The Harker Heights City Council on Tuesday rezoned a 20-acre tract of land bordering Clore Road, Indian Trail and Lookout Ridge Boulevard for mixed-use development.
Developers Chris Doose, Patrick Kern and Stacie Dishon tentatively plan to complete a townhouse and small business complex on the property by the end of 2016.
Pending council approval of a concept plan and plat, land-clearing could begin this summer, Doose said.
Bluewater Assets and J-Cat Development are partnering on the multimillion-dollar project, dubbed East Rim in the Heights, Kern said.
Doose will build 105 new townhomes and garden homes, along with business and office space geared toward local investment, he said. The homes will cost $150,000 to $200,000, with the more expensive homes overlooking a creek.
With this development, Doose wanted to split from the local neighborhood trend of big houses, yards and streets, and facilitate a more condensed, walkable, urban-based lifestyle, he said.
“New urbanism is the new national philosophy,” Doose said. “Basically, it says that not everybody wants huge yards and homes, and big, 36-foot-wide boulevards.”
East Rim will feature 5-foot-wide tree-lined sidewalks, 22-foot-wide roads and a green belt, Doose said.
Six-year Heights resident Jeff Starnes said he liked the idea of including parkland in new developments. “Some (nature) needs to stay here,” he said.
The concept has already gotten high interest from local retirees hoping to downsize their homes, as well as Fort Hood soldiers from New York and New Jersey who find Doose’s concept familiar to the areas where they grew up, Doose said.
But not everyone supports the plan. Peter Loecken, who has lived in Heights for 51 years, said construction would bring only temporary jobs, and the new businesses would hire a limited number of employees. “It won’t bring in a store that more than 100 people will work at,” Loecken said.
But Doose said one of the advantages of his “boutique-sized” shopping center was that it wouldn’t attract big-box tenants and will help grow local business.
“The money will stay here,” Doose said.