It was almost three years ago that my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Mehrdad Moayedi, President and CEO of Centurion American, the real estate development company that has been commissioned to build the River Walk in Flower Mound. He was a guest for coffee and cake at our home as he talked about his plans for a project that could become a major focal point for business and entertainment in North Texas.
For all of his myriad accomplishments, he came across as a very humble man. 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.
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 unmistakable.
The River Walk property; located north of FM 1171, west of Morriss Road and east of FM 2499 was formerly owned by the Baptist Foundation. In 2013, Centurion American purchased the 158 acre complex and began the dredging operation that will build a 6-foot deep, 3,000 foot long river walk that will span the entire acreage.
When completed, 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 wedding chapel and many other exciting features.
In order to make that happen, the Town Council called an election in November 2013 to allow voters to 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.
The voters spoke positively about the idea when they passed the PID, permitting Centurion American to sell bonds to the tune of about $16 million. By law, that money was mandated for use on infrastructure costs. However, it was able to free up enough capital for the company to build those amenities which will become the icing on a very luxurious cake. Keep in mind that the town still has control over the money and how it’s being dispersed. That means the developer must meet certain criteria in phases of the process in order to receive the money.
Recently, I invited Mr. Moayedi to come over for another interview, including a video, to update residents on the progress of this magnificent enterprise. I hope the accompanying video will answer some of the questions residents have about the current and future state of this premier development.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.