Sherman is making plans to sell excess property it owns at the corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417 and along the latter near its intersection with OB Groner Road.

The Sherman City Council recently approved a request by city staff to be allowed to advertise for bids for the properties. Director of Finance Mary Lawrence explained the request of the council gives staff the opportunity to move forward with whichever way is in the best interest of the city.

“What this item does is it gives us permission to sell these two tracts of property by competitive bid,” Lawrence said. “We have two other methods which we can (use to) sell real property — one is a public auction and the other is actually using a broker with some other requirements.”

Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said interest in the land on the southeast corner of Hwy. 75 and FM 1417, where the Blalock Park Fire Station is currently located, prompted the request.

“The city has received increased interest in that land the last few months, so the finance department wanted to ensure it had the flexibility to market it in a variety of ways,” Strauch said via text message.

In August 2015, Sherman announced plans to move the fire station and combine the nine acres of property it is on with 13 acres of adjacent land to offer as a potential site for commercial development at that corner. The Sherman Economic Development Corp. purchased the 13 acres next to the fire station at that time for $575,000 from Garcha Corp. of Plano.

“If you bundle our land and the hard corner of (FM) 1417 and (Hwy.) 75, you have 22 acres gross,” SEDCO President John Plotnik said. “Of that 22 acres, because of some creeks that border the land, I’m saying that would be about 18 acres that would be developable. That’s a very special, very valuable corner for any developer looking for mixed retail or perhaps hotel or perhaps some kind of mixed use development.”

The excess property near the corner of FM 1417 and OB Groner Road to be sold would come from the 16.088-acre tract of land Sherman officially purchased last month for $663,276. The land was previously part of an over 100-acre tract of land being evaluated for possible joint use by the city and the Sherman Independent School District. When the city gifted the purchase option of 98 acres of the land to the school district in March, it retained the option for the 16 acres of frontage property. After Sherman ISD purchased its 98 acres, it announced that area as the location of a potential new high school.

Strauch said it had not yet been determined how much of the city’s 16.088 acres would not be needed for other city purposes.

“When we jointly purchased it, the school district took the biggest chunk of it and the part then that was left over, we purchased knowing that we’ll need some for right of way and for other things,” City Manager Robby Hefton said. “TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) will probably need some of it for (FM) 1417 as its expanded through there. So whatever’s left over after all of those things (will be for sale).”

Hefton said the funds obtained from the sale of the property would be used for other capital projects the city has planned. Plotnik said it would likely be at least 18 months before the property at Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 could be sold because of the fire station needing to be relocated.

“The fire station has to be moved to another location and be operational before they can close the fire station there on 75 and 1417,” Plotnik said. “It’s going to be anywhere from 18 months to two years before a new fire station can be designed and developed.”

In April, the council approved a contract for professional consulting services with EIKON Consulting Group LLC to design a new fire station in the city’s Blalock Industrial Park on the west side of Northgate Drive across from Southeastern Freight.

“If the land were to sell today — that immediately hard corner, which is the fire station — whoever the buyer or the developer, they would still have to wait for that period of time to elapse in order for a new fire station to be developed so this one could move off,” Plotnik said, but added the adjacent 13 acres purchased by SEDCO in 2015 are ready to be presented to the market. “So I’m delighted that the city is starting the process.”

Hefton said the city hasn’t ultimately decided just how the different excess properties will be sold, but Strauch said the city is still planning to bundle the land on the southeast corner of Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 with the land owned by SEDCO.

“We do have a couple of options,” Hefton said to the council of how the properties will be sold. “One is through a brokerage, list it and do it that way. The other is to do it on a competitive bid basis. We’ll come back to you as we get farther down that path, but just wanted approval to move whichever way we needed to when the time’s right.”