New site plan released for 5-story Magnolia Lights development

Magnolia Lights—the first mixed-use, multifamily development in the city of Magnolia—underwent a redesign since its initial design released in July 2019, said Pauline Thude-Speckman, the president of Meridian Investment Realty and developer of the project. The new design better suits the Magnolia area, taking a more “old-town feel,” she said. (Rendering courtesy Meridian Investment Realty)
Magnolia Lights—the first mixed-use, multifamily development in the city of Magnolia—underwent a redesign since its initial design released in July 2019, said Pauline Thude-Speckman, the president of Meridian Investment Realty and developer of the project. The new design better suits the Magnolia area, taking a more “old-town feel,” she said. (Rendering courtesy Meridian Investment Realty)

Magnolia Lights—the first mixed-use, multifamily development in the city of Magnolia—underwent a redesign since its initial design released in July 2019, said Pauline Thude-Speckman, the president of Meridian Investment Realty and developer of the project. The new design better suits the Magnolia area, taking a more “old-town feel,” she said. (Rendering courtesy Meridian Investment Realty)

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The initial design for Magnolia Lights was unveiled in July, but changes have been made to the proposed development. (Rendering courtesy Meridian Investment Realty)
After several construction, weather and design delays, Magnolia Lights—the first mixed-use development slated for the city of Magnolia—will break ground this spring, said Pauline Thude-Speckman, the president of Meridian Investment Realty and developer of the project.

The five-story development—which is proposed for 2 acres between Goodson Road and LaRue, Gayle and Commerce streets—was supposed to break ground in fall 2019, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported. Thude-Speckman said the initial design felt “too contemporary” for its location in the heart of the city, so the groundbreaking delay stems from redesigning the project and construction and weather issues.

“We changed it to fit Magnolia,” Thude-Speckman said. “Had we pushed [Magnolia Lights] to break ground in November or December [2019], there were just a lot of things that we needed to address that we didn’t see. We needed to make sure that everything was as we visualized it so that we didn’t get into the project and then have to stop.”

The $20 million, high-density development will still include four stories of luxury apartments in two separate buildings, Thude-Speckman said. However, only one building will also house a ground floor of 10 retail tenants, she said, rather than both buildings. A list of tenants was not available before publication.

With 131 residential units, apartment sizes will range from 524-1,112 square feet, rather than the original 600-1,150 square feet, Thude-Speckman said. Prices are subject to change but are expected to range from $900-$1,800 per month, she said, in one- and two-bedroom options with 17 different floor plans.


Amenities for Magnolia Lights still include a pool, conference room, coworking space and fitness center, but the outdoor rooftop gathering space was replaced with an indoor sky lounge to allow residents to overlook the city, she said.

Plans include one covered parking garage as well as surface parking for shoppers and employees, which is a change from the original plan for two multilevel parking garages, Thude-Speckman said.

“The wait was worth it because I think we’ve got a better product that is more functional,” she said.

However, some residents are concerned about the traffic Magnolia Lights could bring around the FM 1774 and FM 1488 intersection.

“This will do nothing but create more traffic in an already heavily traffic[ked] area. I’ve seen the land picked out, and it’s a teeny tiny lot,” city of Magnolia resident Jennifer Smith said. “All that land up and down [Hwy.] 249, and they choose the smallest lot for sale to build an apartment complex and shopping.”

Mayor Todd Kana said in an email some evening congestion exists near FM 1488 and FM 1774 but he is unaware of traffic near the proposed Magnolia Lights site.

“If concerns arise we will definitely take steps to alleviate any issues created by the development,” he said.

Construction is anticipated to be completed within 15 months, Thude-Speckman said. Apartment floor plans will go live on the Magnolia Lights website in the spring, which will allow prospective tenants to reserve a unit and put down a deposit, she said.

“It will appeal to the majority of those living in Magnolia who would like to work and live in the same place and not compromise quality,” Thude-Speckman said.