Thursday, October 13, 2011
New downtown Plano development proposed
The development will require a change to the city's zoning ordinance.
PLANO The continuing redevelopment of downtown Plano took another step forward as developers released plans for a 316,000-square-foot mixed use development at the corner of 15th Street and I Avenue.
The property would include a mix of retail and apartment space and is being developed by Southern Land Company of Nashville. The building would be located where Eisbenbergs Skatepark currently operates. Developers and other downtown merchants said they hope the project will help attract more people to downtown and raise awareness of what downtown Plano has to offer.
"We try to find really unique urban sites and weren't looking in Plano," said Tim Downey, Southern Land's CEO. "We were surprised when someone told us about the downtown Plano location because we didn't really know that Plano had a downtown. That is kind of embarrassing, but I think a lot of people tend to think of Plano as the Legacy area. We fell in love with the site the first time we saw it."
The property will contain about 10,000 square feet of retail space and 283 apartment units. Downey said the development's retail anchor will be a 7-11 Urban Market, which will occupy about 35 percent of the total retail space. He said the store will not have gas pumps, but will sell food and household items for those residents who live in downtown Plano.
Downey said the apartment complex will feature upscale units with granite countertops and wood floors. He said the one-bedroom units will start at about $1,100 a month. Of the 283 units, 75 percent will have one bedroom, 22 percent will have two bedrooms, and the remaining will have three bedrooms.
Deputy City Manager Frank Turner said the revitalization of downtown Plano began in the 1990s. To date, there are 465 apartment units with 40,000 square feet of new commercial development. There have been $20 million in infrastructure improvements, and $202 million has been added to the tax base.
Parking for the development will come via a parking garage. The first floor of the garage will be used to house police vehicles from the nearby police headquarters. Turner said the ability to have vehicles parked in a secure, covered location will benefit the police department. The department will also have a 700-square-foot office located on the ground floor of the development.
Southern Land has developed several other properties around Plano, including the Lofts at Watters Creek in Allen, as well as Tucker Hill in McKinney. Downey said the apartments in Plano will be similar to those at Watters Creek, but will rent for a higher monthly rate. However, the residential space over retail space that is employed at Watters Creek will remain.
Councilmember Jim Duggan said developments mixing residential and commercial space have had various degrees of success in North Texas, but Downey said he is confident the Plano development will succeed.
"In more urban environments like downtown Nashville, people fight over the spaces," Downey said. "When you force the development where there is not a need, it has done very badly. It isn't wise to push retail beyond what should be done, but we think 15th Street will do quite well."
The development will require a change to the city's zoning ordinance, which should go before planning and zoning and city council later this year. A site plan must also be approved, but assuming everything goes smoothly, Downey said ground could be broken in spring 2012. The first residents could be moved in within a year of the beginning of construction.
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