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Stories Added - April 2009
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City Council slings off MMUD proposal
Polk County Enterprise - April 2009
LIVINGSTON City Council on Thursday evening turned down a proposal for a Management Municipal Utility District (MMUD) to be created on the vacant 100- acre property on Hwy. 190 across from Tractor Supply Co. Had it been approved, Anthony Properties (AP), a land development firm based in Dallas, would have been allowed to create this selfgoverning district to manage utilities, drainage, landscaping and to construct roads. Judy Cochran served as Mayor Pro Tem in Mayor Clarke Evans absence. He recused himself from the night’s proceedings because his firm Evans & Associates is representing Anthony Properties as its real estate broker. With one council seat still vacant, and Cochran unable to vote because of her new role, only three members were left to weigh in. But after two hours of debate the three unanimously opposed the measure. Cochran read a statement from the council thanking Nuchereno and Anthony Properties for their “time and effort.” AP has been developing this project since June 2004. The council agreed the new road would ease congestion on FM 350 South, but were reluctant to get involved because of the cost to the city. The council cited three reasons for denying the initiative: • The proposed legislation provides no policy for economic incentives. • The council cited an unstable economy • The council is of the opinion the main benefit of having this road in place would be realized by the retail center, rather than by the general public.
Frank Nuchereno, Director of Real Estate for AP agreed the proposed $1 million road through the property is the key to the development. If it is built according to plan it would begin at Hwy. 190 just west of the Long King Creek Bridge and run to the rear of the property and connect with FM 350 South near the proposed entrance for the new high school. The road would give students leaving campus three exit options. Nuchereno believes it would also stop drivers turning from FM 350 South onto Eastbound Hwy. 190 through First National Bank and City Grille parking lots. AP prefers to develop horizontally, Nuchereno said. The company prefers to provide the land in build-ready condition with the dirt work and utilities already in place. Each business in turn would provide the vertical construction by building its own facilities. Nuchereno has bandied about several options for funding the road project. One idea was to use money from the sale of a piece of land to Walgreens as a loss leader to pay for the road. He said “the only problem with that plan is Walgreens wants the road in place before it makes the commitment.” This catch-22 was the impetus for his request to create the MMUD. Had he been successful the district could have issued bonds to pay for the road project and other infra-structural improvements.
The value to Walgreens, according to Nuchereno, is a location on a “hard corner.” In other words, an intersection with a traffic light. He said Walgreens could be willing to pay as much as $1.9 million for a “hard corner” location. He believes Walgreens has already offered as much for another piece of property in town, but was rebuffed. With that kind of money Nuchereno said he can complete the road project. Nuchereno considers the northeast corner of Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 190 to be the No. 1 commercial property currently available, but admits the pond and Whataburger prevent easy access. The No. 2 spot, according to Nuchereno, is the land next to Wal-Mart where the old bank building is, but Nuchereno said Wal-Mart will not allow a curb cut so people can easily drive between the two shopping centers. Drivers will have to exit at Hwy. 190 then turn into the neighboring property. He believes the Moore Auto complex to be No. 3, even though it is not available.
He feels its location at the light opposite the Wal-Mart entrance, and on a hard corner, gives it this ranking even though the property is not on the market. He is so impressed with this location he said he offered six acres in exchange for those three. Nuchereno considers his site to be No. 4 but if the road were to be put in, it would move his site up to No. 3 in his eyes. He said Home Depot had looked at land on the northeast corner of Hwy. 59 and Hwy. 190 but passed on it. When asked if he had space for a Home Depot footprint he said, “We would make room for Home Depot.” Nuchereno said he had contacted Kroger about placing a store on his property, but he was turned down due to the amount of competition in that area. He said he has also contacted H.E.B. about moving out there but they too turned him down. He declined Tractor Supply Co.— before they decided on their current location —because he believes a metal building would not fit with the overall theme of his development.