Cook and Councilman Darryl Haynes voted against the ordinance. An earlier motion to deny the ordinance failed 3-4.