The Brenham City Council approved several changes to the city’s economic development agreement with Baker Katz for its shopping center project at its meeting Thursday.

Following an executive session to discuss the project, which is located on 35 acres of land at the intersection of Highway 290 and Chappell Hill Street, the council moved to revise the agreement with several provisions.

The provisions approved will require Baker Katz to purchase certain building materials locally; require contractors to use separated building materials and labor contracts, if those contracts exceed $50,000; provide reimbursement opportunities up to $1 million, if the buildings within the development adhere to a certain “decorative elements threshold”; and commit Baker Katz to additional funds for the installation of underground electricity along the west side of Chappell Hill Street.

A representation of the intent of the architectural enhancements laid out for the shopping center project. These are outlined in an amendment to the economic development agreement with Baker Katz approved by the Brenham City Council Thursday.
(courtesy City of Brenham)

City staff were directed to offer additional reimbursement to Baker Katz if it could provide additional masonry and certain approved building materials.  Staff have worked with Baker Katz and their architect to define certain façade masonry requirements and establish building material thresholds in order to create a shopping center that is also compatible with the adjacent Brenham Family Park.

The project suffered delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the expected opening date of the first stores in the shopping center pushed back from spring of 2021 to spring of 2022.  City Manager James Fisher said construction will resume this winter.

Also in session Thursday, the council:

  • Received an update on 2020 holiday events in Brenham and the city’s continued COVID-19 restriction and recovery efforts. It also received a report on 2019-20 Fiscal Year municipal court statistics, a 4th quarter tourism report by Visit Brenham, and a 4th quarter economic development report.
  • Approved a resolution consenting to the creation of the Pecan Glen Road District within the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) of the city. Roads within the subdivision have deteriorated, and without an active Homeowners Association in the subdivision, property owners found the creation of a road district to be a desirable option to finance the reconstruction of the roads.  City Attorney Cary Bovey said the city’s consent was required before Washington County Commissioners could create the district.  Once created, the district can issue bonds to construct, purchase, maintain or operate roads, if a petition is submitted to the Commissioner’s Court and an election is ordered.  In order for the bonds to be approved, two-thirds of the district voters in the bond election must vote in favor of the issuance of the bonds. The bonds are repaid by a special property tax levy assessed on real property located within the district.  If the district is created and bonds are approved by voters, the district will reconstruct the roads to meet or exceed Washington County standards for road construction. Bovey said he anticipates that the roads will be turned over to Washington County for future maintenance and repair.  He said future annexation of the Pecan Glen subdivision by the city is “very unlikely,” due to recent changes in state law and the location of the subdivision in relation to city limits.
  • Approved a joint proclamation of the City of Brenham and Washington County related to the 2020 Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade to be held on December 4th and 5th. The council also approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with TxDOT for the temporary closure of state right of way in connection with the parade.
  • Approved an amendment to a resolution approving the submission of a grant application to the Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Division for the rifle-resistant body armor grant program. Grant Manager Jan Adkins advised city staff that the resolution needed to be amended to include additional language.
  • Approved a resolution accepting a $28,696 grant from the Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Division for the rifle-resistant body armor grant program. No matching funds are required from the city for this grant.
  • Approved master subscription service agreement between the city and MUNIRevs, Inc. for the MUNIRevs Vacation Rental Compliance Module, LODGINGRevs. The platform will aid both the city and Washington County in the tracking of local short-term rentals and the collection of Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenue. Washington County Commissioners approved the county’s half of the agreement at their meeting Tuesday.
  • Held a public hearing and approved a request to correct an error in city ordinance pertaining to zoning for the Lakes of Vintage Farms planned development.
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