Arboretum Village rendering

It’s not simply $1 million to guarantee a Fresh Market grocery store, though the city is fairly sure the North Carolina-based grocer will wind up anchoring the project. What the city wants, according to Office of Economic Development assistant director Hammond Perot, is to “make a major improvement.”

We asked if the $1 million grant, if city council approves it today,  is a standard grant awarded to developers investing a certain amount of money on a project in Dallas.

“I don’t know that I’d ever classify anything as standard,” Perot says. “We look at each one of the projects as what is it accomplishing. They all have to stand on their own merits.”

In the case of the Arboretum Village project at Gaston-Garland-Grand, Lincoln is “making substantial improvements to a nearly 80,000-square-foot shopping center,” Perot says. The city council agenda item (on page 5 of this PDF) notes that “for years the shopping center has been underutilized. Recent tenants included a bingo parlor and a dance hall.” (Not sure we ever thought of Far West as a dance hall. It sounds a bit too nostalgic and quaint.)

The fact that Lincoln relocated the former tenants, including moving the YMCA at White Rock across the street “where it will continue to serve families in the neighborhood,” and is attracting new tenants such as Fresh Market by pouring millions of dollars into the site (at least $10 million by Dec. 31, 2015, if Lincoln wants to ensure its $1 million from the city) made the developer eligible for the grant, Perot says.

Another contingency for the grant money is that Lincoln opens a grocery tenant of at least 15,000 square feet by Dec. 31, 2014. Will it definitely be Fresh Market?

“Until they move in, I guess anything can happen, but I think that’s what’s it’s going to be,” Perot says. “They could have brought us another grocery store, but they had secured a lease with Fresh Market.”

It was suggested by Advocate president Rick Wamre a few months ago that Lincoln ask the city for money, though he was hoping it would be for a mixed-use (retail and residential) project. It’s not an uncommon request from developers, Perot says, estimating the Office of Economic Development receives such requests from “98 percent of the ones that do projects of a certain type.”

Lincoln’s blueprints for the Arboretum Village project show space for two junior anchors, one 15,000 square feet and one 20,000. At the north end of the strip is 6,000 square feet for a restaurant; at the south end is 14,600 square feet for a pharmacy. Another four spaces for restaurants and retails stores — the largest at 7,500 square feet — are shown in what is currently the parking lot.

Watch a slideshow of renderings from Lincoln’s website below.

[portfolio_slideshow id=56875]

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