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Residents in Oak Terrace subdivision will not be forced to move for new Bryan development idea

Posted at 10:56 AM, Sep 16, 2023

BRYAN, Texas — Lisa Beitler is used to seeing new projects being developed after living in Houston.

She moved into her home in the Oak Terrace subdivision in Bryan in May, and she is all for increasing her property value from potential new developments.

But she is concerned about how the City of Bryan's idea for a new development in the neighborhood could affect other residents.

"I think a big question mark right now really is the location of it. What types of homes will be moved, taken over? What is that process going to be?" Beitler said.

The city presented new renderings, developed by OMNIPLAN, of a mixed-use space at its Bryan Commerce and Development Inc. Board of Directors meeting Tuesday.

It would be located along South College Avenue on a section of Beitler's neighborhood, stretching from Culpepper Drive North, Milam Street, Maywood Drive and Nagle Street.

But owner and president of the development group Lero and Associates, Inc. Bill Lero said residents won't be forced to give up or sell their homes.

In fact, Lero said the city has only purchased homes that were already listed as "For Sale" in the neighborhood, and most homes purchased were torn down because of environmental reasons and asbestos presence.

"All the properties that the city have bought. They purchased them on the market that would be available to anyone. They were available through MLS [multiple listing service], through private negotiation, so there’s not been anyone that’s being displaced or asked to move or anything like that," he said.

Bryan Commerce and Development Inc. owns at least 25 properties within the neighborhood, and the City of Bryan itself owns one property, according to the Brazos Valley Appraisal District.

The project would be about 30 acres with 1,500 units, over 200 hotel units and 35,000-50,000 square feet of office space.

The development would have the ability to house restaurants, businesses, offices, workplaces, hotels, high-rises and even town homes.

The City of Bryan is looking to revamp the area.

Lero said the main reason part of the Oak Terrace neighborhood was chosen was because of the location. It serves as a north gateway to the university and Historic Downtown Bryan.

His company has been working on the idea since 2020 and is responsible for acquiring property, utilities and entitlements and planning the development.

The idea could still change to expand or minimize the project, but Lero's main concern is maintaining the integrity of the neighborhood and also making room for progress.

He said the city has the capability of having success with the project because of the university's student population and local residents.

"We've got a population base that we think would start to support this type of development and the amenity package that makes a development like this very successful," Lero said.

The space would be across from Hensel Park and within walking distance to popular spots like Northgate Entertainment District and Century Square and only 2,200 feet from the university.

This is something residents like Beitler enjoy doing.

She loves the idea of being able to walk to local restaurants and amenities.

She and her husband, both TAMU alumni, even drive their golf cart to the university.

Beitler's home is outside the area of consideration, but she always looks forward to more progress and new things to do in the community.

But in some ways, she also wants some aspects of the community to stay the same.

"This is a great neighborhood. It's an old neighborhood, but it's a great neighborhood," Beitler said.

"You always hope to keep it somewhat the same but also move forward with the future and make progress, but again, without destroying the feel of it that it currently has."

She also wishes there was more communication from the city, saying she really didn't know much about the project and that she found out about it on social media.

"I would like for all of the homeowners for this neighborhood to have some open lines of communication so that we can be aware of the next time there is some presentation," Beitler said.

The idea is still conceptual, and there is no timeline yet.