2 apartment communities want space on FM 1417

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
An artist rendering shows plans for a the units in a new apartment community planned for FM 1417. Rather than using large, multi-unit buildings, the development will be lower density with single and double-unit rentals.

For the past several years, Sherman leaders have viewed FM 1417 as the next major growth corridor for the city. Now, a newly proposed development may bring that vision closer to reality.

The Sherman and Zoning Commission approved early plans and zoning on Tuesday night for a new 70-acre mixed-use development that hopes to bring retail and residences to the burgeoning corridor. Developers with Tesch and Associates presented plans across multiple agenda items to transform the intersection of OB Groner and FM 1417 into a mixture of residential and retail uses.

These plans include a traditional 276-unit apartment complex alongside a low-density apartment community, featuring individual small homes for rent. 

"I am a mixed-use developer," Tesch and Associates President Bob Tesch said. "We develop well-positioned sites that are suited for a variety of uses and we go about our study process and determine through market research what the highest and best use is. With this site, it can be successfully developed in a variety of ways."

The 70 acres that Tesch is looking to develop includes 46 acres of land that was annexed into the city in early December.

Among the projects slated for the property is a 38-acre apartment community that would feature 329 units. However,  rather than utilizing large multi-unit buildings, the development would instead feature many single or double-unit residences in a lower density.

Sherman P&Z approved plans this week for a new mixed-use development along FM1417 that will feature two new apartment communities.

"That is a type of residential rental home that started in Arizona and it has gained a great deal of popularity," Tesch said, noting similar developments in Frisco and the Metroplex. "Basically it is an apartment community with amenities, but each person rather than living in multi-level buildings lives in their own home." 

Current plans call for 104 single-bedroom homes, with 158 two-bed room units and 67 three-bedroom residences.

The homes will be smaller than most new residential construction, ranging from about 660 square-feet to 1,140 square-feet.

Tesch said the homes would fit a niche for housing that mixes the affordability of traditional multi-family with some of the amenities and privacy that comes with home ownership.

The apartment development received some mixed responses from members of the commission who had not seen similar developments in the past. Others questioned the quality of the development.

"I hate this word because it isn't what you guys want, but convince me that Sherman isn't getting a mobile home park on concrete," commissioner Shawn Davis said.

Tesch said that unlike many mobile home parks that Davis mentioned, the development would be privately owned and managed. With that, the managers have an incentive for keeping it in good repair. Also, it would feature quality amenities including granite counter tops.

The apartment community will be adjacent to a new 13-acre apartment complex that would feature traditional buildings. Current plans for the Sherman Heights apartments call for 10 buildings featuring 114 single-bedroom units, 126 two-bedroom units and 36 three-bedroom apartments.

The final portion of the development would feature acres dedicated to commercial and local retail. While final plans are still in the air, Tesch said he would like to include a small grocery retailer in the development.

The next step for the development will come when the requests go before the city council next month. Tesch said once this is done, planning can continue, with construction expected to begin some time in the next year.