At some point this morning, Anna will be along with her account of last night's Sylvan Thirty town hall, which, by all accounts, was civil enough. After that, you probably won't read much about the proposed mixed-use development catty-corner from the Belmont, where the old Alamo Plaza Hotel Courts once stood, till early October, when developer Brent Jackson and his legal reps will take their rezoning proposal to the City Plan Commission for the first time. Perhaps by then, the dust-up over its design will have settled.
But what then? That's the question asked by several sources familiar with the project, all of whom insist that at present, Jackson has a bit of a "funding gap" when it comes to funding the $47-million-or-so project. Some put that figure at $4 million; others, closer to $9 million.
Before last night's town hall, Jackson confirmed: He is short by some; how much, he'd prefer not to say at the moment. "It's a critical amount," he acknowledges. "It really is critical." Which is why he will ask the city to kick in some money toward the project, perhaps from the Fort Worth Avenue TIF or in the form of other economic development incentives.
"We will require city funding and city assistance for this project, and we are confident in our discussions with the city we will reach an agreement in order to accomplish to move it forward," he tells Unfair Park. "Those conversations are still taking place. You have to run parallel paths [at City Hall], and alongside zoning it's: What does the city funding look like? I can't comment on the details yet."
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Neither can Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development.
"We're absolutely interested in the revival of the Fort Worth Avenue area, and are in conversations with the developer," he says. "This is an important project, and we hope we'll have a successful outcome."
For now, of course, Sylvan Thirty remains a barren, scraped-down corner, save for the pile of bricks that were once the Alamo. Jackson insists it will not stay that way for long, and that sooner than later Cox Farms Market and those restaurants and apartments and retailers will fill in the nothing that's there now. When we spoke yesterday, he said he'd been out of the office all day having "great talks" with businesses interested in leasing space.
"We expect to break ground by the end of this year," he insists "And we anticipate having our grocer and retail open for business by fall 2012."