With all the questions being bandied about town concerning the River Walk Project, I felt it would be a good idea to spend some private time with the man who will be at the helm of the multi-million dollar development that could become a major focal point for business and entertainment in Flower Mound and its environs.
Mehrdad Moayedi, President and CEO of Centurion American, is one of those people who feels so comfortable in his own skin that he has no reason to boast about his accomplishments, and, trust me, they are legion. With scores of completed and ongoing projects throughout Texas, he has a record of achievement that would be envied by anyone in the business. Yet, there’s no bluster about his decades of success and no arrogant display of wealth; just a humble assurance that he can do what he says he can do, and always has. Make no mistake about it, his reputation precedes him.
My wife Annette and I had the pleasure of his company for coffee and cake at our home on Sunday afternoon. During the two-hour casual chat we became more convinced than ever that the Town Council made a wise choice when they selected Mr. Moayedi to handle this inspired project. He began his career as a landscaper, mowing lawns, digging dirt and pouring cement. Almost 30 years later he was handling major deals like the Residences at Stoneleigh in Dallas, and about 80 other projects in other Texas markets. Born in Iran, he moved to the United States when he was 14 and became one of those American success stories we often read about. When he talks about his love of the free market principles on which this country was founded, his sincerity is palpable.
The property, located north of FM 1171, west of Morriss Road and east of FM 2499 is currently owned by the Baptist Foundation. This week, Centurion American will be closing on the purchase of the property in a $9.1 million transaction. Then, in August, the company will begin the dredging operation that will build a 6-foot deep, 3000 foot long river walk that will traverse the entire 158 acre complex. Expecting a completion by early next year, the River Walk has the potential to be a magnet that will attract restaurants and retail stores on both sides of the scenic landscape. That will mean shoppers in and outside of town will spend some of their sales tax dollars with us, instead of contributing to the revenue of other towns and cities. To achieve the charismatic appeal of this expansive endeavor, Mehrdad plans to add several attractive amenities, including fountains, an amphitheater, a multiplex movie theater and many other exciting features.
In order to make that happen he has requested that the Town Council call an election in November to let voters decide on the creation of a Public Improvement District (PID), allowing the developer to levy assessments on the River Walk property, which would be used for those elaborate improvements. Similar to an HOA, before moving into the premier development, residents and businesses would be apprised of and agree to the additional assessments. Additionally, it’s important to note that other town residents will not have their tax rate affected in any way. Moreover, the Town Council would still have the authority to oversee and rule on any components of the plan that may affect the town. Not only will the creation of a PID significantly improve the project by adding several quality enhancements, it will also reduce the amount of multi-family housing. Without those functional and visual attractions the River Walk area could become just another housing project, except that it will have a lot more housing in the form of about 500 more apartments.
If the Town Council votes next month to put it on the ballot in November, and, if the residents agree to the establishment of a PID, Centurion American could sell bonds to the tune of about $16 million. By law, that money is mandated for use on infrastructure costs. However, it will free up enough capital for the company to build the amenities that will become the icing on a very luxurious cake. Incidentally, this would not be the first time Mr. Moayedi sold bonds to help finance a project. Some of the most sophisticated investors in the state have risked millions on the strength of his reputation for honesty and reliability. That’s because those bondholders have always had their investment paid back, with interest. The result is that there are many satisfied investors waiting for a chance to invest again with a winner.
If past is indeed prologue; the River Walk will become a winner that will make us all proud to have it located in our town.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.