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River Walk developer to formally request improvement district

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Centurion American, the developer of The River Walk at Central Park, formally requested Wednesday to go before the Flower Mound Town Council this month and ask for a Public Improvement District (PID) item on the November ballot.

The proposed Riverwalk PID #1 would fund improvements at the 108-acre, mixed-use River Walk at Central Park development, such as an amphitheater, chapel, water features and monuments.

“The River Walk development plan will be significantly improved with the addition of quality enhancement features and the reduction of multi-family density. It is our belief that the voters of the town deserve the opportunity to judge the value of the River Walk plan and decide the creation of the River Walk Public Improvement District,” said Mehrdad Moayedi of Centurion American Acquisitions in a letter to Flower Mound Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos.

As outlined in the town’s charter, a PID requires approval of the town’s registered voters and uses private bonds.

Moayedi said that Centurion will go before town council at their meeting on July 15 to formally request the election.

“The council will consider if the project is in the ‘best interest’ of the community,” said Stathatos. “And if so, is it a firm and complete agreement for a high-quality development that will attract people and guarantee that the town is protected.”

In addition, the question of funding a special election must be addressed.

“The price of holding a special election is around $6,000,” said Stathatos.

A non-governmental special election involving a ‘private’ request, like from a developer in the River Walk example, will sometimes be funded by a third party to keep it impartial, but that decision will ultimately be decided by the town council.

The dredging and building of the river area with retaining walls and a 14-foot waterfall amenity, plus additional infrastructure, will begin in August and should take six to eight months to complete. The development will break ground months prior to a possible special election and the November vote results.

A controversial proposal to create a Municipal Management District (MMD) to fund the improvements died in Austin on June 13—the last day of the 2013 Texas Legislature session.

“Both an MMD and PID function in the same way a residential HOA does, where the owners are aware of what the annual assessment fee will be before signing,” said Moayedi.

“The difference between the two is that with an MMD things are built to put a tax base in place and then private investor’s bonds are bought to achieve the total improvements. A PID means that a developer’s reputation is the basis used for private investors—banks, insurance companies or other kinds of large corporations—to get tax-free bonds. Once the bond improvement requirement is fulfilled, then only the assessments on the property owners continue.”

When asked what might happen should the PID not pass, he said that the town’s 2012 TIRZ #1 Capital Improvement Plan Budget designates $5 million for River Walk improvements, which would be used to help finance the water-related development.

Moayedi said he has every confidence about the PID passing.

“Centurion has 17 high-quality developments across Texas,” he said. “We have one in Grapevine and Trophy Club, as well as in Westlake. Also coming in to help with the commercial side of the development is Jeff Blackard who developed Adriatica, a similar project in McKinney.”

The idea of a Flower Mound River Walk development has a seven-year history and the next five months may determine if it has a future; or been “deep-sixed,” again.

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