COPPERAS COVE — The City Council on Thursday approved rezoning a portion of the Five Hills shopping center to make way for a proposed 240-unit apartment complex.
Nearly 14 acres of the 127-acre proposed retail site, which is being anchored by an H-E-B Plus, can now feature an apartment complex, as the council rezoned the space from a commercial zoning designation to a multifamily dwelling district.
“We are going to be giving away about 10 percent of the land,” said Councilman Jim Schmitz, who voiced concerns that the property should remain a prime retail site. “Apparently, that shopping center is not filling up as fast as (the developer) would like it to be.”
Filling such a large site with nothing but retail in a community that doesn’t have a similar type of facilities could take a decade, said David Campbell, a representative from Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate, which is developing the property.
By adding the apartment complex, the developer believes it is creating front doors on both ends of the site, one on the future Robert Griffin III Boulevard where H-E-B is located and the other at Constitution Drive and Old Copperas Cove Road where the 14 acres was rezoned, he said.
“We see this site as a dumbbell site,” Campbell said. “This apartment complex will activate the second side.”
By placing the complex at the second entrance to the shopping center, retailers will fill the development from both sides instead of just from one, Campbell said.
He said Endeavor Real Estate will invest in the construction of the apartment complex but it has partnered with Austin-based Oden Hughes LLC, a multifamily real estate firm, to build the living area.
“It will be a first-rate community,” said Mac McElwrath, with Oden Hughes.
When the council questioned how it knew it would be getting a good apartment complex that will last for years, McElwarth said the initial plan is to develop eight, three-story buildings with up to 240 apartments.
The complex would be gated with heavy green space, plenty of parking, recreation areas for tenants and masonry and decorative boards for the buildings’ facades, McElwarth said. He estimated that rent would run between $700 and $1,500 based on the area’s apartment market values.
“What intrigued us with this site is not only the blend with the retail ... but all the need (in the community),” McElwarth said, noting the last apartment complex constructed in the city was more than 6 years old.
Endeavor Real Estate already purchased about 73 acres of the property, which is already under development, and it is under contract with the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation to purchase the rest of the proposed Five Hills site to include the 14 acres that were rezoned.
The corporation made the request to rezone the property, and Endeavor still plans on purchasing the remainder of the acreage, said Polo Enriquez, the EDC’s executive director.
The EDC board also supported placing the apartment complex on the property.