Sunday, May 19, 2024

Hillwood buys Corral City

The new owner of Corral City — formerly known as Draper, which was formerly known as Corral City — is making improvements and raising the standard for the tiny town near Argyle.

Hillwood, the developer of Harvest and Pecan Square, recently bought all 100 acres of Corral City — located at the southwest corner of FM 407 and I-35W — in a move to expand the company’s growth along the I-35W corridor.

“We looked at it with the map of everything we own, it was like the center of the doughnut of our land,” said Mark Miller, senior vice president of retail development at Hillwood. “It made sense to add it … This is just part of the strategic land holdings for Hillwood.”

Miller declined to say how much it cost, but Hillwood now owns the land and all the existing businesses in Corral City, which include a gas station, convenience store, liquor store and RV park. The tiny town still has a mayor and four aldermen. Miller said Hillwood is making upgrades to the facilities, buildings and landscaping to “bring it up to Hillwood standards.”

Mayor Jamie Harris said that was likely another reason why Hillwood wanted to buy Corral City’s land and businesses, because the previous owners — who she said were Hollywood producers, the Scotty brothers — “didn’t really do anything to upgrade or maintain the property.”

“It was very ill-kept, and it was kind of becoming an eyesore next two nice housing communities,” Harris said. “Hillwood has done a lot to upgrade it … The first thing they did after buying it was getting it to look like Hillwood owned it.”

Corral City Town Hall

Miller said Hillwood bought the land without a specific plan for what to do with it. Right now, Hillwood is focused on the future Harvest Town Center, which will have a grocery store, other retail, restaurants and high density residential units directly across FM 407 from Corral City. Harris said only 12 of the town’s 100 acres are being utilized right now.

“We’re only just now discussing what we could conceptually put there (in Corral City),” Miller said.

Before Hillwood bought the land, Miller said the process of another name change had already begun. The town of Corral City was formed in 1973 to get around Denton County’s liquor laws, and the name was changed in 2016 in honor of former mayor and owner James “Eddie” Draper. Less than four years later, the town changed the name back to Corral City.

“It’s very hard to change a city’s name and have it stick,” Harris said. “The marketing for Corral City was important, and I guess it’s more difficult to market a town called Draper. Corral City has some Texas flair to it.”

Harris said the town functions like many other Texas town governments and has not had any issues with Hillwood, unlike the land’s previous owners.

“The Scotty brothers were under the impression that because they owned the property, they could have a say in the government function, whereas Hillwood knows to follow all the correct protocols,” she said. “They’re so careful about how they do business … Hillwood has been super easy to work with.”

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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