Sherman approved a deal Monday with the owner of Schulman's Movie Bowl Grille for a commercial and retail center development on the city's south side. The agreement came about an hour before the city of Denison made agreements to convey city land for the development of a second Schulman project at the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and Crawford Street.

It was unclear if and how the two projects might overlap.

Schulman and Sherman

The Sherman City Council approved an economic development program agreement with 58 Aggie Development LLC, which was formed late last week. The Texas Secretary of State's website lists Mark Schulman as management for 58 Aggie Development. Schulman is also the owner of Schulman's Movie Bowl Grille, which announced plans to open a 66,000-square-foot entertainment complex in Denison last month. That announcement came two days before Denison announced HeyDay Entertainment was planning to build a similar entertainment center within Gateway Village.

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 at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417 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.

City staff said 58 Aggie Development was not purchasing the entire 22-acre tract as part of this deal, but may at some time in the future.

“This developer has a vision for the entire tract, which is what we wanted all along,” Sherman City Manager Robby Hefton said.

Citing a nondisclosure agreement, city staff said they could not comment on the future of Schulman's development in Sherman.

”We are very excited to work with this developer, in particular,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said. “And any other deal that he is focusing on in other cities concurrently has nothing to do with our excitement for this deal.”

Calls to Schulman for comment were not immediately returned Monday evening.

Two entertainment venues in Denison

On the other side of 691, the Denison City Council approved the conveyance of less than half an acre of city-owned land for the development of Schulman's Movie Bowl Grille in Denison, seeming to move the Denison project forward. The strip of land runs along Crawford Street between Hwy. 75 and Ansley Lane.

The conveyance is intended to increase access and offer increased visibility for traffic at the location, city officials said during the meeting.

Immediately prior to the HeyDay announcement 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 prior to development. These improvements could include streets, water and sewer utilities, electric and gas utilities, and site grading.

At the time, Denison Mayor Jared Johnson said the city had been in negotiations with Schulman's and HeyDay in the months prior to the announcements of the two entertainment complexes planning to build in the city. Denison officials said last month that the decision on granting incentives ultimately came down to location.

“At the end of the day, because of the importance Gateway has with this community, we decided to support this project,” Johnson said.

Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai said last month that negotiations on incentives with Schulman ended the day the company made its announcement of plans to open in Denison, after more than a year of talks. He said the incentives that were discussed were similar in scope to those offered to HeyDay. When asked why the negotiations ended with no incentives, Kaai said officials with Schulman's “decided they didn't need any.”

Schulman confirmed that negotiations had taken place, but declined to comment further at the time regarding the discussions. 

The possibilities for Sherman

Just like in Denison, Sherman has high hopes for its project.

In a document prepared for the Sherman Council meeting on Monday, 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.

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 of property on the southeast corner of the intersection of Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 that is jointly owned by Sherman and the Sherman Economic Development Corp.

In August 2015, Sherman announced plans to offer the 22-acre tract 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 that was purchased by the Sherman Economic Development Corp. from Garcha Corp. of Plano for $575,000.

Last month, the council rejected bids from QuikTrip Corp. and Douglass Distributing to purchase a 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.

In a separate resolution on Monday, the Sherman council approved the conveyance of 8.899 acres of land owned by the city to SEDCO for $2.5 million.

SEDCO President John Plotnik said last month that Sherman is overseeing the sale of the 22 acres on the city's south side, but he believes it is a good location for a mixed-use retail development, similar to what has been developed near the intersection of Hwy. 75 and U.S. Highway 82.

The Sherman council also recently approved a request to advertise for a construction manager-at-risk for the work to build a new fire station No. 4 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. Plotnik said in June that 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.

Herald Democrat Executive Editor Jonathan Cannon contributed to this report.