Waco: City OKs 380 Development Agreement for 32-Acre Tract at I-35 and Loop 340
Featured Image (above): A conceptual of Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille, set for construction at Interstate 35 and Loop 340 in Waco. Image: Movie Bowl Grille
by Edmond Ortiz
Waco (McLennan County)–The city of Waco and 58 Aggie Development LLC now have a formal agreement in place in order for the limited corporation to begin developing some of the vacant 350-plus acres at the northeast corner of Interstate 35 and South Loop 340.
City Council voted Aug. 6 to amend the city’s current Chapter 380 economic development agreement with Dallas-based 35-06 LLC to include Waco-based 58 Aggie in that pact. Eric Wieser, a real estate investor from Highland Park, manages the 35-06 LLC.
VBX reported in July that businessman Mark Schulman plans to develop 32.44 acres and build a nearly 90,000-square-foot family entertainment center.
The complex would be anchored by Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille theater with at least eight screens, a concession area, reclining theater seating and Billy’s Grille and Bar. There also would be a minimum of 16 lanes for upscale bowling and interactive amusement sections, such as arcade games, laser tag, rope courses and ax-throwing.
The Movie Bowl Grille corporate website contains a preliminary site plan map, which envisions a four-story, 100-room hotel with a conference center, two restaurant spaces, and a third restaurant space with room for retail. But neither brand names nor other details are attached to those concepts.
The city came under fire from some residents about the $5 million in incentives that the City Council approved giving to 35-06 last February to start developing the massive piece of vacant land that is located across I-35 from Cottonwood Creek Market, a separate large-scale mixed-use project where construction has just begun.
The development agreement lets 35-06 receive property and sales tax reimbursements over 10 years so long as the developer invests a minimum $25 million in the new project.
A preliminary site plan shows Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille anchoring the yet-unnamed retail/entertainment development that will arise at the northeast corner of Loop 340 and Interstate 35. The plan also shows what else is envisioned for this development. Image: Movie Bowl Grille
The development pact allows for the 35-06 and the city each to collect about $2 million in new property ad valorem tax revenue over a 10-year period.
The developers at 35-06 are also responsible for:
Doing public improvements around the 32-acre project site within the next two years;
Getting a Planned Unit Development approved by the city; and
Initiating a master development agreement for the remaining acreage. City staff anticipates more incentive agreements will be requested to develop the rest of the land at Loop 340 and I-35.
City officials have said the proposed family entertainment center to be developed by 58 Aggie would produce about $28 million in yearly taxable sales, which will generate $420,000 in sales tax receipts annually for the city.
Local leaders also say the family entertainment complex will fill a major local commercial need.
City officials have also been mulling the creation of a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) within a Tax Increment Financing zone to permit the use of new property tax revenue toward the project site for future development incentives.
But the city will prepare to extend 35-06 property tax breaks and sales tax incentives if the TIRZ is not created or if it does not work as planned.
Earlier this year, Schulman and 58 Aggie marked the opening of a Movie Bowl Grille-anchored entertainment complex in Sherman, Texas. Movie Bowl Grilles are also located in Corsicana and Bay City.
Dallas-based firm Hodges Architecture is doing the project design. The entertainment architecture division of Hodges designed the existing Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille locations, among other entertainment venues. The Waco office of Walker Partners is the project’s civil engineer.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.