Market Street, restaurants eye spot next to Mansfield High

(February 13, 2017)

A new Market Street grocery store, affordable apartments and converting U.S. 287 into an interstate highway dominated Monday’s City Council meeting.

Market Street could be coming to town

An 80,000-square-foot Market Street could anchor a new shopping center east of Mansfield High School at East Broad Street and Cannon Drive.

The proximity to the high school makes it tricky, though, because city ordinance prohibits the sale of alcohol within 300 feet of a school.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the zoning change for the project on first reading with Councilwoman Wendy Burgess casting the dissenting vote. It returns for second reading Feb. 27.

Councilman Cory Hoffman requested that the individual tenants come to the council for permission to sell alcohol so they can control who locates there.

Will Tolliver, managing director for retail at Leon Capital Group, the developer for the project, said he would prefer a blanket approval for the site but it’s not an unreasonable request.

In addition to the grocery store, Leon Capital Group is in talks with tenants such as Raising Cane’s, Zoey’s Kitchen and Wells Fargo to occupy pad sites.

There will be two sit-down restaurant sites that will have patios and will likely sell alcohol for on-site consumption, too. There’s also a high-end pet store and pediatric dentist interested in locating there.

The northwest corner of the project will have a park and covered patio for people to gather.
When fully built out, the project could add $60 million to the tax rolls plus another $10 million in business taxes per year.

“We’re getting some pretty great activity on who wants to be here,” Tolliver said.

Mayor David Cook said he wants to prohibit sports bars and restaurants with provocatively dressed staff.. He also limited it to two fast-food restaurants.

Councilman Darryl Haynes grilled Tolliver about why they should allow alcohol sales in proximity to the school.

“I’m going to get 100 phone calls about this next week,” Haynes said.

First, Tolliver said there will be a buffer and grade separation between the school and shopping center.

“We’re creating multiple layer of separation between us and the school,” he said.

Plus, the high-end restaurants won’t locate in the center if they can’t sell alcohol, he said.

“All of those guys sell beer and wine because their margins are so impacted by food that they’ve got to make it up somewhere else,” Tolliver said.

Cook agreed that the proximity shouldn’t be an issue.

That stretch of East Broad Street has become a magnet for grocery stores with the Kroger already there, the proposed Market Street and plans for an H.E.B. at the intersection with U.S. 287.

Whole Foods has been trying to get to Mansfield for 10 years and was once interested in the site where the Kroger located, Tolliver said.

This article originally appeared in Star-Telegram on February 13, 2017.