By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Harker Heights seems about to burst with new commercial enterprises, but "about" is the key word.
Announcements are expected this week from several sources, but information is purposely vague because people say they want to be sure.
A focal point of speculation is the projected Market Heights commercial development – shopping center or whatever it might become – between Farm-to-Market 2410 and Indian Trail on the north side of U.S. Highway 190.
"We may hear an announcement about that in the next couple of weeks," said Harker Heights City Manager Steve Carpenter. "It's probably our next big thing."
Rumors around town mention the name "Target" a lot, but Carpenter emphasizes those are just rumors. However, the possibility of a Walgreens drug store was rumored for a long time, and then city leaders were sure it was coming for about a year while Walgreens corporate officials said they knew of no such pending project here. Now a 14,800-square-foot store is under construction on FM 2410 south of U.S. Highway 190 with an opening expected in summer 2007.
At any rate, nothing is known for sure about Market Heights unless it's known by key players keeping it close to their chests.
Quite a bit more sure is the pending arrival of a branch of Union State Bank, because officials have moved a double-wide mobile building to a site on the east side of 2410 across from the pending Walgreens.
Bank president Coleen Beck said it should open, offering full services, in middle to late September.
A permanent building will be constructed later on adjoining land, but she said the bank does not know yet how big it will be.
"The footprint is 10,000 square feet, but we don't know yet how many floors we're looking at," she said. The building might have tenants, and a developer has been working on feasibility studies for a few adjacent acres for possible use as office or retail space.
Another rumor concerns the arrival of a National Banks of Texas branch. Senior Vice President Brian Townley said the board of directors confirmed that the bank has bought some land in the city but hasn't decided how it will be used. He referred any further questions to Ken Poston, executive vice president and comptroller, who would only confirm what Townley said.
Another sure thing is Gentle Touch Dentistry at 500 Central Texas Expressway, which will be a branch or a successor to the clinic of the same name operated by Dr. Vida Tahmoresi at 2501 S. W.S. Young Drive in Killeen. The curved wooden frame of the building currently looks down on the highway east of 2410.
Dr. Tahmoresi, who has practiced in Killeen for six years, was not ready to say how many or what kind of dentists would occupy the new building but said he hopes to open some time between January and March of next year.
Jim Wright said a little more than half of the 17 suites in his Shops at Modoc west of Wal-Mart are rented, but he could not release names without authority. He said the lineup includes a cleaners and a few retail stores including a women's accessory shop. The project is a 21,000-square-foot center with an entrance from 190 and two from Modoc Drive. Wright hopes everything will be ready in the fall.
Carpenter and other city officials say a lot of commercial construction is under consideration to match the rapidly-growing residential community.
"A lot of options are waiting to be exercised in the whole western Bell County area," Carpenter said. "We're in a very good position right now because metropolitan areas are becoming saturated, and developers from Houston, Fort Worth and other places are looking at secondary markets like us.
"A great deal of activity is going to get here. But we have to know for sure before we talk about it."
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org