After the City acquired the site in November 2017, a market and concept study was conducted by Gateway Planning. The study found four possible development alternatives for exploration that included: (1) Distribution/Industrial, (2) Showroom Industrial, (3) Regional Entertainment, and (4) temporary uses.
The City was approached by several developers interested in developing the site for warehouse distribution uses, none of which were appropriate for a sustainable development within the area. In late 2018, an exclusive agreement was entered into with a developer to explore potential developments for the property that would serve as a regional draw to catalyze the redevelopment of Garland Avenue. The developer’s concept and economic feasibility research focused on a variety of potential uses anchored by water and/or sporting facilities, with supporting entertainment uses. None of the concepts proved economically viable or self -sustaining and would have required the City to take on exceptional additional risk.
The developer saw significant project risk given the state of the development cycle; the current, limited access to the region from I-635; and, that future access would be further dampened by I-635 East construction. With these major impediments, the City Manager recommended to the Council that the redevelopment timeline be delayed until the completion of I-635 East.