If you drive the short stretch of Chinn Chapel Road in Flower Mound that runs between Waketon Road and FM 407 right now, you won’t see much more than its well-known tree canopy.
Over the next few years, that could change dramatically, as plans for two residential subdivisions developed by Centurion American and a shopping center anchored by an Academy Sports and Outdoors are in the works.
Near Waketon Road will be Estancia Estates, with 54 single-family residential homes. Go north past Dixon Road and you’ll drive past Legends, a gated, age-restricted (55 and up) subdivision of 91 homes. At the corner of 407 and Chinn Chapel will be the Highlands Plaza retail center, anchored by a roughly 70,000-75,000 square-foot Academy store and including three restaurants and some smaller retail shops.
Chinn Chapel Road, first built in 1885, was originally a wagon trail connecting the Chinn’s Chapel and Waketon settlements and providing a route to the historic Chinn’s Chapel Methodist Church.
Since then, the road has been home to a handful of residents who enjoyed the peace and quiet of the country while still having suburban conveniences.
Dale Andrews said the area’s rural feel was why he moved there in 1972.
“In fact, 407 had very few buildings along it from I-35E all the way to the old Bartonville Store,” Andrews recalled.
Though the professional contractor moved away for a while, he came back in 1998, buying the historic Wakefield-Hudson home on Chinn Chapel Road.
“We knew the house then as the old haunted house,” he said. “It wasn’t haunted obviously, but it was an older home that had been abandoned and later restored by Tim and Carolyn West in 1978. The land it was on was originally deeded ‘Peters Colony, State of Texas – 1841.'”
Despite preferring a rural setting, Andrews said he’s not unhappy to see development coming to the area.
“My wife Vonda and I, we realize that change is not always good, but it is inevitable,” he said, laughing. “So we’ve always tried to make the best of it. We realized it was coming and we embraced it.”
As development crept closer to what Andrews said was once an “appendage” of Flower Mound, he and his wife decided to move their stately Civil War-era house to a rural setting off of Orchid Hill Road in Copper Canyon in 2007.
“We did not want to see it destroyed,” he said of the decision to move the home after the construction of the Target at FM 2499 and Dixon. “My neighbors and I realized you can’t always fight it; so you might as well work with it and get the best deal you can.”
While Academy is confirmed as the retail anchor of Highlands Plaza, there are no confirmed tenants for the retail and restaurant spaces, said Krystle Nelinson, economic development specialist for the Town of Flower Mound.
The development would include 23,000 square feet of restaurant space and about 85,000 square feet of retail space. Aside from Academy, the proposal includes five smaller buildings: three designated for restaurants and two designated as restaurant/retail space.
Nelinson said she would estimate construction of the Academy site will begin “sooner rather than later.”
“Right now, all that development is lacking to break ground is a site plan,” she said. “It’s not nearly as far away as it seems.”
Bobby Dollak, Project Engineer at G&A Consultants, said plans for the Legends residential development are still early in the process.
“We’re probably looking at getting approval early in the first quarter of next year of the construction plans (for Legends),” said Dollak, whose firm’s resume includes many sites in and around Flower Mound, including The Shops at Highland Village, the Bella Lago subdivision and several Flower Mound middle schools, including Delay and Downing.
The Legends development has master plan amendment approval from Flower Mound Town Council, he said. That entails rezoning the area to High Density Residential.
Dollak said houses could be under construction at Legends by fall of next year, and that people could be moving into them by spring of 2014. Approximately 75-80 percent of the housing will be restricted to residents 55 and over; in general, federal law requires that in age-restricted housing developments, at least 80 percent of the residences are occupied by at least one person age 55 or older.
He said age-restricted housing is in increasing demand from retirement-age residents looking to downsize a bit. Legends will feature homes that average 2,000 square feet.
“I think this has become more of an appealing kind of development, not just in Flower Mound — we’re getting calls in other communities for the same type of product,” he said. “It seems to be more and more of the calls we’re getting. With the aging population, those over 65 or of retirement age are wanting to downsize, and this is a downsizing product. The interest that the developer has from home builders is what drives it — the market drives everything, and the interest is there.”
With increased development will come increased traffic, and Fox said plans are under way to address heavier traffic.
“It’s already in the works,” she said. “We’ve been working closely with the design consultant on the widening of Chinn Chapel, and I fully anticipate that Chinn Chapel will be widened at or about the same time we’re under construction with the Legends and the Academy site.”
Fox said the residential subdivisions and retail development should bring numerous benefits.
“It would bring more residents to the area who could shop and dine at our Flower Mound businesses,” Fox said.
She said property tax revenues haven’t been projected for the retail development yet.
“We obviously want more quality jobs in Flower Mound, and we don’t have the final numbers yet (on that), but we’re very excited about being able to offer additional shopping and dining opportunities,” Fox said.
“It’s exciting to me,” Andrews said. “I’m excited to see what it’s going to look like when it’s all done.”