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FM Council approves River Walk amendments

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river walk_conceptdrawing2Town council officials heard an update on the River Walk at Central Park, which is currently under construction between Morriss Road and FM 2499 north of FM 1171, and approved all but one of the amendments requiring rezoning.

As one of two major mixed-use developments currently being built in Flower Mound, the River Walk has been projected as an entertainment mecca with the town’s first hotel, an amphitheater, chapel, restaurants along the river, a farmer’s market, public art, a town museum, retail, medical, residential and more. The project will feature water falls and pedestrian bridges with a row of restaurants offering dining right by the river.

The original plans from 2008 showed 6- to 12-story buildings with up to 13 automated four-story parking garages – creating an urban environment.The original concept also included about 1,718 housing units and was proposed to be 2,011,596 square feet with 630,396 retail/restaurant, 1.08 million office, 299,670 medical office, 1,016 apartments, 557 senior living units and 145 town homes along with a 639-room hotel and a 100-bed hotel.

An updated version of the project was unveiled during a request for a public improvement district in August 2013 by Centurion American, which showed a scaled-down version of the original proposal, which included an estimated 1 million square feet less in retail and office space, town officials said.

The current proposed plan shows 271,321 square feet of retail, 207,260 square feet of office space, and 283,400 square feet of medical, a 125-bed hotel. The project also now includes 358 apartments, 263 town homes, 97 villas and 225 senior living units. The current total square footage of the project is 761,981 square feet. The town homes will be priced around $400,000.

Changes between when the PID was proposed and the current plan shows an additional 771 square feet of retail, an additional 69,260 square feet of office space, a reduction of 16,270 square feet in medical office space, 77 more hotel beds, 25 fewer senior living units and an additional 81 town homes. The difference in square footage is a reduction of an estimated 46,239 square feet in the current plan than in 2013.

About 28 changes to the current project reflect adjustments to the August 2013 proposal including an additional 2,416 square feet of non-residential area and about 200 fewer apartments than the original 2008 approved plan. Other changes include re-arranging streets to accommodate better traffic flow and to allow the river-level restaurant atmosphere as well as cosmetic changes such as roofing tiles and signage. A proposed senior living area will now only offer independent living options with a memory care facility removed from the plans.

“This has been a project that’s been evolving,” said Mehrdad Moayedi, president and CEO of Centurion American. At least 11 to 12 restaurants will be along the River Walk, he said, adding they were talking to several specialty restaurants in the region.

“The zoning that was in place in 2008 was too dense,” he said. “We’re interested in doing a quality project.”

Two residents not involved directly with the project spoke during the public hearing in favor of the project while three indicated they were displeased with the proposed River Walk compared to what had been earlier promised.

Council member Steve Dixon said the version of the proposed River Walk at Central Park he believed most important was the one proposed for the 2013 PID election – rather than an earlier version. Several questions centered around proposed turn lanes and their placement. The council voted to table the one amendment.

“I still think this is going to be exceptional,” said Council member Bryan Webb. “It’s going to be one of those little secrets that not everyone is going to know about.”

Mayor Tom Hayden queried the placement of 25 town homes on the west side, asking the developer to reconsider using the area as commercial.

“We want to finish,” Moayedi said, adding they had invested time and money into the project. The developer indicated he would be building the retail and will own it, leasing to other entities. “We have a lot of our own money tied into this.”

Moayedi said he was confident the project would draw people. “We’ll get people here because of the amenities we’re putting in. … We’re a destination point.

“I’m really proud of the River Walk,” he said.

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