Developers for The Point project in Flower Mound have long taken the “if you build it, the Class A office will come” approach.
The majority of the Town Council decided Monday night to see if that works.
After a nearly five-hour discussion, the council voted 3-2 to rezone 35 acres at the northeast intersection of FM 2499 and Silveron Boulevard to bring in The Point project. The land will be rezoned from planned development with campus commercial uses to planned development with residential and non-residential use.
Councilmen Don McDaniel, Bryan Webb and Claudio Forest voted for the motion, with Jason Webb and Kevin Bryant voting against.
The project had been a contentious one in past weeks, which included public opposition by Mayor Tom Hayden. That prompted McDaniel to request Hayden relinquish his gavel for that item to provide an “equitable” hearing for the applicant. Hayden declined.
Developers, led by Direct Development, said The Point will include two Class A office buildings, commercial space, open space and a hotel. But to get those, project leaders said The Point also needs apartments, and the project calls for 520 of them, plus 35 carriage homes and 20 commercial-ready residential units.
The multifamily piece was one of the most controversial parts of the discussion. But McDaniel said apartments provide a place for young professionals to land prior to starting their families and buying their first home.
McDaniel said the town is aging and not having a place for young families is hurting local schools. He cited statistics that state 63 percent of homebuyers purchase a place in a city they lived in previously.
“We need young families in this town to stay vibrant,” McDaniel said.
“We have to have a place for them to land so they can make that purchase here.”
David Watson, managing principal at Direct Development, said apartments are a critical piece to the “live, work and play” concept, which he said attracts the young professionals to Class A office because of its walkability.
“We’re trying to create the best environment where we can attract Class A office,” Watson said.
Jim Wills, a developer not associated with The Point, said the project would bring an identity to the area. He said another mixed-use project will be proposed next to The Point.
Jason Webb wasn’t convinced of the proposal.
“What I see is an apartment complex with the hope of getting office,” he said.
The first phase of the project includes 351 multifamily units, open space and 57,500 square feet of commercial space. Developers said the hotel, which is about the same square footage, counts as commercial.
“I’m concerned we’re building the hotel and a bulk of apartments and we’re not going to see commercial,” Bryant said.
Watson said all he can do is get the land rezoned and build a product to attract the office user.
Doug Powell, executive director of development services, said the developers would have to request a zoning amendment if anything but office goes into the two designated buildings.
Residents who opposed the project said apartments would bring in more crime and make traffic in the area worse. But others refuted the crime claim and said the future FM 2499 connection to Interstate 35E is the biggest factor in increased traffic.
The hotel was another topic. A Hilton brand called Tru is proposed, though Hayden and others called it a “budget” hotel.
Developers denied that, saying the average daily rate for Tru will likely be $110 to $120. Bryan Webb said the project initially included an Extended Stay, which he opposed.
Hayden said he had many concerns, including the large amount of parking spaces that would be seen from FM 2499. Watson said parking structures are possible depending on the size of the office building users.
Monday’s motion also included acceptance of $575 per dwelling unit, or $336,375, and publicly accessible open space of about 15 percent for the residential components.
The town requires park land dedication or cash for residential developments. In The Point’s case, it was 19.4 acres or about $7.3 million. But developers asked to use the mixed-use standard, which doesn’t require land or cash, since the project has a mix of uses.