But.......let's get the kissy face "stuff" done first.
As I reported earlier, I like this project. I think this project, or something very nearly like this project, is just what downtown Rowlett needs. Is it a solution to all that is needed downtown? No, but it's a very good start. Like Carl Pankratz, I wish there was more commercial development, but like Doug Phillips, we need to "jump start" the downtown area. The nature of the project is residential. That will bring people into the downtown area. Anywhere there is an accumulation of people, there will be other businesses gravitating there to fulfill their needs. This could be anything that caters to other people.....restaurants, cleaners, bars, convenience stores, etc. The city has guaranteed a library presence downtown. Between the library and the apartments, both a daytime and a nighttime population will need to be served. The presence of the Villages and the library will create a minimum of 500 more people a day present in the area. Clearly, that will create needs for other businesses. Occupants of the apartments will come primarily from "move ins" from out of town. They will be attracted by a number of features, not the least of which would be a casual small town atmosphere with easy access to metroplex employment opportunities. This is a Transit Oriented Development (TOD).
The DART station is within walking distance of the general development. If other "right" businesses are developed, downtown can become a "destination" entertainment area. If so, DART would accommodate any other rail users in the metro area if rail transportation is easily available to Rowlett. However, this type of development will require talent, business savvy, and experience. I am not sure we have this in Rowlett. Rowlett Staff must be business friendly. However, I do have confidence in the business world. I think business acumen should prevail over "inimaginativeness" (if that's a word). If not, "bureaucratic drab" should do.
I have visited the websites of the two "partners" of the city in this endeavor. Of course, all businesses put their best foot forward in these webpages. Our two new partners seem to be quite capable of settling the middle east problem single handedly. All they have to do is redevelop the middle east. According to their websites, they have done some impressive work. I think they are probably legitimate. I have some friends in the banking world that will know them.
So........at this juncture, I like the project. I think its what we need. I also like the developers. Altho I don't have any personal knowledge of them, I know some of the projects they have worked on and I know some of the companies that they associate with in conducting their business. Like all projects, some have been more successful than others. But......taken in total, they seem to have a good track record.
So, we have a good project, in my opinion, and we have a good developer, also in my opinion. What's left? Rowlett's involvement and risk. What is Rowlett's role and investment and how safe is the investment. What are the downsides? That's what the following posts will address. There are some very good questions, and it gets a little complicated. We may not get all the answers that I think you need. If not, the blame will be laid directly at the feet of City Council. They are the ones you elected to manage your money and assets. This includes people via the City Manager that are hired to serve the interests of the city. The City Manager is the responsibility of the City Council. Any consultants are the responsibility of the City Council. The City Council has a fuduciary responsibility to the citizens of Rowlett. The fiduciary responsibility can never be acceptably broken.
Remember the name Lynda Humboldt. It will come up in the next post.