Stephenville has attracted the interest of yet another big box retailer looking to expand its market.
On Tuesday, city councilors will welcome representatives from Mooresville, North Carolina-based Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. who will present the company’s site design for a proposed store in Stephenville, said City Administrator Mark Kaiser.
City staff has drafted an economic development incentive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which Kaiser says is a non-binding agreement between the city of Stephenville and Lowe’s to begin the corporation’s process of acquiring a site for construction.
“We’ll have a presentation from representatives of Lowe’s and hear their requests for economic development incentives as spelled out in the MOU,” Kaiser said on Friday. “At that point we’ll take it under advisement and consideration.”
In an effort to attract the home improvement retailer, Kaiser says the city will look to provide economic development incentives and possibly enter into a sales tax sharing agreement tied to the actual costs of constructing new roads, a water detention facility and other associated costs for site preparation.
“The site development cost for the site are excessive due to the need to reconstruct Wolfe Nursery Road, install a regional detention pond, relocate a creek, prepare the site properly and other site and market related issues related to the development of a Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse (store),” states the MOU. “Lowe’s desires economic development incentives from the city to justify placing a store on the site.”
The site Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. has eyed is located within the city limits on US Hwy. 377, on property located across from Chili’s Bar & Grill, said Kaiser. If the retailer chooses to construct a store in Stephenville, an entrance to the property could be extended from the existing Wolfe Nursery Road and US Hwy. 377 intersection.
If approved by the council, the MOU will contractually bind the city to provide incentives to Lowe’s and set forth the material business terms upon which Lowe’s will rely in pursuing the acquisition of the site for the potential development of a store.
Kaiser said Lowe’s representatives may provide detailed plans for a future Stephenville store, including store size and design, and says the presentation is only the beginning of discussions to bring the retailer to town.
“This is not a done deal just yet. The MOU is only an agreement between the city and Lowe’s,” Kaiser said.
The MOU released last week says the city and Lowe’s agrees to, if approved by councilors, “Expedite the construction and development permitting process so it will conclude no more than 45 days after the submission of complete construction plans, assuming the submitted plans and specifications comply with the city’s building codes and regulations and that Lowe’s contractors, architect, engineer promptly respond to city staff questions and requests.”
The MOU also states, both parties will “expedite the approval and signature to a final binding Economic Development Incentive Agreement with Lowe’s by no later than 60 days from the approval of this MOU.”
According to information posted on the company’s Web site, Lowe’s reported sales of $48.3 billion in fiscal year 2007 and was listed as a Fortune(r) 50 company that serves approximately 14 million customers per week at more than 1,525 home improvement stores in the United States and Canada.
The company, which was founded in 1946, claims to be the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world and was ranked at No. 45 on the Fortune(r) 500. The company’s Web site also states Lowe’s employs approximately 215,000 people.
City councilors and staff will hear from Lowe’s representatives and consider the approval of the MOU on Tuesday, shortly after 5:30 p.m.