Sherman recently took the first step toward the creation of a new Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone around the land to be used for a planned Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille entertainment center and retail development.

The Sherman City Council voted unanimously to initiate the formation of TIRZ No. 7 and approve its preliminary Reinvestment Zone Financing Plan. The zone will cover the area on the southeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417.

“This resolution does two things,” City Manager Robby Hefton said. “One, it forms the actual reinvestment zone, which will be reinvestment zone No. 7. Secondly, it approves the preliminary financing plan, so there will be more agenda items at future meetings for the council to consider, but these are the first steps in creating the zone.”

The TIRZ areas are put in place to promote development the city said would not occur exclusively through private investment in the foreseeable future. The TIRZ areas will generate funds for the city’s Tax Increment Financing Policy, which the city uses to fund capital projects and their maintenance and infrastructure.

In August 2015, Sherman announced plans to move the Blalock Park Fire Station at the corner of Hwy. 75 and FM 1417 and combine the nearly nine acres of property it is on with 13 acres of adjacent land owned by the Sherman Economic Development Corp. to create a 22-acre tract to sell for commercial development.

Last month, Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille announced plans to open an entertainment complex as part of a planned full development of the 22-acre tract of land. The Schulman’s 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. The rest of the first phase of the development is expected to 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.

The new TIRZ area is the third established by Sherman this year, following TIRZ No. 5 on the northwest corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 75 and FM 1417, and TIRZ No. 6 on the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection of Hwy. 75 and FM 691, both of which were created in February. The other four TIRZ areas include ones in Downtown Sherman, at the Sherman Commons development and two in the Sherman Town Center development.

The preliminary financing plan for TIRZ No. 7 includes proposed improvements of $2,386,223 for work on streets, a parking lot, storm sewers, environmental clean-up and wastewater infrastructure. The city’s preliminary financing plans for TIRZ No. 5 and TIRZ No. 6 call for improvements of around $3.3 million at the Sherman Crossroads development on the city’s southside and $2.8 million at the Hwy. 75 and FM 691 zone, where the planned Shops at Grayson Creek development will be located.

Following the Schulman’s announcement last month, 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 moved to Northgate Drive sometime next year.

The council approved an economic development program agreement last month with Schulman’s owner Mark Schulman for the development. The agreement will provide a cash grant of 50 percent of the sales tax generated by the planned commercial 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.

County participation

The council also unanimously approved an agreement with Grayson County to participate in the TIRZ No. 7. And that agreement was approved by the Grayson County Commissioners Court Tuesday morning. The court also appointed Grayson County Commissioner Jeff Whitmire to the TIRZ board.

In a document prepared for the council, city staff said the county will be participating in the TIRZ by contributing 75 percent of its property tax rate for the area to the fund. Sherman plans to contribute 75 percent of its maintenance and operations tax rate for the area of the fund.

“This will be, really, a joint effort by the county and the city to leverage our local tax dollars to bring this type of development to Sherman,” Hefton said. “We’re excited about that and excited about getting to work with the county again on a project like this.”

Herald Democrat Criminal Justice Editor Jerrie Whiteley contributed to this report.