As heavy trucks moved back and forth across the 53-acre Midlothian Towne Crossing development in Midlothian, city and development leaders were envisioning a successful shopping destination.
Kroger's Midlothian Marketplace officially broke ground Tuesday morning. Mayor Bill Houston, Chamber of Commerce president Cammy Jackson, executive vice president of Webber and Company John Webber Jr. and Kroger distinct manager Bethany Blankmeyer were among the project managers and leaders on hand to turn of the symbolic dirt marking the start of the project.
The Kroger development marks a different type of development for the city, but one that is needed in the city, Houston said.
“We like to try to maintain a rural attitude here,” he said. “We don't have malls, but Kroger and this development will be a shopping destination center.”
The development will be located on the southeast corner of Farm-to-Market Road 663, also know at 9th Street, and U.S. Highway 287, down the street from Harvest Hill Church. The first phase of the development including all the infrastructure, road and Kroger will cost between $40 million and $45 million. Kroger should be set to open it's doors in the spring or summer of 2017.
Besides Kroger, Webber said the company is looking to create the accompanying shopping center with other sought after stores. Petco, Ulta cosmetics, Ross, Chick-Fil-A and a shoe store are among the stores that have either been approved by the development's committee and are just waiting for buildings to go up before signing a lease. The next group on the developer's invitation list is sit down type restaurants, he said, but many will wait until after the retail stores are open or at least committed before signing up.
But once the wave starts, Webber said he doesn't anticipate it slowing unless something happens to the economy. This development is a first of other developments he sees coming to the area, Webber said.
“I believe we have changed Dallas developers' perspective of Midlothian. We have people driving down each day to look around,” he said.
But seeing the Midlothian Towne Crossing development to progress this far is rewarding, he said, given the tough job the firm had to handle.
When Kroger first approached the Webbers asking to find a location in Midlothian, the Webbers showed them several open, flat spots around the town, Webber said. But Kroger management decided the corner was where they wanted to build the store. But that was in the middle of a neighborhood built in the 1970s.
“I had friends who lived over here,” Houston said. “I talked to Webber and told him he would have to buy all those homes. On a Sunday, he went door to door talking to the homeowners. I talked with him on Tuesday and he said he had bought half of the houses.”
Eventually, all the homeowners agreed to sell and most relocated in the city of Midlothian, Webber said. The easements, TxDOT roads, and drainage were just a few of the other issues that had to be overcome, he said.
“On a scale of one to 10, this project was an 11 to get done,” he said. “We are thrilled to be here.”
Kroger is looking forward to opening the new story and serving the community, Blankmeyer said, and the Midlothian culture will be the reason.
“As I was meeting people, I could tell we are going to be successful here because I felt like family,” she said. “We are thrilled to able to offer the community a great shopping opportunity.”
The store will offer fresh foods, a full pharmacy, a natural food department as well as bringing new jobs to the community.
The first phase of the shopping center is scheduled for completion a few months after Kroger opens, a typical timeline for these types of developments, Webber said.
Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.