Editor's note: This article has been updated throughout.
Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille announced plans Thursday to open an entertainment complex on Sherman’s southside that will employ between 150 and 175 people.
The entertainment center will be part of a planned full development of the 22-acre tract of land Sherman has been marketing on the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417 for the past two years. The facility is expected to encompass 63,189 square feet and will feature multiple bowling lanes, eight movie screens offering dine-in viewing, various gaming choices and dining options through a Billy’s Grille and Bar.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our company,” owner Mark Schulman said. “We’re glad to be a part of your community. We’re working fast. We don’t have an end date today because we’re moving mountains and once we get past the mountains, we’ll get to the rocks and the pebbles.”
The first phase of the planned development will also include spaces for three restaurant or retail locations and a spot for a convenience store along the Highway 75 service road. The second phase of the development will add a hotel and conference center to the east of the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille.
Schulman said building a Movie Bowl Grille typically takes 15 months to 18 months to complete, but his people will be working as quickly and efficiently as possible, so he didn’t rule out opening before the end of 2018.
“It all depends on weather,” Schulman said. “If you get no rain, no snow, 70 degrees every day, I think we make it.”
City Manager Robby Hefton said construction on the development will likely start in December or January and the city is hoping to have the Blalock Park Fire Station, which currently sits on the corner of Hwy. 75 and FM 1417, moved to a new station on Northgate Drive in the Progress Park industrial area of the city next year.
“The city is going to be the one responsible for demolishing the fire station and the old TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) building and the other structures (currently on the development site),” Hefton said. “We’re giving them a clean site to build on and we hope to be done with that this year.”
Hefton said he made the initial cold call to Schulman about bringing a development to Sherman about four weeks ago and since then city staff have worked on some element of the projects nearly every day since. City staff previously confirmed Sherman became aware of Schulman’s business after the company announced a Movie Bowl Grille location it is planning to build in Denison.
“Our vision for the city of Sherman was very well aligned with what he had done in other places and his vision as well for what he has in mind for Sherman,” Hefton said.
Schulman praised Hefton’s vision and the work ethics of the representatives of Sherman.
“I have to hand it to you guys, I’ve seen cities work fairly fast, but never in four weeks,” Schulman said. “I’m going to take my hat off to you guys. That’s unbelievable.”
As for the previously announced Denison location, Schulman said his company will initially be focusing on the retail aspect in Sherman’s neighbor to the north, but would eventually like to build the full complex that it announced.
“What we’re doing is going in layers,” Schulman said. “There’s other entertainment we do besides this. Our goal is this market will support both (entertainment complexes in Sherman and Denison). Our goals haven’t changed.”
The Sherman City Council approved an economic development program agreement last week with Schulman’s 58 Aggie Development LLC for the commercial and retail center development. The agreement will provide a cash grant of 50 percent of the sales tax generated by the planned commercial and retail center development over a seven-year period. However, the agreement puts a $1.5 million cap on the cash grant, and the agreement expires once the seven-year period ends.
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.
“Now that the cat’s out of the bag, this is going to be a great development,” Sherman Mayor David Plyler said. “The corner that Mr. Schulman is taking over for development is going to be our first impression of those who come up here from the south. Shermanites will finally have an entertainment superstore right here in their backyard, not to mention people in the smaller areas like Howe, Tom Bean, Gunter, Van Alstyne and Anna.”
The council also approved a development agreement for public facilities with 58 Aggie Development in the planned Sherman Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 7, which will be comprised of the 22.309 acres to be developed.
Last month, the council rejected bids from QuikTrip Corp. and Douglass Distributing to purchase the 22-acre tract of land. Douglass Distributing’s bid of $2.5 million was under the city’s $3.8 million minimum for the property, while QuikTrip’s bid was for $4,046,022 with inspection conditions that would have to be met. Earlier this year, QuikTrip received approval for a 5,858-square-foot gas station near the southwest section of the FM 691 and Hwy. 75 intersection on Sherman’s north side. Douglass Distributing operates the Lone Star Food Store chain of convenience stores.