By Mason W. Canales

Killeen Daily Herald

HARKER HEIGHTS - The City Council on Tuesday gave the city manager the power to negotiate deals for a hospital to be constructed in the city limits.

Councilman John Reider led a motion authorizing city manager Steve Carpenter to negotiate terms of an economic development agreement for a hospital that would be located on 22 acres of land adjacent to Rosewood Retirement Community.

This action will allow the city to move forward with LHP Hospital Group, a private for-profit hospital company that wants to construct a facility in the city, Carpenter said.

The hospital would be a 75-bed facility with 40,000 to 50,000 square feet of medical office space, Carpenter said. He said it would provide about 300 jobs in the area, including doctors, nurses and other staff.

Construction cost is planned at $100 million, he added.

LHP has stated it hoped to break ground by Dec. 1 and open the facility by mid-2012.

"If successful, they have plans to expand," Carpenter said.

Closed meetings have been held for months, laying the framework for the negations. But Tuesday's motion will allow the city to seek negotiations from other government organizations, Carpenter said.

Reider's motion also allows the ability "to make requests to other local taxing jurisdictions to offer additional abatements and incentives."

Harker Heights is familiar with economic development agreements to spur growth. It created one to help bring Market Heights to the city in 2008.

The Market Heights agreement is a performance-based deal with Direct Development, the developer of the shopping center, Carpenter said in a previous Herald article. Direct Development would receive a half a cent of the city's 1.5 cents of sales tax earned from the center. It would also get 50 percent of the property tax revenue the center generated.

Direct Development could receive a maximum of $3 million over a span of five years if it meets the terms of the agreement, Carpenter said previously.

The shopping center has generated about $2 million a year for the city, and the city has paid just more than $686,000 in the two fiscal years it has been open, Carpenter said.

Also on Tuesday night, the council:

Tabled a decision about a 12-home planned development at the end of Arrowhead Lane at the top of the hill that overlooks Market Heights.

Amended the rural one-family dwelling district in the city's code of ordinances.

Approved a negotiated resolution between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Corp., Mid-Tex Division regarding the company's third-rate review mechanism.

Designated certain officials as being responsible for, acting for, and on behalf of the city in dealing with the United States Olympic Committee, certifying the city is eligible to receive grant funding for the dedicated use of the adaptive sports program.

Contact Mason W. Canales at or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at kdhheights.

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