Sep 26

Shopping Center Developers say talks with Retailers going well

Developers of a new shopping center here say they are receiving positive responses from major retailers about opening stores there.

Kenneth Katz of Houston-based developer Baker Katz said the company is “actively negotiating with a number of major retailers and working through a lot of details with them.”

Baker Katz is developing 35 acres at the intersection of Chappell Hill Street and U.S. 290 access roads, planning to construct a 200,000 square-foot shopping center there.

Katz said that no lease agreements have been finalized.

“Retailers are so sensitive to any information getting out about their plans until they’re finalized,” he said. “But the response has been very good.

“Brenham is a market that I think a lot of major retailers have had some degree of interest in. As the market continues to mature and develop, that level of interest has continued to increase.

“Retailers are pleased to see that this site represents an opportunity to them, given its proximity to all the major retail that’s already at the intersection of (U.S.) 290 and (Highway) 36.”

Site work has been underway for several months.

“We are moving a lot of dirt,” said Katz. “In order to get it into condition where it can be developed, we’ve got some topography issues that we have to work through.

“So it’ll take a number of months to get the site in a condition where we can really start building on it.”

There will be periods, he said, when no work will be done on the site.

“We’ve got an extensive amount of fill (work), where we have to put extra dirt. And those areas need to rest for a period of months while that dirt settles and compacts and gets to a point where you can build on it,” said Katz. “There will be a period of time when the dirt work just stops and nothing happens on the site for months.”

The city of Brenham and Washington County commissioners agreed to a portion of their sales tax revenues from businesses in the new shopping center, up to $6 million over a 12-year period, to the developer.

The city has also agreed to about $2 million in infrastructure and traffic improvements.

The agreement includes a July 1, 2021 deadline for Baker Katz to present a “certificate of occupancy” for its first tenant. A certain percentage of tenants must be considered national retailers.

Katz said development is “very much in line with our expectations.”

By Arthur Hahn
The Banner-Press
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