LH Town Center tenant ‘close’; TIF paves way for Walnut Hill-Audelia demo

Whew! That seems like a lot of ground to cover in one post, but a Channel 8 story tonight covered both topics in one package, so here we go:

Brad Watson of WFAA News 8, while reporting on redevelopment in our neighborhood, says that according to Councilman Jerry Allen, Lake Highlands Town Center developer Prescott Realty “is close to announcing a lead tenant for the project.” Will it be Sprouts or Tom Thumb or … ? There’s no specific mention in the report of the timeline for “close”, but the story describes the project as “pushing ahead“.

The main focus of the story, however, is the City Council’s approval today of $2.4 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to bulldoze the vacant retail space in Lake Highlands Plaza on the southwest corner of Walnut Hill and Audelia. Perhaps you remember the recently announced retail-to-residential project on that corner? According to Watson’s report, “The City Council approved a deal where the city covers demolishing the vacant grocery store and large retail building and then putting in streets so a developer can come in with private dollars to build out the land with 17 new homes ranging in price from $600,000 to $750,000.”

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Allen had told us he intended to ask for TIF funding because the project is within the boundaries of the Skillman Corridor TIF. In the WFAA story, Allen’s reasoning is that “this will kick in new tax dollars for the city, for our school districts, for the county, so it is a positive thing.”

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Watson also interviewed T. Hee Greetings and Gifts’ co-owner Tony Doles about the project, who says that he thinks “it’s going to be great for the corner … we’re excited to lose the empty buildings … [and] these residences will bring new families and new business, so we’re very excited.” The last time we spoke with T. Hee’s other co-owner, David Farris, he was unsure about the project and how it would affect the shop, but it sounds like the pair have since been reassured.

The story states that “after some rezoning, Allen expects demolition to start in three to four months.”

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  • bballcap

    For all you folks who say that corner won’t supports homes at that pricepoint, I’m told that at least 3 families have laid down cash to ensure one of the lots to come. I know of a 4th that’s very interested – and that’s as of 2 mos. ago. Could be more now.

  • Barbara

    A developer will decide what he wants to build its his right and lets not discourage anyone anymore by such negative remarks. I am so hoping for wonderful homes to be developed and a shopping center that is so beautifully prepared as our Town Center has been. Lets get on the band wagon and cheer everyone on

  • D

    I think 600-700,000.00 homes on that corner is crazy. This neighborhood is desperate for zero lot line home in the 300-400, 000.00 range. We have so many residents who are ready to downsize and want to stay in the neighborhood. It would be great for someone to actually tune in to the real needs of the community as opposed to setting their own agenda. We had enough of that in the 70’s when this plethora of apartments was built. Some more upscale retail would also be awesome and a boost to this neighborhood. I remember when this little shopping center was full of retail and restaurants. If Casa Linda can make a come around, then we can too!

  • lh_newbie

    Wendy – agreed. I don’t see it either.

    Anyone hear anything regarding starting dates for demo? Sure would be nice to see this kick off. While we’re at it – it’s bee a couple weeks, any new news on the town center?

  • Wendy

    Seriously, who is going to pay for a home costing $600,000 to $700,000 in that neighborhood? Is this Jerry Allen speaking out the side of his mouth…again. He may want to build more apartments so he can educated the tenants.

  • Jason

    I’ll bring the bull dozer crew coffee and donuts when they start work. LOVE to see the empty retail go away.

    What is going to happen to the florist and postal service store? Is that entire strip coming down or just up to the two existing tenants?

    So when are they going to start on the shopping center across the street?

  • TS

    I would love a Christmas Tree Store there too. It could go next to White House Black Market and the LH H&M!!!

  • Jonathan

    Good news. Hopefully the plans will work out for both developments.

  • lh_newbie

    Pardon me if I’m skeptic. I find it hard to believe anyone would buy a 600-750K home at that corner. I’m tickled we’re getting rid of empty retail, but very skeptic that this deal is ever going to pay back the TIF because I think that corner can support at most $450K homes. Hopefully I’m wrong – but we’ll see when they start building what type of product goes up – and ultimately what it’s pricing is. Knock on wood – but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Carol Toler

    Great news for David &Tony, Kathy Stewart and the folks at Highlands Cafe, and everyone else who frequents that corner (isn’t that all of us?!?). Thank you, Jerry Allen, for your role in making it happen.

  • Barbara

    What wonderful news, will be anxious to hear what stores will come to our wonderful, to be Town Center. The developer has done a terrific job. Can hardly wait to hear. I hope that one of the shops will be The Christmas Tree Store.