Sherman restaurateurs are reconsidering plans for a new pizzeria, following site issues. Officials with the site said plans for developing a new restaurant in the former Payless ShoeSource building located along Texoma Parkway have stalled following site issues with parking.


In August, Jeremy Roberts, owner of 903 Brewers, announced plans to redevelop the former retail establishment into a pizzeria that would serve beer on top produced by 903 Brewers. With ongoing work on a strip center nearby, Roberts said he felt the area could be the prime location for a restaurant and further redevelopment.


“The location is just not going to work due to parking,” Roberts said Monday.


Last year, Roberts said that plans to build a pizzeria date back almost as long as 903 Brewers itself. The concept would allow diners to walk up to the cashier and write down what they want on their pizza from a list of ingredients.


“There are a lot of pizzerias that sell our beer, but there aren’t a lot of places in town where you can just get a pizza and a beer,” Roberts said.


In 2017, Payless announced the closure of 400 stores, including its location along Texoma Parkway. In the three years since, the building has remained vacant.


The former shoe store has about 15 park spots in front, but it would need significantly more if it were to be redeveloped for a restaurant use. Roberts said the city guidelines called for about one spot per table, but he initially hoped to provide more space. People meeting up at a restaurant typically travel in more than one vehicle, he added.


“For us to make it work, I think we would need 60 plus (parking spots),” he said.


The landlord for the property purchased land behind the building for additional parking. While the property owner expected to put about 50 spaces on the new lot, city guidelines would allow for only about 25, Roberts said. Additionally, concerns from homeowners in adjacent neighborhoods ruled out the possibility of on-street parking.


“Listening to the neighborhood, and the city about parking, this just wasn’t going to work for us,” Roberts said.


In addition to his work with 903 Brewers, Roberts spent the last several months focusing on his campaign to become Grayson County Commissioner for Precinct 1. During that time, Roberts said the pizzeria project was less of a priority.


With the campaign now over, Roberts said he plans to take the week off before restarting the search for a new location next week. With development growing along the FM 1417 corridor in recent years, Roberts said south Sherman offered some opportunities. However, it would likely involve building the site from the ground up.


“With growth in the south part of town, that (a location) is a possibility there,” he said.


Along with the announcement in August, the project was awarded an incentive by the city through its retail recruitment program. This marked the second incentive under the program, which launched one year ago, following an incentive for Bobcat for the redevelopment of the former Haverty’s storefront into a dealership.


Under the terms of the agreement, Roberts would have been able to collect a cash rebate of 50 percent of sales tax receipts from the restaurant over the course of two years, if the restaurant remained in operation for at least five years.


City officials confirmed that the city has made no payments as a part of this agreement yet. If Roberts were to find a new location, he would have to reapply for the incentive, Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said.