Main Street Towne Crossing Gets Approval On Lowe’s With Construction To Begin In March/April
The speed at which Midlothian is growing is a hot topic in the community. While many residents want to keep the ‘small town, local’ charm, others want big box stores like Trader Joe’s or Costco in their backyard. With many areas zoned for commercial development, the City Council is limited in its power to prevent more development and big box stores from impacting the community.
At Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, members saw a presentation from the Weber Company on a development to be called Main Street Towne Crossing, located on the south side of West Main Street, east of Highway 67 and north of State Spur 73 (across the way from Chase Bank and Taco Casa). Phase 1 construction is planned to begin in March or April of this year, and the main topic at the meeting for the developer was the signage, parking, design, etc., of its first anchor tenant, Lowe’s, which plans to open in 2025.
When looking over the site plan, you can see tentative plans for a hotel, a fitness facility, and a movie theater. Additionally, there are multiple restaurant locations and lots of retail space for rent. The developer mentioned plans for a second Chick-fil-A as well as plans for a high-end restaurant. He also mentioned they are working on getting Chipotle as a tenant. The ordinance states the property may not have a gas station with or without retail, a store classified as a ‘package store’ for alcohol sales, or an outdoor kennel.
The developer emphasized that the design is atypical for Lowe’s and that they are looking to do a ‘less flashy’ exterior and keep with more of a main street theme. There was a lot of discussion about the parking spot sizes, material for the parking lot asphalt vs. concrete, exterior design, and signage. Lowe’s had initially asked for 50/50 size of parking spaces, 9 ft and 10 ft. The city asked, and Lowe’s agreed for 70% of the parking spaces to be 10 ft parking spaces. Gardner said many people in Midlothian drive large trucks, so more than the average number of larger spaces would be needed.
Councilmember Hud Hartson asked about the plan to include local retailers. He noted that the majority of businesses being discussed seemed to be large chains, and he was against Midlothian becoming an Arlington, Mansfield or, Frisco, etc. “I strongly encourage you to reach out and come up with innovative solutions to balance that (referring to a balance of local tenants with national/regional/junior),” Hartson said.
Weber replied he had one local retailer they were talking to, but it was too early in the process to have anything concrete. “We will have some local tenants. If there is a local tenant that wants to come, we will put them in,” he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Wickliffe told the developer he came into the meeting not wanting to like the development for several reasons. However, after listening to the presentation and Q&As, he felt his concerns were addressed.
How Can The City Attract More Small/Local Businesses?
One of the biggest challenges for local mom-and-pop establishments is inflation’s soaring rent and impact on the supply chain. Local business owner Dustin Slayton wrote on Midlothian Talk, referring to the amount of rent being demanded by building owners as prohibitive for many local businesses, pointing to Jimmy’s Pizza and Campuzano’s being priced out of the market. He continued that if landlords get tax incentives to build, they should pass some of those funds they save on to tenants. “Hold the landlords accountable for adjusting rental rates for the tax incentives they receive,” Slayton commented. Many residents, including city council members, are concerned about Midlothian losing what made it unique and original.
Moorman said Weber and Lowe’s have made a long list of concessions and have worked well with the city. He pointed out that revenue to the city will ultimately be tens of millions of dollars, saying, “Do we want to continue to fuel business like this or just rely on taxing more rooftops? I look at this as a way to lower the burden on homeowners taxes …for that reason, I’m going to support this project.”
Councilmember Rodgers said, ”I’m excited about this project. Thank you for working with us.” He noted the styling/design ties in well with what residents want Midlothian to be, and he hopes the development will encourage people to visit downtown.
Ultimately, the ordinance was passed 5-2 following the motion by Anna Hammonds.
Hammonds: “I move to approve this project with the following amendments: that we request concrete(rather than asphalt), understanding that you will come back to us if that is a problem, with the signage going with the original numbers (40-35-35-25), with the pipeline, addressing 70% parking (10 ft wide spaces) and no more than 30% 9-foot spaces, and updating white trim on the Lowe’s building.” Mayor Pro Tem Wickliff seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-2.