Stafford City Council will consider Legacy-related ordinance on Tuesday
By Michael Sudhalter
But there’s still plenty of work to be done before the 192 acres undergo development by Street Level Investments.
On Monday, the city council will consider an ordinance that ensures Texas Instruments remediates any environmental issues, in accordance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), before building permits are issued on the new development, said Stafford Mayor Leonard Scarcella. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
The clean-up would completely be TI’s obligation, but the city would have to ensure that TCEQ regulations were met.
SLI principal Brian Murphy said TI has been working on the voluntary cleanup program for several years.
“They are taking full responsibility for any issues that may have been created,” Murphy said.
Texas Instruments, which has operated on the property at U.S. 59 between Kirkwood and Murphy since the 1970s, once accounted for a quarter of the jobs in Stafford.
In 2012, TI announced it would gradually relocate its employees to a new facility in Sugar Land, with the completion of that process by the middle of 2016.
Scarcella said the environmental concerns derive from discharges of TI’s electronic chip making process that contaminated well water on the property.
“The water has to be purified through a process to eliminate impurities within it,” Scarcella said. “If we pass this ordinance on Monday, the TCEQ will render its opinion and give a green light to go forward with the construction of the project by Thanksgiving or December.”
The proposed mixed use development includes a 45-acre outlet mall, similar to those in Cypress, Texas City and San Marcos, as well as office space, 40 acres of light manufacturing and 60 acres of apartments as well as a park area/green space.
“There are quite a number of potential benefits,” Scarcella said. “We’re looking for ways to turn adversity (of TI leaving) into opportunity. This might be better for the city in the long run.”
Stafford hasn’t had a municipal property tax since 1995, but the city could benefit from sales taxes of stores and restaurants in the outlet center.
Sixty acres of apartments on the development are part of the proposal, but it’s unclear whether the city council would approve that.
“There would be 1,200-1,500 units, and Stafford already has 3,200 units of apartments in only seven square miles (of our city),” Scarcella said.
To put the 192 acres in perspective, it is about two-thirds the size of downtown Houston.
Scarcella said the outlet mall could begin construction by next year and be completed by early 2016, but much of the project won’t begin until early 2017‚” a few months after TI is completely moved out.
Murphy said construction will likely begin on the project by the end of the year.
“We are interested in Stafford because it has incredible access to a huge population base,” Murphy said. “In a 20 minute drive time of the site there are almost 2,000,000 people. We have a very large site that allows us to put together a mix of uses that can create a live, work, play, and shop environment.”
Short URL: http://www.fortbendstar.com/?p=42275