Permanent Stays Won't Be Traditional

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A change of contract request was looked at with wary eyes by Bryan's city council Tuesday.

Developers Melrose Company, who is working on the Traditions development on Villa Maria, had hoped the council would make an exception to a growing project with growing costs. Under the original agreement signed off on by the last city council, Melrose could only build rooms for short-term stays at their planned hotel-condominium.

Chief Financial Officer Jim Nicksa says sales and profits would increase if that clause was dropped, allowing some permanent residencies.

"I think that we have to have some confidence in our partners, especially partners that have lived up to their obligations like Melrose has in the past," said councilman Ben Hardeman.

But he was in the minority on a council that wanted assurances on the scope and designs of the eventual land. Melrose said profits from the hotel-condominium would go into building a clubhouse residents have been clamoring for. But if some stays are permanent instead of just short-term, the city would lose out on hotel-motel tax they had assumed would be coming their way.

As good a partner as Melrose has been according to the council, the majority of the council said changing the contract once could open the door for more changes that might not benefit the city.

"Having faith in Melrose is one thing, but having faith in someone you're going to sell a piece of property to is a different ballgame," said councilman Paul Madison.

And those assurances the council wanted? Impossible, says the Melrose CFO.

"The councilpeople have an obligation to act in the best interest of the citizenship," said Nicksa. "They've got, probably, some valid points and concerns, but I don't really understand politics. I understand business, and I can't give them what they want from a business perspective."

The council shot down the Melrose request, two in favor of it, four against. The developers say the deal isn't off by a long shot, just that they might not make the money they thought they might.