Restaurant Row Discussion Continues

McKinney officials hope to spur development of a "restaurant row" for the city's main commercial corridors in an effort to attract more businesses and corporations.

Where will McKinney’s “restaurant row” be? That’s still the question.

City staff and the McKinney City Council reopened discussions on the carefully proposed idea, through which the city aims to attract more corporations and large-scale businesses to its commercial corridors.

City Councilman Randy Pogue initiated the idea in recent months after hearing from community members and potential business-relocation companies that McKinney offers no true retail and eatery component for its most populated office corridors.

According to the Retail Coach, the firm tasked with outlining the city’s retail landscape now and in the future, McKinney is indeed missing out on around 880,000 square feet of potential retail that the existing population could support.

“I’m tired of losing out on corporations that do not select McKinney,” Pogue recently told the council.

Council members have ruled out fast-food chains for the “row,” and have suggested including entertainment options. They’ve ramped up talks about which particular corridor(s) would be ideal for the row right now.

Those talks mostly exclude Farm-to-Market 543, U.S. Highway 380 and Custer Road, the latter of which Pogue said could one day be like McKinney’s Preston Road.

The focus should be on the Sam Rayburn Tollway and Gateway corridors, officials re-emphasized.

“We’re not trying to pick winners or losers,” Pogue explained. “We’re trying to help partner to solve a problem.”

Councilman Don Day, who’s developed eight restaurants in the city, said the only viable restaurant destinations are the downtown square and the Gateway site at the northeast corner of the Sam Rayburn Tollway-U.S. Highway 75 interchange.

“I can’t think of another place in McKinney I would put one,” Day said.

City staff agreed to draft an introduction letter to send to property owners, restaurant groups and developers who could be stakeholders in or direct beneficiaries of the restaurant row.

The letter, set to circulate for about a month, will garner related feedback before the city puts out a request for proposals tied to row development.

Michael Quint, executive director of Development Services for the city, said the letter would be “focused on gauging feedback” and “getting the pulse of the development community.”

Staff plans to then send out a council-approved request for proposals (RFP) sometime in October and have it circulate for four to six weeks. Depending upon responses, the city is eyeing an early 2017 date for any restaurant row development to truly begin, city staff said.

Follow Chris Beattie on Twitter for continued coverage

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