DDA doubles incentives for Chick-fil-A developer

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Cars wrap around the drive-thru at the Chick-fil-a in Sherman on July 9.

As the cost of construction supplies and other expenses continue to increase, the price tag for Denison's first Chick-fil-A is also being re-evaluated. The Denison Development Alliance Board of Directors voted to increase an incentive for the development of newly announced location on Morton Street, citing increasing development costs for the project.

In July, the DDA approved a $150,000 incentive with New Urban Development — a prominent developer associated with the fast food chain. However, the board agreed to double this to $300,000, citing the rising cost of infrastructure improvements.

"From where we started many, many months ago on that site, to where we are today thanks to our good friend COVID, we all know that costs have gone up considerably," DDA President Tony Kaai said Monday.

For many years, Chick-fil-A has been a target company for recruitment by the DDA and the city, Kaai previously said. Despite many efforts, the fried chicken chain never moved forward with development of a Denison location.

"We've been targeting and recruiting Chick-fil-A for a very long time — well over 10 years and they've changed real estate directors and  real estate partners several times in those ten years," Kaai said in July. "So, it was hot, cold, hot, cold."

This changed in late 2020 when the DDA was approached by New Urban Development, who were looking for a location for a new location. Initial efforts focused on the intersection of FM 120 and U.S. Highway 75, but no hard corners were available.

Instead, developers decided to settle on a second location near the intersection of Lillis Lane and FM 120. 

This location had some logistical issues, including multiple lots, a Texas Department of Transportation right of way and a small section of West Morton that crosses through the proposed site. The city ultimately abandoned the section of W. Morton in July to make way for the new restaurant.

While noting the increasing cost, Kaai said the project still is a boon to the community if developed. At the time the announcement, Kaai said developers are projecting $4.5 million of revenue from the location annually.

Kaai said the developer hopes to  have the deeds for the remaining pieces of land for the project within the next 60 days.