For the city of Sherman, 2019 has been a year of growth and development, with a focus on its southern boundaries. With the opening of a new entertainment venue, progress on other mixed-use developments, and ongoing construction of the new Sherman High School, the city focused its attention on FM 1417 as the next major growth corridor in 2019, and likely for years to come.
“This year we have seen some projects coalesce as dirt is moving on those things, while in others we are still in the planning phase,” City Manager Robby Hefton said.
Here are some of the highlights of Sherman in 2019:
Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille opens for business
After more than 18 months of development, Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille opened its doors in Sherman in late May. The entertainment center chain, which features bowling, an arcade, a full-service restaurant and bar, and an eight-screen movie theater, first announced plans for its first North Texas location in late 2017.
“What patrons can expect is a full range and full day of attractions for the full family to be together,” Mark Schulman said in May.
Schulman first announced plans to build an entertainment venue in Denison, not Sherman in the fall of 2017. However, the Denison development failed to materialize amid the announcement of plans by competitor HeyDay Entertainment to open a similar development in Gateway Village.
Soon after, Schulman’s announced plans to build a Sherman facility along the southeast intersection of FM 1417 and U.S. Highway 75 in what is now known as the Legacy Village Development. Currently Schulman’s and a Lone Star Food Store are the sole tenants of the development, but Schulman previously said he is courting restaurant developers to fill the remaining pad sites, but no formal announcements have been made.
Sherman’s southern growth
The opening of Schulman’s MBG was only one of several developments that saw development or were announced along the city’s southern border in 2019. In addition to the entertainment venue, the city saw plans for two new planned developments in southern Sherman, while saw two projects officially break ground.
Next door to Schulman’s MBG, developers plan to build a mixed-used development featuring more than 5,000 residential units, urbanized retail and commercial space and green and park space. The development, which could see nearly $700 million in investment at full build-out, was initially referred as Bel Air earlier this year before the development was officially named Terra Perpetua Village.
City officials previously said there have been discussions about dedicating a portion of the development for a new elementary school, however Sherman Independent School District officials have not given details about any talks. SISD Superintendent David Hicks said in April that it wasn’t uncommon for developers to speak with districts ahead of major residential developments regarding the impact and school capacity.
Where Terra Perpetua is focused more of residential development, another just down the road will be focusing more on retail and commercial development. A second, 600-acre development near the future site of Sherman High School could feature nearly 1.9 million square feet of office and commercial space.
“The planned development offers a mix of commercial and residential opportunities complimented by almost 20 percent of the land area set aside as parks, open space or other village amenities,” development plans say in their opening introduction.
Hefton said he expects that interest in the development will increase as the school approaches completion.
“As the time draws bear for the high school to open, you will see more activity of land changing hands a commercial announcements,” he said.
Meanwhile, on the northwest corner of FM 1417 and U.S. 75, the Sherman Crossroads development is starting to see some growth with the city’s second QuikTrip and McDonald’s. QuikTrip is currently slated to open in February, while McDonald’s is currently doing dirt work in preparations for construction.
Representatives previously announced that Braum’s had plans for a location in Sherman Crossroads, but Hefton said the project appeared to be in a holding pattern.
The final piece of current development in Sherman Crossroads for city officials is the recruitment of a health care provider to open a facility on the city’s southern border. Hefton said conversations were still early, but he did not expect the new facility to be a large-scale facility in the scope of Texoma Medical Center.
“That is not in the vision for this,” he said.
Sherman High School goes vertical
One of the key developments taking place along FM 1417 in 2019 — and fueling interest in the corridor — was the construction of the new Sherman High School. Construction and site work began in mid-2018, with vertical construction on some of the buildings starting throughout this year.
Sherman voters initially denied issuing bonds in May 2017 when a $308 million resolution failed by just 145 votes. When a similar, $176 million bond resolution was presented to voters just six months later, it was passed with 58 percent approval.
Despite weather delays earlier in the year, district officials expect the school to be ready to open in August in time for the school year, although the start date may be moved back to the end of the month.
As of late October, there are nearly 300 workers active on the construction site each day, with much of the framework for the school’s three halls in place.
District officials said the school will be functional capacity of 2,600 with a maximum capacity of 3,000. However, planned expansions could add capacity for an additional 500 students. The two, three-classroom expansions are projected to be needed by 2032, but officials said the recent growth along FM 1417 could expedite this need.
Sherman Police envisions new police station
Amid the ongoing growth along the city’s south and western sides, the city proposed relocating its police station into a new $12.11 million facility earlier this year.
The proposed 24,000 square-foot building would allow the existing station to be converted into municipal office space for fire department leadership and could create more than 100 municipal positions.
As an alternative, the city proposed renovating the existing police station, but this would not be a long-term solution and would instead only fit the city’s needs for the next five to ten years. In June, the city directed the city to move forward with plans for the new station during its annual budget workshop.
“The current PD facility is useful in the future for other things, and we have not come to you with the recommendation to demolish the facility,” Hefton said in June. “We believe it has value now and today. We are just trying to get our arms around how quickly we move in a direction to serve the needs of the police department.”
At the time, officials said they did not have any specific sites in mind, but said it would likely be on the western portions of the city, with specific mention to the FM 1417 corridor.
Hefton said the city currently has some locations in mind, but has not moved forward as it has prioritized other projects related to preparing the school site for opening next year.
U.S. Highway 75
One of the major developments that gained traction this year was a set of improvements to U.S. Highway 75 dubbed by local officials as the gap project. The more than $160 million of projects will see the highway widened to six lanes for a four mile stretch of roadway from FM 1417 to State Highway 91 — the only section in Texas not at interstate standards.
A second phase of work will focus on improving the intersection of U.S. 75 and U.S. 82 with new approaches and widened service roads.
The project was made possible thanks to local contributions and funding from Grayson County and Sherman, who both issued bonds for the project. The county contributed $10 million, while Sherman added $8 million in local funding.
Construction of the project is expected to start in early January. One of the early milestones in the project will be the construction of a new bridge linking Travis Street to the newly-built West Travis. This will give additional access to the future high school for residents of east Sherman, city officials previously said.
The Texas Department of Transportation expects to have the connection finished by fall 2020, with the entire improvement project slated to be completed within 800 days.