Rosewood Drive’s extension to U.S. Highway 190 will improve traffic flow and increase safety, but it also could lead to more commercial growth.
“One of the things you see any time there are road improvements is an increase in retail business,” said Ken Roberts, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Nine years ago, before U.S. 190’s frontage roads were widened, car dealerships and a Putt-Putt minigolf course were the only things along Central Texas Expressway between Stan Schlueter Loop and W.S. Young Drive, Roberts said. Once the improvements were finished, that changed.
“Almost immediately things started to come in,” he said.
Restaurants, big box stores and other retail stores now line the area.
As a new north-south route, Rosewood Drive will add another major intersection between Stan Schlueter and Farm-to-Market 2410.
In 2012, an average of 32,000 vehicles per day traveled through the Stan Schlueter-Central Texas Expressway intersection and about 28,000 traveled through the Farm-to-Market 2410-CTE interchange, according to a TxDOT study.
The Rosewood extension will give greater access to about 99 acres of undeveloped land south of U.S. 190, according to Bell County Tax Appraisal District maps. Three lots make up the acreage and together are valued at about $1.7 million for taxing purposes.
More than 66 acres are on to the east side of the new roadway, and 33 acres are on Rosewood’s west side. However, a flood plain and two creek beds run through a portion of the area. The land is zoned residential, according to the Killeen zoning maps, but it could be developed into something else and flood issues could be addressed through engineering, said Tony McIlwain, a Killeen city planner. Owners can request zoning changes at any time.
“If a property is attractive enough, it is going to be developed,” McIlwain said. “I think this roadway is going to open up that property. I believe, going forward, it will become a benefit for the city.”
With the exception of what will become the corner lot of Central Texas Expressway and Rosewood, the undeveloped land surrounding Rosewood is owned by KNC Associates, the tax appraisal district said.
A KNC representative declined to comment on the roadway or how the property may develop.
The city’s future land-use plan, which provides guidance on how things could be zoned, shows the properties surrounding the Rosewood project south of U.S. 190 as a suburban commercial area.
The properties abut an existing residential area, and McIlwain anticipates anything from intense retail development to mixed-use to more residential-convenience businesses building on the land.
It isn’t uncommon for commercial development to follow road improvements, Roberts said. Improvements often mean easier and safer traffic patterns with increased access, and commercial developers want to take advantage of that, he added.
A recent example is the intersection of Interstate 35 and South Loop 363 in Temple, Roberts said. Before the roadways were improved, there was a small strip center and a Luby’s restaurant.
Now, there is a major retail site anchored by Target on one corner, a Starbucks with a larger strip mall on another, and a several other businesses.
“I think the potential may be less than Stan Schlueter but more than (FM 2410),” McIlwain said.