Tidal wave of growth in Fate’s forecast

FATE, TX (March 3, 2015) Fate city officials have seen the extended forecast and they are taking the necessary steps to be prepared.

The forecast: “the calm before the storm.”

City officials say conditions in Fate are relatively calm now with only one major project under way — construction of the Interstate 30 overpass at Farm to Market 551.

Soon, however, there will be a flood of projects on the ground, including home construction in nine recently-platted subdivisions and construction of a new city hall and water tower.

There’s another project, and it’s a big one for the city and its estimated 10,000 residents.

The recent announcement that Brookshire’s plans to build a grocery store on the southwest corner of I-30 and FM 551 has dominated recent discussions and led to speculation of how that news could trigger other economic development projects.

The Brookshire’s store will be a “huge catalyst” for economic development in Fate, according to Mayor Lorne Megyesi.

“All it takes is for one to get it started,” Megyesi said of the economic development spark. “More businesses will be coming down the road. But we’re not going to look at opening the floodgates just to get businesses in here. We want it to be right for our city. We want it to be right for our citizens. We want the timing to be right.”

Justin Weiss, assistant to the city manager, elaborated on the significance of the recent announcement.

“What that represents in the community is independence,” he said. “I can now shop in my own community. Those sales tax dollars will go back into my community. It’s also a leading indicator for future economic growth. A lot of retailers and other commercial interests like to be part of a grocery-anchored shopping center. This is a sign of great things to come for the City of Fate.”

The emphasis in Fate is switching from residential to commercial.

“We know the residential is coming,” City Manager Michael Kovacs said last week. “We don’t have to do anything else to get the residential here.”

The biggest subdivision is Woodcreek, which has five building sites and will reach almost 5,000 homes at buildout in about 10 years. Woodcreek is followed by Williamsburg with 1,850 homes projected at buildout and Chamberlain Crossing with 450.

Weiss said Fate has reached “that tipping point where retail and commercial follow rooftops.”

“Now,” he said, “we’re at the point where we can focus more on the commercial side of it because we have the demographics and the population within the trade area to support businesses of all sorts, not just retail.

“We’ve got a strong workforce here, young families, and a highly educated population that can really attract significant jobs, too.”

Kovacs and Weiss said Fate officials are taking steps to ensure that commercial development is done the right way.

“There’s always going to be development going on in cities,” Kovacs said. “We want to focus on doing that the right way.”

One step in that process, according to Weiss, is developing the city’s comprehensive plan. He said this is a yearlong process that involves the city council, staff, residents and developers — “everyone who takes an interest in the community is coming together to create a vision, almost a guidebook, if you will, for future decisions as they relate to growth and development.”

An agenda item for a recent special meeting of the city council listed a design charrette, a collaborative planning or design session. Fate’s design charrette was held for the city council, staff, developer and planner to discuss the large tract of land — 389 acres — on the northwest corner of I-30 and FM 551.

Weiss said the design charrette was a joint planning exercise, “so when they submit their application for zoning, it will be a more informed decision.”

“It’s a calculated effort to come together with the owner of that property and discuss the future of Fate,” Weiss added. “And really, that’s what it comes down to because they will know, here’s the vision, the goal, what the city would like to accomplish. How can we fit that with your goal as a property owner and what would promote the greatest long-term success for both parties?”

Weiss said the city is leading this exercise “because of the commercial interest that has already been expressed by commercial developers and the different types of users who want to purchase land in Fate to establish their business.”

The city has also teamed with Buxton, which Weiss said is one of the largest firms in site selection and retail recruitment.

“They will be our ally in identifying good retail opportunities for the City of Fate,” Weiss said.

City Councilman Lance Megyesi, chairman of the Fate Development Corp., said the comprehensive plan and Buxton study will give city officials “a good handle” on what types of business Fate can support.

“We understand that the citizens of Fate want retail and restaurants locally and we are working hard to make Fate attractive for those businesses,” he said.

Along with the comprehensive plan, design charrette and partnership with Buxton, there are at least two other signs of growing times for Fate — plans for the construction of a new city hall and water tower.

Kovacs said the city hall has been a long time in coming and is necessary for growing municipal operations.

The million-gallon water tower, he said, is “one of the ways the city is proactive for the residential and commercial growth that’s coming.”

Weiss said the water tower will also meet the need for increased firefighting capabilities.

“It’s also a visual cue to growth,” Weiss added. “It’s another flag being waved, ‘Hey, there’s something happening in Fate. We’re growing. Come be a part of it.'”

Submitted by Justin Weiss, Economic & Community Development.

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