Progress for a multi-use development adjacent to the PGA Frisco site hit a snag Tuesday night after multiple Frisco City Council members voiced concerns about proposed density and multifamily uses in the area.
The land in question, dubbed “The Link,” comprises almost 240 acres and was slated to go before the council for a zoning change from agricultural to uses including office, retail and residential. An applicant for development on the land had received approval from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission in a unanimous March vote.
The proposal features an entertainment district, an urban district and a separate mixed-use urban district that would include multi-story office buildings along Legacy Drive.
“Council was very clear that they wanted to see a skyline along Legacy since it is across from the PGA,” Frisco Development Services Director John Lettelleir said.
Lettelleir said the plan, if approved, would allow for a total of 2,856 residential units as part of the development. Included in the proposal is the establishment of a single-family rental “cottage residential” development.
“The key thing here was getting a mixture of product on the property,” Lettelleir said.
Clay Roby, managing director with investor and developer Stillwater Capital, said the development at buildout would amount to a total assessed value of over $1 billion.
Not all council members were enthusiastic about the proposed plan, citing concerns of either density or “stacked” multifamily development.
Councilman Bill Woodward pointed out that the proposal included an option of stacked multifamily development on a part of the land. Roby said while the desire was to develop the cottage residential development, the alternative option was in place to ensure that if for some reason that initiative wasn’t successful, they could still do something else with the property.
Mayor Pro Tem Will Sowell asked if the business model for the district worked without multifamily development.
“There’s no way this project happens as designed if you take out the multifamily,” Roby said.
In his remarks, Councilman Dan Stricklin mentioned knocking on doors during his recent campaign for his City Council seat.
“The message that I got loud and clear from the citizens of Frisco is they do not want any more apartments,” he said, speaking later in favor of exploring the cottage residential development.
In response, Cheney said the councilman does not speak for all residents of Frisco and that all members of the council had been elected and spoken to the same people.
“What I have found overwhelmingly over the years is that this issue is largely a political dog whistle that goes well in political mailers,” Cheney said. “And when you actually speak to people and educate them on how multifamily works, how it actually reduces traffic in the city, how it actually builds our commercial bases, it’s ironic to me that people that consider themselves conservatives don’t look at the economics behind these developments and how it actually is driving our taxpayers’ tax bills down and how it was the model for how we built Frisco.”
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Shona Huffman said she also had multiple concerns with the proposal and said she couldn’t vote in favor of it that night. Among her concerns were the inclusion of a possible stacked multifamily development. She also addressed the proposed office development.
“While I typically would be someone who would support all of the first class office structure going in there, I don’t know that that’s my vision for what this looks like,” she said.
The council voted unanimously to postpone the rezoning vote to its May 4 meeting.