Hotel flagship: Marble Falls Christmas gift?



Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Built of stone from Granite Mountain in 1888, the Brandt Badger House on Avenue M in Marble Falls is a Texas Historic Landmark. Owners are consolidating surrounding property into four large lots, but say they plan no development.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Marble Falls City Council acted Tuesday night, Dec. 6, to tie up one more detail necessary before final announcement of the hotel operater to be involved in the $25.3 million downtown hotel/conference center project.

The council and the EDC will meet again Dec. 20 to consider bonds for the project and, as EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher has expressed the hope an announcement of the hotel operator would be a “Christmas present,” the identity of that flagship company could be close at hand.

The detail completed Tuesday by the council was approval of a five-year Hotel Occupancy Tax Reimbursement Agreement with Novak Cobalt Partners, LLC, for 50 percent of taxes collected from the hotel.

“It is a performance-based agreement,” said City Manager Mike Hodge. “The city receives hotel occupancy tax that has been collected quarterly from the Comptroller's office...Revenues generated will go toward reimbursing the developer a portion of the costs expended for the construction and operation of the conference center.”

In August, the Marble Falls Economic Development Board (MFEDC) of directors committed $6.2 million to the $25.3 million waterfront hotel conference center agreement with Novak Cobalt Partners. In September, the council approved the request of MFEDC President Steve Reitz to execute the performance agreement and lease agreement. The council and EDC should approve the $6.2 million bond sale Dec. 20.

Via Viejo tank project

Approval by the council of a contract with Willis Environmental Engineering sets the stage for the replacement of one of the city's water tanks on Via Viejo Street.

The replacement of the failing tank is required by the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the $900,000 project will likely take a year from design to construction completion.

Tony Plumlee of Willis Engineering attended the meeting. City Engineer Eric Belaj said Willis already had been assisting with TCEQ compliance on the project.

“Willis Engineering has considerable steel tank design experience, and has designed many other projects for the city in the past,” said Belaj.

Two tanks constructed in the 1960s are located on Via Viejo—a 200,000-gallon tank that was rehabilitated in the 2000s and the leaking 500,000-gallon welded steel tank. Judged beyond repair, the larger tank is to be demolished and replaced with an 800,000-gallon welded steel tank.

Within the budget for design and construction, the city wants to consider another rehab of the smaller tank, lines that serve both and a computerized supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

Mustang Ridge

Before approving the construction plat for the new Mustang Ridge development, council members spent time discussing the potential for traffic problems that could result from a roadway connecting Ranch to Market Road 1431 and Mormon Mill Road.

That would be the result when Parkview Drive is extended 3,500 feet through the development to Wildflower Boulevard.

The entire 173.62-acre property north of the Wildflower Subdivision and west of Marble Falls High School was approved for re-zoning Nov. 1. Now zoned a Single-Family Estates Base District (RE-1), the development will allow for lots up to one acre.

Davy Roberts, owner of the Mustang Ridge Estates, LLC, was on hand for the discussion in which City Planner Elizabeth Yeh noted that a 30 mph speed limit and a traffic roundabout were included in plans to discourage speeding through the development. A sidewalk along one side of the street is planned for the safety of pedestrians, she said.

Brandt Badger House

“I am concerned about RM 1431 congestion overall,” said Council Member Reed Norman. “With the new apartments (Homestead at Mormon Mill on Max Copeland Drive) and now this development, there will be more traffic than ever to the north side of town.”

The property surrounding one of the historic homes of Marble Falls was on the agenda of the city council. The Brandt Badger House sits in the middle of 10 lots that will become four lots following council action.

The owners are Mayor Pro Tem Jane Marie Hurst and her husband Steve, who have their real estate and law offices there at 404 South Avenue M.

“We bought the house in 2007, spent nine months renovating it and have been good stewards,” said the mayor pro tem, who did not take part in the meeting. “We don't have any plans to develop the property. The replat was just housekeeping for all the little pieces of property around it.”

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