An official with Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille said Tuesday plans for the development of a 66,000-square-foot entertainment complex in Denison are still moving forward after Sherman approved an agreement with the owner of that company for a development on Sherman’s south side. That comes after the city of Denison also made a new agreement Monday night regarding its Schulman development.
The Sherman City Council approved an economic development program agreement with 58 Aggie Development LLC, which includes Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille owner Mark Schulman as management, Monday for a commercial and retail center development on the southeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417. The Denison City Council approved the conveyance of less than half an acre of city-owned land for the development of a 66,000-square-foot Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille entertainment complex in Denison.
Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille representative Lauren Thorne said the company would be making an announcement outlining its plans for the Sherman and Denison developments soon.
“Right now, our plans have not changed for either development,” Thorne said in a social media message. “We’ll be having an announcement next week as to the plans for both developments.”
The agreement approved by the Sherman council will provide a cash grant of 50 percent of the sales tax generated by the planned commercial and retail center development to 58 Aggie Development over a seven-year period. The agreement puts a $1.5 million cap on the cash grant, and the agreement expires once the seven-year period ends.
Citing a nondisclosure agreement, city staff said they could not comment specifically about a Schulman’s development in Sherman, but Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said the city reached out to the developer behind 58 Aggie Development after Schulman’s announced its plans for its Denison location.
“We’ve reached out to several similar companies over the course of the last year,” Strauch said, via text message, of when Sherman contacted the developer behind 58 Aggie Development. “But this particular developer was not on our radar until after the announcement of their Denison project.”
City staff said the commercial and retail center development is expected to bring around $25 million in capital investments to the location and generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual sales tax revenue for Sherman.
Following the two city council meetings, Denison City Manager Jud Rex said the Denison project is still moving forward to his knowledge. During Monday’s meeting, the council approved the conveyance of 0.39 acres of land along Crawford Street for the Schulman development.
The conveyed land, which was previously part of a greenbelt that runs along neighboring Ansley Lane, will be used to increase access to the development while also increasing visibility for traffic, officials said.
“We are still moving forward as is,” Rex said. “We haven’t heard anything from the developers to change that.”
Rex said he and the city council were aware of the incentive agreement on Sherman’s agenda going into Monday’s meeting, and he learned about it Monday. During the meeting, the council went into a closed, executive session to discuss the conveyance agreement before any discussion in open session.
While Rex said it was too early to speculate on what the Sherman development means for the Denison location, he said the northwest corner of Crawford and U.S. Hwy. 75 will be developed even if Schulman is not the one to do it. If the Schulman Development does not move forward, Rex said he could see a new grocery store serving as the main anchor for development at the intersection.
Rex said a store at this location would help better serve western portions of the city and would be the only grocery store along U.S. 75 between Sherman and the Denison Walmart. In addition to the grocery store, Rex said the site could also support small retail, restaurants and other commercial developments.
Schulman’s announced plans for its Denison entertainment complex two days before the city announced HeyDay Entertainment was planning to build a similar entertainment center within Gateway Village, near the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 75 and FM 691. Last month, the Denison Development Alliance and Denison City Council approved two incentive packages for the HeyDay development.
As a part of the incentives, the DDA agreed to pay $250,000 to Covenant Development, the company behind Gateway Village, for infrastructure improvements to the site before development. Denison also assisted with the incentives by offering $750,000 of tax incentives and abatements for the site.
Before the announcement, Denison officials said the city had been in negotiations with both developers, but ultimately decided to support HeyDay with incentives. Denison Mayor Jared Johnson said the city used 30 criteria to judge the two developments before making a decision.
Sherman’s 22-acre tract
City Manager Robby Hefton said 58 Aggie Development is planning to purchase 14 of the 22.309 acres of property on the southeast corner of the intersection of Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 that is jointly owned by the city and the Sherman Economic Development Corp.
In August 2015, Sherman announced plans to offer the 22-acre tract at that corner for sale for commercial development. The city plans to move the Blalock Park Fire Station and combine the nearly nine acres of property it is on with 13 acres of adjacent land — including a former Texas Department of Transportation property — that was purchased by the Sherman Economic Development Corp. from Garcha Corp. of Plano in 2015 for $575,000.
“As it does relate to the development of that corner and what the city was looking for all along — as we’ve owned that corner, which now has been pieces of 50 years — we eventually purchased that TxDOT property wanting a development such as this,” Hefton said, before relating the development to the planned Sherman Crossroads development on the northwest corner of the Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 intersection. “That’s a great asset to that part of town and to the city. And we believe as Crossroads develops, the things that happen in Crossroads will benefit this development and vice versa.”
In a separate resolution on Monday, the Sherman City Council approved the conveyance of the 8.899 acres of land owned by the city to SEDCO for $2.5 million. Hefton said, while the developer is only purchasing 14 acres of the land at this time, the option to purchase the remainder of the land is still on the table.
“The whole 22 acres — ultimately, when all is said and done — is going to be sold,” Hefton said.
SEDCO President John Plotnik said he has not yet seen the contract for the project or spoken to the developer, as the city has taken the lead in the negotiations.
“We’re anxiously waiting to see what the contract says,” Plotnik said. “We certainly wish to buy that corner and add it to the 13 acres we own.”
Thorne did not comment on whether the Schulman’s development in Sherman would include an entertainment element. In addition to his role as president/manager of Schulman Amusement Company LLC, Mark Schulman’s LinkedIn page also lists him as vice president of Schulman Theatres Inc., which operates movie theaters in the Texas cities Bastrop, Georgetown, Hudson Oaks, Palestine and Weatherford.
DDA President Tony Kaai said he has been in talks near daily with developers for the project as it moves forward with preconstruction. Kaai said he has not spoken to Schulman about his development since September.
After the DDA completes site preparations, Kaai said he expects construction to begin in February 2018. The next step for development will likely come next week as developers plan to present preliminary planning documents to the Denison Planning and Zoning Commission, Kaai said.
Plotnik said he wasn’t sure whether SEDCO would receive the contract in time to discuss it at Tuesday’s regular board meeting, but said if the corporation has to, it can call a special meeting to discuss the project with its board.
Plotnik and Strauch each declined to comment on when construction on the planned commercial and retail center development could start, but Plotnik said the planned move of the Blalock Park Fire Station is going to take more than a year.
“The fire department, which is on the corner, they’re going to need at least 18 months, maybe even 24 months, to design and build on seven and a half acres, which SEDCO has offered to the city in the Progress Industrial Park,” Plotnik said.
The Sherman council recently approved a request to advertise for a construction manager-at-risk for the work to build a new fire station on the west side of Northgate Drive. City staff previously said the move will give firefighters better access and a greater ability to serve the southern half of the city and its projected growth.