Two city of Hutto officials said they agree with the direction taken by City Manager Odis Jones as he terminated a contract with Wolverine Interests to build a 242-acre, $800 million mixed-use development.
The Perfect Game development will go on with a new developer, expected to be introduced at the Sept. 12 Hutto City Council meeting. Wolverine, the original developer for the project, had its contract terminated when land acquisition deadlines were missed, according to the city.
“I am confident in our city manager who has continued to keep this project moving forward despite roadblocks including securing the funds to buy the land after the original developer failed to do so,” Hutto Mayor Doug Gaul said in a release. “[Jones] work[ed]with our legislature to secure the state’s portion of the hotel and sales use tax to apply to construction costs for the city’s first convention center and hotel as part of the mixed-use project anchored by Perfect Game as we strengthen that relationship, and now securing a new developer to keep the project moving forward.”
On July 26, Hutto filed a lawsuit against Wolverine for breach of contract. A month later, on Monday, Wolverine countersued for at least $1 million plus lost revenue, claiming the contract called for Hutto to provide written notice of default and a 60-day period to cure.
“This project is going to put Hutto on the map,” said Blake Beckham, an attorney for Wolverine, which has recently developed multi-use projects in Frisco. “This is an economic miracle project for Hutto. But without notice, they breached the contract. We put thousands of hours of blood, sweat and tears into this.”
Tim Jordan, executive director of the Hutto Chamber of Commerce and economic development coordinator for the Hutto Economic Development Corporation, said the counterclaim from Wolverine is without merit.
“As a person that has been involved in these negotiations, I can attest that the statements and actions alleged by Wolverine in their counterclaim regarding City Manager Odis Jones’ actions and behavior during these negotiations are outrageously false,” Jordan said in a release.
The city of Hutto said it was a joint decision with Perfect Game, Sports Facility Advisory|Sports Facilities Management to work with a new developer.
Beckham said Hutto’s lawyers have to “dodge and divert to figure out how to fix Odis’ premature termination [of the contract with Wolverine]. …But Odis isn’t as smart as he thinks he is.”