Victoria City Council Agrees to Highway Project for New Shopping Center
Feature Photo: A 150,000-square-foot shopping center aligned next to the Home Depot, plus surface parking and eight retail pads abutting the frontage road, is planned for a 38-acre tract that is to the front and east of the Home Depot. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Victoria (Victoria County) — City Council agreed to pay for the relocation of a highway exit ramp in exchange for the construction of a $31 million shopping center.
At their November 3 meeting, the council agreed to enter into a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement that commits the city to sent $816,087 to the Texas Department of Transportation to cover the cost of the highway ramp relocation.
The private sector party to the agreement is Property Commerce, a Houston-based real estate private equity firm. Property Commerce developed the Home Depot at 6807 Zac Lentz Parkway (Loop 463) in 2003. It was around this time that the developer acquired about 38 acres that is adjacent to the Home Depot.
Their plan was to build a retail shopping center and a row of retail pads next to the frontage road. In the presentation to council, Assistant City Manager Mike Etienne said the main challenge has been a lack of direct access from Loop 463.
The Navarro Street/John Stockbauer Drive exit ramp bypasses the site, but to facilitate development TxDOT has approved moving the exit ramp. To accomplish this, the city will enter into an Advanced Funding Agreement with TxDOT to cover the estimated cost.
Property Commerce proposes to construct a retail shopping center that can accommodate 10 retail stores within a 150,000-square-foot structure and surface parking for more than 500 vehicles. The shopping center would be in alignment with the Home Depot location, recessed from the frontage road.
An additional eight retail pads would be established up front, adjacent to the frontage road. There is a Phase II tract to the east–between the proposed shopping center and the Salem Crossing neighborhood–that is being held in reserve for future development.
Property Commerce’s development site plan for the shopping center on Zac Lentz Parkway. Courtesy: City of Victoria.
The Chapter 380 imposes upon Property Commerce commitments that they deliver before Nov. 20 written confirmation of financing for the project. They must also begin construction before Sept. 1, 2021 and complete that project within 18 months after the start date.
The shopping center must generate $54.4 million in sales revenue within the first five years of TxDOT’s completion of the ramp. If this goal isn’t met, the developer must pay a pro rata share of the city’s investment, based on actual sales.
It is the developer’s responsibility to design the ramp and they shall begin that effort in December. Meanwhile, TxDOT will begin developing the Advance Funding Agreement (AFA).
By March 2021, the developer shall have completed the ramp design, and begin site work for the shopping center.
The city anticipates execution of the AFA by April 2021 and the release of funds to TxDOT at that time. TxDOT would then put the ramp construction project out to bid in June 2021.
By September 2021, just as the developer is beginning construction, TxDOT will begin construction of the ramp.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.