CRESTVIEW — A major shopping center is closer to becoming a reality following a Tuesday evening workshop in which representatives of the developer and the city outlined ways to move the project forward.
Next, the Watkins Retail Group will make a formal presentation to the Crestview City Council, which will meet in a quasi-judicial hearing to consider the developer's request for impact fee waivers.
Attorney Jon Holloway, representing Watkins, briefed the council on the project planned for property north of the Lowe's home improvement store west of State Road 85.
Holloway mentioned a list of national retailers and restaurants that he said "have expressed interest" in the shopping mall to be called Crestview Crossings Power Center.
Some of the companies he listed include Academy Sports, Hobby Lobby, Michael's, Books-A-Million, Toys-R-Us, Kohl's, TJ Maxx, Marshall's, PetCo, Target and Wal-Mart.
Among eateries on the list are Darden Restaurants, which owns the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains; Logan's Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, Outback Steak House and Chili's.
To make the project happen, Holloway said, the city needs to waive some, but not all, impact fees.
Public Works director Wayne Steele said he analyzed impact fees applicable to the project and recommended several that could be waived. Credit on the appraised value of a sewer line easement sought by the city could also be offered, he said.
City attorney Jerry Miller cautioned the council to refrain from comments that might be "prejudicial" toward the project because city leaders must meet in a quasi-judicial hearing to discuss and approve fee waivers.
At the presentation's conclusion, council members heeded Miller's advice, but thanked Holloway, Steele and members of the public for their advice and input.
"I appreciate the information that's been presented," Councilman Shannon Hayes said. "The citizens that I've spoken with have ... expressed great interest and hopefully we can work with this and make it happen."
Council President Robyn Helt thanked Watkins executive Bob Peck for traveling to Crestview to attend the workshop.
"We appreciate having you here even though it's just for a visit and hope it will be permanent," Helt said.
Addressing resident comments that have been made regarding the project, Helt reminded the public that the council has no authority to select which companies choose to open in the city.