by Max Brantley
I reported Saturday that plans on file indicate that bids will be opened Wednesday on site work for the delayed Park Avenue mixed use project on University Avenue where the University Mall once stood. According to the site work plans, only one potential occupant of the site is identified -- a Target retail store.
The project has been delayed by the economy, city discussions on the nature of the development and Target's slowdown of building plans. (Developers complain that Target was scared off, also, by city officials' initial desire for a multi-level store.)
UPDATE: Jim Strode of Dallas, developer of the land, has not returned a call. City Director Stacy Hurst, who's been active in midtown redevelopment issues, contributes this comment:
I don't know any more than your source. The plans submitted to the city were for site work only, including driveways, parking areas, etc. The application was for the entire site and it was consistent with the approved PCD. Planning Director Tony Bozynski reports that the permit has not been issued, but it is ready. At this time, no building plans have been submitted.
A developer familiar with the project notes that, though this is a planned development, it could be built in phases. That is, there's nothing to prohibit construction of only a Target and to delay building other retail, office space, residential, etc.
City Planning Director Tony Bozynski said his department knows only that request for a site work permit was requested, primarily to build access driveways and parking. But, he said, "It is a good step."
A spokesman for Target said the company "remain interested in this project," but she said the store is still officially on hold. She said she hoped to have an update by the end of the month on the project as the company evaluates what projects are "feasible in the current economic climate."