Jeff Sandford, executive director for SEDA, spoke at the city council meeting on Wednesday morning and gave an update on the future economic development negotiations for Stephenville.
Washington Commons is a $23 million retail development project that was announced at the beginning of this year that will include 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on a 17-acre parcel of land next to Walmart.
So far, only two retailers have been announced for Washington Commons: Ulta Beauty and Hobby Lobby.
Sandford told the council that SEDA has “full commitment from the developers with Washington Commons.”
“Specifically, in terms of the entire project, the 2021 stores are safe,” Sandford said. “They are not even worried at all about 2021; they are more concerned about 2020 stores because they are either in progress or in some other phase of operation. They’re less concerned about our stores that haven’t even started construction yet.”
Sandford said as of Wednesday, Ulta Beauty and Hobby Lobby are still planning on coming to Stephenville and neither retailer has given any indication about delaying construction.
Construction for Washington Commons was set to begin in March or April at the latest, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandford told the council he believes construction will begin in the “early part of the summer.”
Wendy’s, or as SEDA calls it, Project Pigtail, was announced in January and construction is already underway on the quick-service restaurant chain.
Wendy’s will be located across from Sonic on the corner of Washington and Ollie streets and Sandford said construction will be completed in mid-May with an opening date scheduled for June.
“They are only going to open if they can open as a full restaurant,” he said. “Some of ours have turned into just curbside or drive-through; they won’t do that. They will open up as a full operating restaurant, so that will delay their opening depending upon what the rules are with the governor.”
The Edge Apartments is currently under construction on Washington Street and will feature 141 units.
The five-story off-campus apartments will be fully furnished and perfect for students.
Appliances are scheduled to be put in the apartments in July.
"We don’t know what the schools are ultimately going to do,” Sandford said. “They [The Edge Apartments] have already signed a number of leases, but they’re continuing to build as if they are opening for full service this fall.”