The Kyle City Council received a presentation from co-founder of Gap Strategies Jeff Barton on Nov. 15 for Word Place Development, a mixed-use project that has been in the works for several years in Kyle.

"It's going to set the bar for mixed-use development but also as an economic driver for our community, to connect the community both metaphorically and geographically," Barton said. "[It] will become a destination for unique kinds of retail, nightlife and boutique restaurants."

The development is nestled between Marketplace Avenue and North Burleson Street, adjacent to I-35 with two creeks running through it, Barton said, clocking in at around 27 acres.

There will be 17 acres dedicated to open space with 13.5 of those acres allotted for a city park with a fitness center and playground. The amount of open space within the development is set to be triple that of the recently opened Heroes Memorial Park, Barton said.

The developer will "build and hold" a handful of mixed-use and commercial buildings in the development while selling the residential parcels of property to third-party multifamily builders. Parks and commercial spaces will be owned and maintained by the Word Place Property Owners Association, according to the presentation; streetscapes will also be maintained by the property owners association despite being city owned.

The project will create around 600 temporary on-site construction jobs with 100 to become permanent and around 800 temporary jobs in the area with almost 300 to become permanent.

The development is also anticipated to generate around $1.5 million annually.

Barton added Gap Strategies is not seeking any type of tax breaks or abatements for the development; but it is seeking a public improvement district and tax increment reinvestment zone overlay that would generate tax revenue for the city and the project.

"It is also my family's farm, and it's a great place. I've walked those fields, but there are some challenges that have developed around it in terms of industrial development, a road that's been closed off by the city, some abandoned houses," Barton said. "We want to help restore that place to its glory."

In its current state, the property reaches "blight" status, meaning it shows signs of great deterioration that poses a threat to human health and safety.

The road closed within the development is a low-water crossing that floods whenever there is rain and, as such, was closed by the city for safety, City Engineer Leon Barba said.

The idea for this project popped up in 2017, and by 2019 a public utility district for the development was approved, according to the presentation. Gap Strategies anticipates construction starting in 2023 with a grand opening following in 2024.

"What we would like is to reach a general consensus, a direction to staff for how we move forward for this project," Barton said. "There's some danger that this project could languish."

Ultimately, the council unanimously voted to direct staff to draft PID and TIRZ documents along with a development agreement proposal for approval.

"More and more, as developments come to the city of Kyle, we see the same proposals over and over again, and this is definitely unique," Mayor Travis Mitchell said. "Folks who are vested in that way build great projects. Not only do you have the track record, but you also have all the incentive in the world to create a project that you're proud of."