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Kacie Kell

AC Hotel, a brand popular in Europe, gets key incentive to build in downtown Fort Worth

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IMG_ac_hotel_5_1_HKAQPABU_L298947286Fort Worth Star Telegram, by Sandra Baker

Construction on the $68.5 million, 16-story AC Hotel on Main Street in downtown Fort Worth will begin mid-2018, the developer said Wednesday after a special taxing district approved a $4.1 million incentive for the project.

For a moment during the Downtown Tax Increment Finance District board meeting, though, it appeared the project might be derailed for lack of support.

At issue was whether public dollars could be used to pay for a transformer that Oncor electric utility requires for the building. In downtown, Oncor requires an electrical vault for the transformer and two back-up transformers in the case of outages.

Of the developer’s $4.1 million request, $3.1 million would be reimbursement for the electrical vault, which is typically built under the sidewalk.

The money will come from property taxes generated within a designated area downtown. The money is reinvested in development instead of going into the city’s general fund.

The 246-room hotel, a Marriott brand popular in Europe, will be built at the southwest corner of Fifth and Main streets next to the Kress Building. The land has been used as a 32-space parking lot for the past 20 years. It will take two years to build, according to the developer, Dallas-based Jackson-Shaw.

The building will include space for shops and restaurants, meeting rooms and a rooftop patio. The project was approved by the Downtown Design Review Board in November.

Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square, the popular downtown entertainment, office, shopping and restaurant development, raised the question of whether the city’s policy of spending TIF proceeds can be used to support what he thinks is an “exclusively private purpose.”

“It’s a great hotel,” Campbell said. “It’s going to be good for the area.” But, he added, “This transformer is not needed for anything but this building. Transformers have no public infrastructure or public service benefit.”

Michele Wheeler, Jackson Shaw’s president and chief operating officer, told the board Wednesday if the project didn’t receive the incentive it would not move forward. She said the company has been dealing with issues surrounding electric utilities at the site for nine months.

“We’ve already been delayed twice now,” Wheeler said. “Our construction costs are going in the wrong direction the longer we wait. We are in jeopardy. We’ve seen substantial price increases with hurricanes and fires.”

Councilwoman Ann Zadeh, whose district includes downtown and who is chairwoman of the Downtown TIF board, said the transformer would bring electricity for lighting the public sidewalks, for example. The hotel, too, is fulfilling a public need for more downtown hotels.

“I would assume staff would not bring a proposal and/or a recommendation that would not be in line with our policy,” Zadeh said. “We’ve met the legal requirement. This is all helping us implement the things we’ve identified as a public good in the downtown corridor.”

The Downtown TIF approved a similar request for the 25-story Frost Tower on Taylor Street, being built by Anthracite Realty Partners, an affiliate of Jetta Operating Co. That project received $4.8 million to cover infrastructure work in the public right of way, including an electric vault.

Jackson Shaw bought the land from Sinclair Holdings Inc. in August, financing the deal with a $2.9 million note with Southwest Bank, according to deed records.

David Pettit Economic Development Recent Projects

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David Pettit Economic Development Recent Projects

We are dedicated to providing top notch solutions and advocacy for our public and private clients. We have been very busy the past several months but have had our hands in several public/private projects throughout the state.  Hold Fast!

Downtown Tyler TIRZ – Tyler, Texas

Last year, we assisted the City of Tyler in finding solutions to promote economic development. Working with City staff and council, we were able to aid in the dissolution of the Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Two due to change of taxable property to tax exempt status creating a negative tax increment and then establish Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Four (TIRZ #4). TIRZ # 4 is located in the downtown area of the City of Tyler with the goal of facilitating public-private partnerships that benefit the entire community. This year, we were able to assist in securing participation from Smith County, as well as Tyler Junior College in TIRZ #4.

City of El Paso TIRZ – El Paso, Texas

Working with the City of El Paso, we were able to help with the creation of El Paso Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Seven (TIRZ #7). TIRZ #7 was uniquely located along the City’s planned bus rapid transit route and a future transportation hub for the City’s Rapid Transit System. Projects within the Zone represented a $106 million investment and upon completion the area would have increased walkability, as well as retail, office, and commercial uses.  Additionally, it was the City’s desire to have the land developed facilitated through a direct sale agreement between the City and a private entity per Chapter 272 of the Local Government Code.

Rudman TIRZ – Little Elm, Texas

The Town of Little Elm was looking to create a TIRZ over approximately 145 acres in northwest Little Elm. We were excited to be a part of their project and successfully created Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Six (TIRZ #6) which will accommodate over 450 single-family homes.

Kaufman TIRZ and Development Agreement – Kaufman Texas

We assisted the City of Kaufman in creating the City of Kaufman Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number One (TIRZ #1) in 2015. Subsequently, the City decided to amend TIRZ #1 by expanding the boundaries to include an additional 355 acres. In December 2016, working with City staff we were able successfully amend the boundary.  Additionally, we worked with the City and TIRZ on an Economic Development Agreement for the construction and reimbursement of a $7,100,000 roadway and public infrastructure with JWS LAND, LTD.

Mercer Crossing – Farmers Branch, Texas

In November 2016, the City Council of Farmers Branch approved an ordinance establishing Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Three (TIRZ #3). We were able to help Centurion American Development Group and the City of Farmers Branch find tailored solutions to bring a $1 billion mixed-use development to Farmers Branch. The development is designed with 93 acres of urban commerce construction and 174 acres of residential single-family homes.

Shops at Broad – Mansfield, Texas

Serving as economic development consultants and crafting an economic incentive model, we were able to support Geyer Morris public participation by the City of Mansfield for the Shops at Broad. The Shops at Broad is a true mixed-use development spanning 500,000 square feet. The Shops at Broad is a long-awaited project offering a regional draw.

Bay City TIRZ Creation and Implementation – Bay City, Texas

Our friends in Bay City, Texas were looking for assistance with the creation of two Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones. We assisted Bay City Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC) with the creation of Bay City TIRZ #1 and TIRZ #2. Creation steps included a financial analysis, project and financing plan, feasibility analysis and taxable value analysis.

TIRZ #2 helped provide incentives to bring a new cinema to Bay City. Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille broke ground last June and had its grand opening in May 2017.




Downtown Azle TIRZ – Azle, Texas

City of Azle Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number One (TIRZ #1) is located in the heart of the City, and was developed with the goal of facilitating development and encouraging private investment while establishing high development standards within the City. Working with City staff, we were able to identify areas in the City with high potential. Azle TIRZ #1 is located in two counties creating additional obstacles that we were happy to assist in tackling. The TIRZ #1 Project and Financing Plan anticipates gross revenue of nearly $70 million over the life of the TIRZ.

Cedar Hill Redevelopment – Cedar Hill, Texas

The City of Cedar Hill contacted us in 2016 to work on a plan to bring much-needed public infrastructure and development to a southern portion of the City. Utilizing a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), we were able to take a step in the right direction by developing a plan that will target three distinct areas in southern Cedar Hill: Uptown, Midtown and Historic Downtown. Anticipated development will include residential, office, commercial, and retail space. Two hotels and a conference center are also expected to result from TIRZ implementation.

TIRZ Creation – Pilot Point, Texas

In 2016, the City of Pilot Point was referred to us because they were interested in creating a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to assist in funding much-needed public infrastructure related to residential projects. The creation of Tax Increment Reinvestment Number One (TIRZ #1) allowed the City of Pilot Point to move a step closer to meeting the goals of their Comprehensive Plan, specifically their goal to create a diverse and unique community and to provide better housing options.

Brazos Mall Redevelopment – Lake Jackson, Texas

Working with Centennial Real Estate, we were able to help create a successful public private partnership with the City of Lake Jackson. The partnership revived the Brazos Mall and increased the quality of tenants within the Brazos Mall. Through cooperation, Centennial and the City of Lake Jackson were able to come to agreement on a plan to invest $32 million into the revitalization of the Brazos Mall.

Hotel Renovo – Fort Worth, Texas

Heart of America Group identified an opportunity in the City of Fort Worth to create a luxury, urban-inspired contemporary hotel. Acting as economic development consultants, we were able to help Heart of America Group develop a pro forma and strategy to obtain financial incentives, making the opportunity a viable project. The 10-story, 170-room full-service boutique hotel is scheduled to open in Fort Worth’s Cultural District in August 2019.

Glendenning Ranch TIRZ – Celina, Texas

The City of Celina economic development goal is to pursue economic development resulting in a diverse local economy, increasing Celina’s self-sufficiency providing abundant business and employment opportunities for the City’s resident and maintaining an adequate tax base to provide quality public services. REX Real Estate was prepared to help the City of Celina move towards that goal and we were fortunate to be able to assist in developing a plan to move forward. A Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone was created allowing the city to contribute an incentive towards a mixed-use development with residential, retail and office uses.

Race Street Redevelopment – Fort Worth, Texas

In an effort to revitalize the Race Street area in Fort Worth, the City Council approved a 10-year Tax Abatement Agreement and an Enhanced Community Facilities Agreement (ECFA) with 2925 Race, LLC. The revitalization will include the construction of a mixed-use project with 152 residential units located at Plumwood Street and Race Street in the Six Points Neighborhood Empowerment Zone. It was an honor to serve as economic development consultants on the project and we look forward to growth in our community.

Stockyards Heritage Redevelopment – Fort Worth, Texas

Working with Majestic Realty and Hickman Companies, David Pettit Economic Development provided support in securing economic incentives for a major redevelopment project in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, which encompasses 70 acres and about 800,000 square feet of new space. The redevelopment plan anticipates a hotel along Marine Creek near Main and NE 23rd streets, an animal exhibition area, several parking areas, office buildings and areas set aside for residential development.

Grapevine Mills TIRZ – Grapevine, Texas

The City of Grapevine contacted us to explore options related to the expansion and amendment of the existing Grapevine Mills TIF. Specifically, the City of Grapevine wanted to include an additional 419 acres to the TIF including 185 owned by the City.  We worked to create all the necessary documentation to walk them through the process in accordance with Chapter 311 of the Texas Tax Code. Per their request, we were also able to extend the term through December 31, 2038.

Redevelopment TIRZ – Euless, Texas

Our friends in Euless were interested in creating a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to assist in funding much-needed public infrastructure south of TX-183. The public infrastructure was crucial to encouraging private development that would also yield additional tax revenue to local taxing jurisdictions. In 2015, with our assistance, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Four (TIRZ #4) was created. The goal of the 30-year TIRZ is to facilitate mixed-use development consisting of retail, residential and senior housing. The project outlines qualifying infrastructure costs of approximately $16.5 million in public improvements, including streets, land and right of way, water and sewer lines, storm drainage, remediation, and engineering costs.



Champions Circle and Tanger Outlets – Fort Worth, Texas

Working with Fine Line Diversified Development, Tanger Outlets and Buc-ee’s, we were able to analyze, present and negotiate a 380 Economic Development agreement for a performance based incentive package. The development will feature office, retail, and residential projects. Additionally, the site will have a 284-room hotel and conference center. The parcels at the site are flexible for office, retail, medical and data center development allowing for a wide range of uses.

Frost Tower – Fort Worth, Texas

David Pettit Economic Development was excited to partner with Anthracite Realty and Jetta Operating Co. to assist in securing TIF incentives for the new Frost Tower in downtown Fort Worth.  The new tower is expected to open in early 2018. The 25-story tower broke ground in October 2015 and will feature office space, a parking garage, outdoor café and meeting rooms.



World Class Outlet Center to Join Champions Circle Development near Texas Motor Speedway

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 Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. has announced plans for a new Tanger Outlet Center serving the greater Fort Worth/Denton and adjacent metro areas.  The new center will be a signature retail component of Fine Line Diversified Development’s Champions Circle, a 279-acre commercial mixed-use real estate development adjacent to the Texas Motor Speedway.  When complete, this new retail destination is expected to contain approximately 350,000- square-feet of retail space and feature over 70 upscale brand name and designer outlet retailers. 

344489Tanger has attracted and signed leases with top name brand retailers including Nike, Levi’s, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Express, Skechers, Carter’s and Oshkosh.   In addition, Tanger is presently negotiating leases with numerous other leading designer/retailers seeking to secure space in this dynamic location.

“With a proven track record for developing best in class outlet centers and long standing retailer partnerships, Tanger Outlets is the company to get this project done and executed at a superior level of quality.  They create lifestyle destination centers that not only provide a first-class retail experience, but also celebrate the culture of the communities in which they operate.  Tanger is the ideal partner to make the vision for Champions Circle everything we had hoped. We look forward to continuing to work closely with them on a world class project at this premier intersection,” said Bill Boecker, President and CEO of Fine Line Diversified Development.

“We are excited to join this vibrant market and fast growing community, neighboring the world famous Texas Motor Speedway and just a short drive to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, downtown Fort Worth and its renowned cultural district,” said Steven B. Tanger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tanger Outlets.  “Given the quality of the tenants we have signed and that have committed to our project, and the overall strength of the market in Fort Worth, we expect Tanger Outlets in Fort Worth will be a highly successful and popular destination.”

The new Tanger Outlets center is expected to create more than 400 full and part-time jobs during the construction phase of the project and over 900 full and part-time retail jobs once the center opens.  “We couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to have such a highly recognized national retail name like Tanger Outlet Centers become a great new addition to our outstanding family of Fort Worth-area businesses,” said Dennis Shingleton, Fort Worth City Council Member for the district that includes Champions Circle.

The world-class shopping destination will join several exciting components and capital improvements at Champions Circle including:

  • The Dallas-Fort Worth Marriott Hotel: the popular four-star hotel, conference center and golf club continues to be a focal point of Champions Circle.
  • Buc-ee’s Travel Center: under construction and slated to open in time for Memorial Day Weekend, Buc-ee’s latest location will have 100 gas pumps, 65,000-square-feet of restaurant venues and all of the high-end amenities travelers have come to expect at Buc-ee’s locations.
  • Churchill Apartments: this 137 unit multi-family complex is nearing completion and will begin welcoming new tenants in June of this year to residences lining the Marriott golf course with easy walkable access to future restaurants and shopping.
  • Gray Dove Apartments: a 700+ unit multi-family complex immediately adjacent to Churchill Apartments that is currently in the engineering and design phase of the project.
  • Champions Shopping Center: a 540,000-square-foot power center immediately adjacent to Tanger’s site, filled with lots of complementary stores and free-standing restaurants.
  • Highway Improvements: extensions on the southbound service road in front of the Tanger site are underway. Additionally, new on and off ramps are being constructed, plus a “Texas-U-Turn” which enables northbound I-35W highway traffic to enter Champions Circle without having to go through the service road intersection traffic lights at I-35W and SH-114. All highway improvements are designed to maximize access to Champions Circle and Tanger and are expected to be complete ahead of the Champions Circle retail component.

“We are excited about the prospect of Tanger Outlets joining the Champions Circle development across from the Speedway,” said Eddie Gossage, President of the Texas Motor Speedway.  “Each year we attract more than a million racing enthusiasts and they will now have many options for additional shopping and entertainment during their stay.  This development will be a huge boon for the Fort Worth area and its residents.”

Champions Circle is located 18 miles north of downtown Fort Worth at the intersection of Interstate 35W and State Highway 114, across from the main entrance to the Texas Motor Speedway.  Andy Eads, Denton County Commissioner, has been a driving force behind new traffic circulation advances in the area. Mr. Eads states, “Over the years I have worked diligently with numerous community partners to ensure needed traffic improvements are in place to serve the exciting new projects coming to the Texas Motor Speedway/Champions Circle area. We are excited to welcome this high-quality retail development to this part of Denton County.”

344622Forward Looking Information
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. These statements include, but are not limited to, the development and opening of a new center, the tenant mix, the number of jobs and the amount of tax revenue expected to be generated, and management’s beliefs, plans, estimates, intentions, and similar statements concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and therefore, actual results could differ materially from those projected. For a more detailed discussion of the factors that affect the operating results of the Company, interested parties should review the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015.

Those factors include, but are not limited to, the risks associated with general economic and real estate conditions, the risks associated with real estate development including obtaining necessary approvals, the availability and cost of capital, the Company’s ability to lease its properties or to meet its minimum pre-leasing hurdles on proposed new developments and competition.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc., is a publicly-traded REIT headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina that presently operates and owns, or has an ownership interest in, a portfolio of 42 upscale outlet shopping centers and 2 additional centers currently under construction. Tanger’s operating properties are located in 21 states coast to coast and in Canada, totaling approximately 14.3 million square feet, leased to over 3,000 stores which are operated by more than 490 different brand name companies. The company has more than 35 years of experience in the outlet industry. Tanger Outlet Centers continue to attract more than 185 million shoppers annually. For more information on Tanger Outlet Centers, call 1-800-4TANGER or visit the company’s web site

About Fine Line Diversified Development, Inc.
Fine Line Diversified Development, an entity owned by Ed Bass, is a real estate development and investment firm. It has formed numerous private partnerships focused on commercial land to develop retail, office, multi-family, industrial and large mixed-use projects. For more information on Fine Line Diversified Development and Champions Circle Development, please visit the web sites and

Tanger Outlets preps for retail destination near Texas Motor Speedway

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After years of various delays, the Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. has begun moving forward with plans to bring an upscale outlet center to a site adjacent to Texas Motor Speedway. The near-upscale outlet center will total about 350,000 square feet with more than 70 retailers that will anchor Champions Circle, a 279-acre mixed-use development.

So far, Tanger has signed real estate leases with Nike, Levi’s, Banana Republic, Gap, Skechers, Old Navy, Express, Carter’s and Oshkosh. “We’ve identified Fort Worth as one of the really great cities in the country that is underserved by a new contemporary outlet center,” Tanger Outlets CEO Steven Tanger told the Dallas Business Journal. “This whole area has been built out in the last two years,” Tanger added. “This will be a regional shopping destination that will have a draw from 20 to 30 miles away.”

Under an incentive package, the Greensboro, North Carolina-based outlet giant would need to invest $70 million to build the center by 2018 and have 350 full-time employees in place by the end of 2019. In return, Tanger would get back 85 percent of the city’s 1 cent sales tax for 15 years, or an estimated $25 million. Before Tanger Outlets begin construction, Tanger said the property will need to be 60 percent leased to retail tenants.

“Our goal is to begin construction before the end of the year, but we do not build on speculation,” he told me. “We have all our permits in hand and we will build from cash on hand, but we need at least 60 percent of the space committed to tenants.”
The Tanger Outlets in Fort Worth will anchor a mixed-use development built by Fine Line Diversified Development, which is an entity owned by Fort Worth developer and investor Ed Bass. The real estate development firm’s president and CEO Bill Boecker said Tanger made an ideal retail partner for Champions Circle at the prime intersection at Interstate 35W and State Highway 114. In all, the Tanger Outlets Center is expected to create more than 400 full- and part-time jobs in the as part of the project’s construction. Upon completion, the outlet center is expected to employ more than 900 full- and part-time retail jobs.

Champions Circle will also include a Marriott Hotel, Buc-ee’s Travel Center, hundreds of apartments and a 540,000-square-foot power center adjacent to the new outlet center with complementary stores and free-standing restaurants. Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said he expects the development to be a boon to that part of the region. “Each year we attract more than a million racing enthusiasts and they will now have many options for additional shopping and entertainment during their stay,” he said.

From the Dallas Business Journal by Candace Carlisle

Race to build outlet mall in Fort Worth heats up as Tanger announces tenants

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1- Tanger Outlets Tower Rendering

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers says it has signed up several retailers for its proposed shopping center near the Texas Motor Speedway as the race to build an outlet mall heats up in far north Fort Worth.

Nike, Levi’s, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Express, Skechers, Carter’s and Oshkosh have signed leases for the planned 350,000-square-foot center, the company said today. It’s currently negotiating with numerous other leading designer/retailers and will begin construction on Tanger Outlets Fort Worth once it has leased out 60 percent of the space, said Steven Tanger, the company’s president and chief executive officer.

“We are close to that, but not there yet,” Tanger said in a telephone interview. “It’s our plan to start construction before the end of the year.”

The project update from Tanger, based in Greensboro, N.C., comes as the Fort Worth City Council is considering a request for incentives for a different outlet center proposed several miles south on I-35, near Cabela’s. That project, to be called The Outlets at Alliance, is being proposed by Woodmont Land Co.

2- Tanger Outlets Fountain Rendering

At a Fort Worth City Council meeting last week, city officials said that project would be about 580,000 square feet with potential tenants including H&M, Vera Bradley, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess and Famous Footwear. The developer has not yet announced any signed leases for the project. The city has offered Woodmont a 15-year grant of 85 percent of the city’s 1-cent sales tax if the project reaches $100 million in investment. The incentive is capped at $20 million. Tanger said that based on his company’s 35 years of experience in the industry, there is not room in the north Fort Worth market for two outlet centers.

“If they both get built, they will split the market and neither one will be a huge success,” Tanger said. “The tenant community wants to support one dominant center that will be a big success.”

Tanger Outlets Fort Worth is being built as part of Champions Circle, a 279-acre commercial mixed-use development at the southwest corner of I-35 and Texas 114. A Buc-ee’s Travel Center is under construction at the site, directly across from the speedway. The project is being built by Fine Line Diversified Development, which is controlled by Fort Worth developer and financier Ed Bass.

“With a proven track record for developing best in class outlet centers and longstanding retailer partnerships, Tanger Outlets is the company to get this project done and executed at a superior level of quality,” said Bill Boecker, President and CEO of Fine Line, in a statement. “Tanger is the ideal partner to make the vision for Champions Circle everything we had hoped.”

Tanger estimated that the cost of the Fort Worth outlet center will be between $80 million and $100 million. He said it usually takes about a year for a new center to open once construction begins. In May 2015, the Fort Worth City Council approved an incentive for the Tanger Outlets project if developers invest at least $70 million. The incentive is a grant of 85 percent of the city’s 1-cent sales tax for 10 years. The incentive is capped at $25 million.

3- Tanger Outlets Champions Circle Site Plan

Glade Parks Town Center

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  • Belk, Cinepolis, and Dave & Buster’s Anchored Lifestyle Center, including over 110,000 square feet of additional retail and restaurant space opening Spring 2017
  • Demographics within a 5-Mile Radius
    • Total Population:   192,765
    • Daytime Population:   208,617
    • Median Household Income:   $74,974
    • Average Household Income:  $94,550
  • Glade Parks Power Center Now Open

Glade Parks Town Center is a regional shopping and entertainment destination for Euless, Colleyville, Grapevine and the Mid-Cities.  The collection of national retailers, unique restaurants and entertainment venues will place Glade Parks among the top lifestyle centers in the region. Conveniently located at the intersection of State Highway 121 and Glade Road, the development offers quick access to and from surrounding cities.






Fort Worth Council takes another step in Stockyards historic district plan

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Tuesday night the Fort Worth City Council moved forward with plans for a process to redevelop a historic area that includes a part of the Fort Worth Stockyards, but not without some controversy. The historic district would run north to Stockyard Boulevard, Exchange Avenue on both sides of Main Street. Creating the historic district is the first step in creating a form-based code district for the area that has proven a draw for tourists and residents alike. Several members of Historic Fort Worth and others interested in historic preservation praised the council, but also requested that the historic district be enlarged. While they wanted the district enlarged, others were asking their property be removed from the district. Among those were the owners of Billy Bob’s Texas honky-tonk, one of the main draws for the area, sent a letter to the council asking the building be removed from the historic district. Brad Hickman, one of the developers in the Majestic/Hickman, said in the letter that Billy Bob’s is considering expanding the nightclub’s performance space from one that can accommodate 1,900 audience members to one that holds 5,000.

However, several speakers said Billy Bob’s should be included in the process. In June 2014, the council approved an economic incentive plan for a $175 million redevelopment plan for several properties owned by the Hickman family. The Hickman family partnered with Majestic Realty to redevelop part of the Stockyards Station, the mule barns and other properties. A redevelopment project on the mule barns is slated to begin early 2016.

The Majestic-Hickman project prompted the City Council to make zoning changes within the Stockyards and also create a design overlay district that would cover not only the Majestic-Hickman project but also the surrounding areas of the Stockyards. The Historic Stockyards Design District Task Force was in charge of drafting a document that would outline the design guidelines for the design overlay district. The task force approved a final draft of that document in September. The Majestic-Hickman group recently said it would spend $40 million to preserve the historic mule barns located along Exchange Street.

Several speakers at the council meeting were also concerned about demolition permits issued to Majestic Realty to several structures in the former Swift & Co. property. But Kerby Smith, senior vice president of Majestic Realty said “time and weather and neglect have caused a significant deterioration and disrepair to many of the structures owned by [the Majestic-Hickman partnership.]”

Ann Zadeh, who represents District 9 on the city’s southside, put forward a substitute motion that would expand the historic district, but didn’t find any support for her motion. The council then approved the historic district boundary, but council and city officials noted that this process was just beginning.

“This is not the end of the public process, it still continues,” said District 2 Councilman Sal Espino. “There will be meetings with stakeholders in December. There will be public hearings.” The plans will also be heard in public hearings by the Historic and Cultural Landmark Commission in January and the Zoning Commission after that. The council will take a final vote on the plan in March. “The Fort Worth Stockyards are Fort Worth and Fort Worth is the Stockyards,” said Espino.

Dallas could spend $2.4 million to help breathe life into dying Southwest Center Mall

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In September, private equity investor Peter Brodsky bought most of the beleaguered Southwest Center Mall at auction — at a cost of around $13 million. And for now, Brodsky told the Dallas City Council’s  Economic Development Committee this morning, that’s “100 percent personal,” meaning he alone is investing in a dead mall the city has spent years trying to revive. “This is something that’s extremely important to me and will be done in a way that works for this community,” Brodsky said.

But Brodsky will not go it alone: The Office of Economic Development has agreed to kick in a $2.4 million grant, which will go toward acquiring other properties at the mall — likely, the vacant Dillard’s space. The committee agreed to pass along the grant proposal to the full council for a vote in January. Only one member of the committee refused to sign off: Carolyn King Arnold, who wanted more details concerning the mall’s future before agreeing to the public subsidy. Arnold, who spoke for close to 15 minutes and eventually accused committee chair Rick Callahan of cutting her off, said she wants to “stop giving city dollars to feel-good developments that just go” nowhere.

Her fellow committee members vehemently disagreed. Callahan thanked Brodsky, who was in attendance, “for your boldness in stepping up with this plan and leading this turnaround.” Casey Thomas thanked him for involving the community in discussions about its fate. Adam McGough, who once spearheaded Mayor Mike Rawlings’ GrowSouth program, said Brodsky’s involvement in Southwest Center’s redo represented “such an opportunity for GrowSouth and the entire city.” And Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Erik Wilson said, “I am hyena happy and peacock proud of what’s about to go down at Southwest Center Mall.”

Dallas City Hall’s been spending money on the former Red Bird Mall since 2009, when the council shucked out $120,000 on an Urban Land Institute study that ultimately concluded that the “mostly dead” mall could be saved if, among other things, ownership was consolidated, the city could find an interested developer and Dallas City Hall created a tax increment financing district that funneled public money into the overhaul. The TIF’s been in place since the spring of 2014, when the council voted to create the Mall Area Redevelopment Tax Increment Financing District that includes both Southwest Center and Valley View Center. And now, it has a developer. Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city’s Office of Economic Development, told the council Monday morning his office started working with Brodsky during the auction process, and agreed to help him finance its purchase before he finally signed on the dotted line earlier this fall.

The city’s grant isn’t set in stone, though: It’s contingent on an appraiser setting the value for the piece of the mall Dallas winds up buying — either the old Dillard’s site or the vacant lot where a J.C. Penney once stood. The city would likely wind up owning the parcel outright if Brodsky’s redevelopment plans fall through and no one else steps in to take his place. Brodsky, of course, says that will not happen. He told the council he’s been meeting with community leaders over the past two months to hear their hopes and dreams for Southwest Center Mall; another larger meeting is set for December 1, according to Wilson and Thomas.

Brodsky told the council Monday morning that it’s “critical the community have a deep involvement in the re-imagining of this property,” and said he’s been told, repeatedly, it needs to have better restaurants, “quality retail,” a movie theater and, perhaps, even a supermarket. All options are on the table, but nothing’s on the immediate horizon: Omniplan Architects, which came up with the Dallas Midtown plan intended to replace Valley View and designed the 1.2-million-square-foot, $250 million expansion NorthPark Center that opened in 2006, is working on some renderings, but it’s still not even clear how much of the mall will remain standing following its redo.

Then there’s the issue of getting people to the mall: Council member Lee Kleinman told the committee Wilson and Thomas met recently with Michael Morris, head of the Regional Transportation Committee, about making sure the Southern Gateway redo addresses adding better access off Marvin D. Love Freeway and Interstate 20. “So that’s a key component recognized and acknowledged by RTC, to make sure that is funded,” said Kleinman. “And there are no tolls on that right now.” Which isn’t exactly a guarantee … Arnold refused to support spending $2.4 million on something she said was being rushed through council. She said she wouldn’t support adding a school at Southwest Center; she said she didn’t want to see any multi-family built on the mall site. She said she “didn’t see any examples of actual development I can sell to my neighborhoods, my constituents, and say, ‘We’re gonna be all right.’” And she compared the briefing and the grant and the coming vote to a “bullet train with no passengers, no conductors.”

She made it clear she would be against sending the $2.4 million grant to the council. And she did vote against it. Meanwhile, said Brodsky, there are many more public meetings to come as they sort through the suggestion box to see what Southwest Center Mall needs and what its patrons want. “We’re working with development professionals to see what’s realistic,” he said, “what’s doable and what’s not.”