A new developer has positioned himself as the frontrunner to purchase and revamp Plano's ailing Collin Creek Mall into a mixed-use district—but unlike a number of similar projects in the area, the prospective buyer's plans are not expected to include traditional apartment units.

Farmers Branch-based real estate firm Centurion American has part of the mall under contract and is participating in negotiations to acquire the Sears, Macy's and Amazing Jake's anchor store properties, the firm's President and CEO Mehrdad Moayedi told Community Impact Newspaper on Monday.

Parts of the plan—particularly its residential components, which feature hundreds of town houses and condominiums instead of apartments—were designed with local political realities in mind, Moayedi said.

"We’ve got to play by Plano’s rules—what [the]  council’s vision is today—and there seems to be negative opinion towards multifamily," Moayedi said. "We don’t want to come in and butt heads with the council. We want to come here and do what they want, [and]  at the same time make it economically work for us.”

Moayedi's efforts to acquire the mall are still at an early stage, and would likely require months of additional negotiations with property owners and discussions with the city before Centurion American could move forward with the intensive redevelopment project, he said.

The new plan would take the property in a decidedly more entertainment-oriented direction, as prospects for brick-and-mortar retail stores have declined in recent years, Moayedi said. Developers are considering adding a new movie theater as well as a concert hall that could seat thousands, plus a number of retail and medical uses serving residents of the proposed residential communities.

"There’s going to be a kind of city core area in the mall that’s going to serve the condo tower and the town homes and even some people from outside [the development]," Moayedi said. "And we’re also really focused on doing a lot more entertainment."

The development is also expected to include more than 600,000 square feet of office space, a 300-room hotel and conference facilities.

Another developer, Sam Ware of Plano-based Dreien Opportunity Partners, had for months been considered Collin Creek Mall's sole active buyer. But purchase and sale agreements that the company had reached with the mall's various property owners expired before the parties could close on the sales. Now Ware is suing the bank that he said had agreed to fund the project.

Moayedi's interest in the property dates back several years, he said. After the previous deal with Ware fell through in April, Moayedi says brokers for the various properties reached out to him with the intent to sell. He said he hopes to close on the first properties by October.