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Commercial project a possibility

by | Aug 26, 2022 | Area news, Latest

Farmersville is slated to become home to a new light- and heavy-industrial project on the east side of the city, but the project has yet to take form, City Manager Ben White said in a presentation to city council.

The city is working closely with the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board to develop a project referred to colloquially as Project Prairie Dog, which White said received the name as a light-hearted recommendation from Paula Jackson, his administrative assistant.

“As you know,” White told the council at its Aug. 9 regular meeting, “there are no prairie dogs in Farmersville.”

Project Prairie Dog is being proposed along the Kansas City Southern rail line to receive construction of commercial property on 66.4 acres, with an additional 25 acres being used to facilitate existing structures on the property owned by Advanced Fixtures Inc., which White said, “is likely to want to expand its operations out there.”

The site is at the industrial park next to Advanced Fixtures.

“We don’t know what is going on out there just yet,” White said, adding that TIRZ is considering a series of infrastructure improvements for the property. They include roads, water and sewer service for the development.

He said, “there’s not a timeline established just yet” for when work on the project will begin or when it will finish.

The proposed project lies within the TIRZ boundary, which gives the board jurisdiction to decide which way to proceed with infrastructure improvements.

“It’s going to be up to the developer on when to start,” White said.

TIRZ officials will have to decide on how to reimburse the developer for money to be spent on roads, water and sewer, White said, adding that TIRZ could issue bonds to be financed with revenue generated by the appreciation developed within the TIRZ district.

At issue is a project that includes seven structures totaling about one million square feet. The project includes three existing buildings, according to White: The Commercial Metal Company building totals 69,619 square feet on 6.01 acres; Advanced Fixtures Inc.’s structure includes 95,268 square feet on 13.65 acres; and the secondary AFI building includes 15,600 square feet on 4.78 acres.

The developer, Gary Pickens, wants to build seven new structures totaling 997,500 square feet on 66.41 acres.

TIRZ is considering infrastructure projects totaling $2.6 million. They include 3,906 feet of internal streets; an internal water distribution system involving 2,407 feet of pipe; and an internal wastewater system involving 7,209 feet of pipe.

White said the city would provide infrastructure and vertical improvements at a cost of approximately $1.5 million in bonds.

According to White’s report, the developer “receives repayment for TIRZ-approved infrastructure when the infrastructure is accepted by the city and the total amount of vertical improvements as stated on the certified tax roll develops 1.2 times the revenue to support the associated bond.”

Before the project proceeds, White said, TIRZ must decide to go ahead and then instruct the city manager to develop a new project and financial plan. It must create a TIRZ development agreement and then it can investigate lengthening the TIRZ term.

White acknowledged that the plan is a long way from taking final form, but he told council the proposed development presents the city with a potential “big deal” as it seeks to broaden its tax base.

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