City leaders considered feedback collected by city staff on what the four downtown properties being considered for redevelopment should become.
How we got here
The proposed project involves the redevelopment of four city-owned properties in Historic Downtown McKinney. The properties include the existing City Hall building along with the McKinney Development Services Department building and two neighboring parking lots.
The properties span a combined 4.6 acres and have a total appraised value of $11.2 million, according to city documents.
City services are expected to transition to the new City Hall, which is under construction, in early 2025. This will leave the existing buildings unoccupied, said Michael Quint, executive director of the development services department, at an April 6 meeting.
City Council members at a Jan. 24 work session indicated their desire for the properties to be redeveloped through a public-private partnership rather than being sold as is or retained by the city. The partnership option allows for public input on the properties’ development.
Feedback has since been collected from various groups, including downtown stakeholders, three city boards and the McKinney Historic Neighborhood Association, according to the presentation. Feedback was also collected through an online survey conducted April 26-May 10 as well as at an April 26 public town hall meeting.
The feedback will be compiled into a formal request for qualifications, or RFQ. This document outlines the types of uses desired for the properties and will be shared with developers to inform project proposals.
Quint noted he aims to release the request by late June and receive proposals back by early August; however, the timeline is subject to change.
Sorting out details
A total of 62 people attended the April 26 in-person open house, and 412 people completed the online survey, according to the presentation.
Feedback results identified preserving and enhancing the characteristics of Historic Downtown McKinney as a priority for any potential redevelopment projects. A majority of respondents also chose the word “charming” as the best descriptor for the downtown area.
“We’re looking for something that is simply harmonious with our downtown as it exists today,” Council Member Charlie Philips said.
Survey respondents identified cultural amenities, a grocery store, parking and amenities for kids as some uses missing from the downtown area. The properties being considered for redevelopment are part of the McKinney Town Center zoning district, which would allow a variety of potential uses including residential, hotel, office, restaurant, personal service and more, according to the presentation.
The visual preference portion of the survey identified streetscapes similar to the existing downtown area as the most desired visual aesthetic. An image featuring a street side electric car charger was voted the least desirable by both in-person and online survey respondents.
What they’re saying
Council members reviewed the collected feedback before sharing their thoughts on what should be included in the RFQ document. Fuller proposed including the public feedback results as a part of the RFQ document.
“The input that we gathered should be part of what we put out so people know what the expectation is of the community and that this body up here is wanting, of course, to represent the community,” Fuller said.
He also noted multifamily rental projects would not be welcome, but other residential uses such as condominiums for purchase would be.
Council Member Patrick Cloutier asked city staff about the potential for the project to include creating a five-level parking structure with two levels of parking underground. The partially sunken parking structure would create a more gradual difference in height when transitioning from the downtown area to the surrounding residential neighborhood. Quint responded that a parking structure like this would be possible, but is dependent on cost.
“The thing with the five stories that we can build down here is [it’s] a little ominous to build along the edges of our downtown because we do have residents there, and I don’t want them staring at a five-story structure,” Cloutier said. “But if we’re going to do parking, we need to make it meaningful.”
Council Member Justin Beller said the requirements listed in the RFQ should be more narrowly focused, noting that leaving the document too broad could result in project proposals that the council finds undesirable.
However, Fuller said leaving the RFQ more broad would allow private-sector developers to assess the return on investment potential of developing in downtown and provide more creative proposals.
“I would want to solicit the greatest development minds and creative minds out there that will look at this ... without necessarily the same restrictions that we might be ingrained [with] here, and let’s look at what they propose,” Fuller said.
Council members came to a consensus that the feedback collected will be included as part of the RFQ document, which is expected to be drafted and issued in the coming months.
For more information on the project, visit www.mckinneytexas.org/2096/Downtown-City-Owned-Property-Redevelopme.