Plans for a new retail center potentially anchored by a Buc-ee's and large-box retailers could soon become finalized for the western portion of Waxahachie.

The proposed site is located on the southwest corner of Interstate Highway 35E and U.S. Highway 287— across I-35E from the Waxahachie Civic Center.

Director of Economic Development Doug Barnes said the development still in its early phases, and there is much to be decided.

“We have had maybe two meetings with these folks. We are still trying to determine what type of retail and what type of center that is going to be. The Texas Department of Transportation is still working on that area,” Barnes said. “Of course, one of the major concerns is the cloverleaf (interchange) because of the location of this property and the entrance and exits that are related to property and how they can be improved. So at this point, there is so much that has not been decided that it is hard to determine whether or not there is going to be a center in itself.”

Barnes stated that all parties involved in the project are making sure that is developed in a manner that will best serve residents and provide the next level of services for the community.

Mike Nelson, who serves as the senior vice president and director of leasing for Encore Enterprises, stated the project could range in size from 48-72 acres. He also explained there would be pad sites for restaurants and spaces for high-end retail along the I-35E frontage road. There could also potentially be spots for large box retailers toward the rear of the development.

According to the Encore Enterprises website, the firm develops, acquires, and manages hospitality-limited and full-service hotels, retail grocery-anchored shopping centers, single tenant centers, multi-family residential projects, and office buildings. Some of the company’s developments include the Tower at Frisco Square in Frisco, One Dallas Center in Dallas, and Encore Crossings in Corpus Christi.

“We have a lot of interest, but no one committed yet. What our retailers say is that 15-20 percent of their sales are from drive-by access. Those restaurants and those retailers depend on people going from one place to another such as people (traveling) from Dallas to Austin who will stop for dinner,” Nelson explained. “Without the direct access, they will lose out on that 15-20 percent. So that is what a bridge brings to them. It gives them direct access to people who were not necessarily thinking about stopping there. That is why that bridge is important.”

Nelson stated that the current expansion of I-35E from four to six lanes should help to provide better access to the site from the southbound lanes of traffic. He noted the need for a bridge to be constructed could complicate things, as it would require approval at the state and federal level.

If approved the cost to construct the bridge is about $10 -11 million.

Darwin Myers, TxDOT Area Engineer for Ellis and Navarro Counties, stated that the preliminary layouts are being reviewed. The review is estimated to take about a week to complete. Staff at TxDOT are looking at the locations for access points onto the roadway.

Barnes stated that everyone involved in this project is making sure that is developed in a manner that will best serve residents and provide the next level of services for the community.