Developers gave more details Monday night regarding plans for a 24-acre retail and entertainment development at the corner of U.S. Highway 75 and Crawford Street in Denison. The update, which included talks of a new grocery store, came during conversations over zoning for a new Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille during Monday’s city council meeting.
Mark Schulman, the owner of Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille, said the project will be broken into two-phase, with an immediate focus on retail development on the southern end of the site. Following this development, Schulman said he plans to move forward with the entertainment aspect of the development — a new Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille.
“We are going to work on phase one, and our goal, our timeline is to follow with phase two,” Shulman said. “Sometimes things take longer, and sometimes things go quicker.”
Schulman presented preliminary plans for the site, which include a total of 10 retain and pad sites on 15.25 acres. These plans include a grocery store, three retail spaces, and five pad sites against the U.S. Hwy. 75 service road. The second phase, which includes the proposed entertainment complex and its connected parking, is proposed to be situated on 8.95 acres.
In September, officials with company announced plans to build an entertainment complex, featuring bowling, dining and an eight-screen movie theater, along with other retail development. However, questions about the future of the project remained following mixed signals and announcements of similar projects within the region.
Less than two days after Schulman’s announcement, officials with HeyDay Entertainment and the city of Denison announced plans to build a similar development in Gateway Village, near the intersection of Hwy. 75 and FM 691. The city and Denison Development Alliance also announced a total of $1 million in incentives toward the development.
Following the HeyDay announcement, city officials confirmed that they had been in talks with both developers regarding incentives and discussions had ended the same day Schulman’s announced its development.
In early October, officials with Schulman’s announced plans to build yet another complex at the intersection of FM 1417 and U.S. Highway 75. The development will be pursued by 58 Aggie Development, LLC, of which Schulman is a partner.
At the time of the Sherman announcement, Schulman said he still planned to develop the Denison location as initially announced, but the current focus would be on the retail aspect and the Sherman entertainment complex.
Following the discussion on the plan, multiple members of the council voiced concern regarding the mixed signals that had been given with regard to the development. Mayor Jared Johnson said he was concerned by the confusion in the community that has followed the developments and uncertainty that the project would not be fully realized.
“There has been a lot of confusion in the market, and sometimes you get these development communities where the confusion is created on purpose,” Johnson said. “I am not saying that is what’s been going on here, but there has been a lot of confusion with this entertainment venue.”
Johnson questioned the reality and the viability of having so many entertainment complexes in such proximity. Between Sherman and Durant, current plans would call for four similar developments, with a total of six movie theaters within the region, Council Member J.C. Doty said.
“What is very clear tonight is that phase one is very viable in this market today,” Mayor Jared Johnson said following the meeting. “Phase two is way off somewhere in the future.”
Likewise, Council Member Janet Gott said she had heard a rumor there was a noncompete clause as a part of the agreement with Sherman. She asked if this would prohibit Schulman from moving forward with the development.
In response, Schulman neither confirmed nor denied that there was a clause in the Sherman agreement but noted that there are options available to him as the two developments are being pursued by two separate entities. In the case of Denison, Schulman presented plans featuring the name “Crawford 75 Partners.” However, other pages in the same packet still bore the name “58 Aggie Development, LLC.”
The conversations were a part of talks on a requested zoning change for the site, which brought opposition and concern from neighboring residents regarding the impact on nearby residences and the removal of less than half an acre of native greenbelt.
The motion passed unanimously among those present, with Council Members Bill Malvern and Kris Spiegel absent for the meeting.