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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