By Moses Leos III
Could a “town center” be in the plans for Kyle?
While still an idea, according to City Manager Scott Sellers, he said the possibility is something city leaders believe could assist Kyle in becoming a destination.
Sellers said the concept is to create a development that could house buildings from multiple entities – such as the city, Hays CISD, the Kyle Police Department and even Kyle Fire Department – that are flanked by commercial firms.
One suggested location is at the intersection of FM 1626 and Kohler’s Crossing
“It’s the concept that a rising tide floats all ships … where development benefits development,” Sellers said at the July 7 Kyle City Council Meeting. “Whoever we want to partner with on the project, it’s something that is not only good for the economy in general, but could put Kyle on the map.”
The city and other entities which sign on would work with Plum Creek Development Partners, Ltd. and its consultants, Panattoni and McCombs-Davidson Studley.
Sellers offered several examples from other Texas cities that featured similar “town center” ideologies, including Bee Caves, Sugar Land, Southlake and Pflugerville.
According to Sellers, “Plum Creek stepped forward with real interest in the project.” He said there was enough interest to make it work.
Peter French, director of operations at Plum Creek, said, “PCD has had a long interest in creating meaningful partnerships with the city and other regional partners.”
French said Plum Creek, which has 1,180 acres of space remaining, has the ability to develop up to 3.4 million square feet of office and industrial space, and 750,000 square feet of retail space.
“As we talk about a town center, all of the infrastructure dollars at [FM] 1626 and Kohler’s Crossing, as well as major public, private development, we think the pump has been primed to help us to expedite the total build-out of the development,” French said.
He said the projected tax base at build-out for Plum Creek is forecasted to be $2 billion. He added that a public, private partnership could transform the intersection as a employment and retail destination.
He also said the efficiency of having multiple entities within a development could allow for a “live-work-play” model for city officials.
Marshall Davidson, managing principal at McCombs-Davidson Studley, said a tenant such as a municipality is the key ingredient. He cited a similar model in Sugar Land where the city was the catalyst.
Davidson said, “Massing efficiencies that are gained by like uses” is a way to draw other tenants. He believes it could lead to cost savings.
Kyle Mayor Todd Webster said working collaboratively with multiple jurisdictions could save taxpayers in the long term. One example could entail multiple entities sharing the cost of a facility.
Focusing on a campus mentality, rather than sharing a similar structure, is a way he believes is feasible. He cited the facility needs of several entities, including Kyle, Hays County and Hays CISD.
“If you collocate, and you have a single parking garage, and market the rest commercial, you have synergy,” Webster said. “It’s attractive. It’s an employment and retail anchor. And you do it at a high quality.”
However, Webster believes the July 7 presentation was premature, He said the item was placed on the agenda by newly elected council member Daphne Tenorio. The topic was discussed in an executive session during a previous council meeting.
Webster said the item wasn’t ready for full council discussion, as the idea hadn’t been flushed out. He also said the city has not had a chance to reach out to other governmental entities.
Premature or not, council member Diane Hervol believes the idea could help spur a “one stop shop” for Kyle residents.
“I think it’s very ambitious,” she said. “If it’s something where all parties can come together and make it happen, we can make it a very exciting opportunity for the city. I’m Interested in pursuing it further.”