City Hopes $13 Mil in HUD Block Grants Will Jumpstart Lake Highlands Town Center

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For those wondering whatever become of the stagnating Lake Highlands Town Center, a ray of hope appears on the council's Economic Development Committee's agenda for Monday: "Community Development Block Grant Section 108 Guaranteed Loan Application for the Lake Highlands Town Center." I'll post the actual briefing docs when they're posted later tonight, but long story short: The Office of Economic Development wants the council to OK a public hearing for late January during which folks will be told the city's applying for $13 million in federal funds to kickstart the project -- specifically, a parking garage needed to bring in that grocery store that will anchor Prescott Realty's transit oriented development at Walnut Hill and Skillman.

"When looking at those recommendations from Street-Works, one thing they said was, 'You need to create a more urban, pedestrian-friendly environment in the retail area,' and that'll require structured parking, which is an expense that wasn't in anyone's budget," says Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the Office of Economic Development. "So we looked at the Section 108 program, which allows for this type of financing. The source of repayment of those funds are TIF reimbursements, and there's enough increment in the district -- or will be over a period of time -- to do that. That's the genesis of this."

Zavitkovsky says the city would apply to HUD for the loan and would be responsible for repaying the $13 million over 20 years, the first five of which would be interest-only; the briefing will have the precise number of the amount owed per year after that, but it's around $900,000 every years past the first five. And, again, Zavitkovsky says most of it will go toward that parking structure.

"Essential to the retail is a grocer anchor, and that needs to have parking," he says. And, no, there is no grocer in place yet: "They've had a number of serious discussions with a variety of grocers," he says, "but no final decisions have been made."

He also doesn't have a time line for construction, but the city hopes to get dirt flying some time in 2012 in the hopes of getting something built come '13. "This is one that's a long process, but we're getting there," he says. "It gets very complicated when you have to put these different capital sources together. As far as a time line, I wouldn't want to hazard a guess because the HUD guys aren't predicable."
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Paul
Paul

Is that a sailboat?  How did it get there from the Trinity?  Now all we need is a tollroad and string thingy bridge and we are all set.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

Haha!  That's the aeration fountain.... 

Paul
Paul

Fair enough, it looked like a sailboat.

Mike in LH
Mike in LH

Does Prescott have nasty pictures of our City leaders? Prescott is already being subsidized by the taxpayers, why do we need to build them a parking garage? Leave the developer to sink or swim on their won. This is stupid.

scottindallas
scottindallas

The city could build a parking garage, and then charge to park there, recouping their investment.  I don't think we'll see that either.  But, the city building a parking garage could be a great part of the solution, it matters more HOW it's done.  As it is, I'm just as cynical as you are, just pointing out that there ARE sensible solutions here.

Nyob
Nyob

Five years and just a patch of very expensive dirt.  Now we may have a parking garage in a patch of expensive dirt.  Let's just get this over with and build some apartments!

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

What happened to all the hoopla about the Trader Joe's/Sprouts coming in to save the day?  Was it all hype, or just pure BS?

helen trent
helen trent

It is my understanding that CDBG money is to be targeted to low income areas -- Does this even qualify?  They did this once before when they borrowed to money for downtown development and paid it back with CDBG money -- and didn't Schuetze just have an article about how we are being sued over that right now?

TC
TC

Section 108 isn't CDBG.  Read the article.

Guest
Guest

Helen - you have been brainwashed to believe CDBG monies in low-income areas. This is what the racist/seperatist and oligarches would have wanted you to believe. 

helen trent
helen trent

Not brainwashed at all -- I served on the CDBG Board for 8 years. There are restrictions on the use of the money. 

helen trent
helen trent

Not trying to be mean, just stating a fact -- there are restrictions.  We tried to find projects that would qualify that were in the northern sector and it simply wasn't possible because of the restrictions.  I finished serving 7 years ago and certainly there may be new guidelines, but the intent of the money at that time was limited based on income.  And -- the proof is in the pudding, we are currently being sued.

helen trent
helen trent

That is why we are being sued -- They might have said there were low income units, but there really weren't

Guest
Guest

Not trying to be mean in anyway, just stating a fact. But the fact that you don't know the distinctions I am speaking of, proves my point, 100 fold. Especially given the fact that you served on the CDBG Board for 8 years. 

cp
cp

I'm sure they drew in a tiny section of poor apartment dwellers into the TIF so that they could technically use CDBG funds. 

Yakuza_Fighter
Yakuza_Fighter

I've never voted for the Repub's and probably never will.....but HUD needs to die like the Interstate Commerce Commission finally did in 1995.

Guest
Guest

"It gets very complicated when you have to put these different capital sources together. As far as a time line, I wouldn't want to hazard a guess because the HUD guys aren't predicable."

I am sure the feds think that the City Of Dallas and related others are "unpredictable" when it comes to obeying federal laws!Flag

Guest
Guest

"It gets very complicated when you have to put these different capital sources together. As far as a time line, I wouldn't want to hazard a guess because the HUD guys aren't predicable."I am sure the feds think that the City Of Dallas and related others are "unpredictable" when it comes to obeying federal laws! 

Fact Checking Cuz
Fact Checking Cuz

The demographics are very different now than when Simon David opened in the 80's.  Even when Whole Foods was there.  All of that being said, parking garages?  C'mon man.  

Montemalone
Montemalone

A garage is a better use of land, more cars in less space. We don't need acres of parking lots. But I'll bet the garage is filled with DART commuters.

Fact Checking Cuz
Fact Checking Cuz

The DART station has been open for a year.  It was never intended to be a park and ride station.  There is no parking lot blight there now.  Besides, the retail, and I'd assume the associated parking garage, is going to be across Walnut Hill from the DART station.  

I think the city should just continue to subsidize developers until something gets built.  If retailers won't lease now, then let's build a parking garage for them.  Better yet, let's hire a consultant to tell us to build a parking garage for them.  That sounds like a great use of taxpayer dollars.  Never mind what the market is saying.

cp
cp

The developers are already getting "subsidized" with funds from the TIF. 

Calvin Simpson
Calvin Simpson

Residents of the area probably shouldn't hold out for an upscale grocer. I think they wanted Trader Joe's once upon a time. Despite the large number of nice homes in the vicinity, the area showed years ago they wouldn't support a Whole Foods. I remember years ago when Tom Thumb opened a Simon David at Skillman and Abrams, which had Virginia Hams hanging and butcher service only for meat, and a second story with books and kitchen equipment. That went by the wayside fast--the store was changed to a plain 'ol Tom Thumb after a short time.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Yeah, until the rest of the apartments and condos on Skillman, Abrams, and Audelia are removed, it's not gonna be West Village.

scottindallas
scottindallas

They have removed most of the apts there since Whole Foods was there.  I think I'd rather it stay empty, it could still host many festivals and other events where the transit stop and open space are scarce.

Fact Checking Cuz
Fact Checking Cuz

Lake Highlands will never be the West Village.  Tear all of the apartments down push the people that currently live there somewhere else.  Sounds great.  

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

What am I missing?  "transit-oriented development" and "parking garage"?  I'm sure some taxpayers bought the mantra "build a DART station, and business will follow".  WTF?

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