Keller City Council approved Jan. 22 an ordinance to rezone 38 acres of land in the northwest corner of town from commercial to planned-development, mixed-use.

That land is set to become the site of Center Stage, a mixed-use commercial and residential development located at the intersection of Hwy. 377 and Mt. Gilead Road.

Council voted 4-3 to approve developer Realty Capital Management’s concept plan, which includes 475 apartment lofts, a maximum of 57 single-family homes and nearly 60,000 square feet of commercial restaurant, retail and office space.

Along with decreasing the original number of apartments from 550 to 475 and the number of single-family homes from 70 to a maximum of 57, Realty Capital agreed to add further stipulations before presenting a detail plan to the city at a later date.

The developer agreed to implement city recommendations of 80% masonry on all facades, a recalculation of green space, cross access to Milestone Church and a sound study.

“I’m not going to hang this development on the 500 emails in opposition,” Place 3 Council Member Sheri Almond said. “They may say, I don’t want apartments, period, even if [the developer] builds warehouses.”

As part of the 2003 Engler Settlement, more than 300 acres of land near Hwy. 377—which includes the proposed 38-acre lot for Center Stage as well as the Marshall Ridge neighborhood and Milestone Church—was zoned as commercial with a land use designation of industrial/commercial.

According to city officials, the previous zoning designation of the Center Stage site already allowed for retail, hotel, office space and warehouse construction.

“I think the voice of the people is that they don’t want an apartment complex in Keller,” Place 5 Council Member Chris Whatley said. “I don’t think they want multifamily housing.”

Whatley was one of three council members to vote against the ordinance, along with Mayor Pat McGrail and Place 6 Council Member Tag Green. A number of Keller residents also voiced their disapproval, as the discussion continued into the early hours of the next morning.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in traffic on Mt. Gilead and interior roads, and this will mean more and more traffic,” resident Kyle Mills told council. “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should build something.”