COLLEGE STATION - A College Station property once eyed to be a city convention center has been sold by the city.
The Chimney Hill Shopping Center on University Drive, which is home to The Republic Steakhouse, has a new owner and plans for a major development.
There are plans for a boutique hotel and a second restaurant look pretty sharp.
The City of College Station is happy to have closed on the property after new direction and a new city council voted last December to sell Chimney Hill for $7.5 million to PM Realty Group of Houston.
In a few years the property will be a place to eat, shop, spend the night and even live.
The sale is final and renderings already up of what the new Chimney Hill will look like.
The City of College Station sold the property that had struggled to hold just a few tenants.
Doug Demiano of Houston-based PM Realty Group says they plan to break ground on phase one next summer.
College Station City Manager Kelly Templin says The Republic Steakhouse will remain open throughout the transition.
"Yes we're very happy about the closing of the property there at Chimney Hill. The PM Realty Group out of Houston is of course now the owner of Chimney Hill and they are going to keep The Republic although move it to the other side of the property," said Templin.
A new restaurant called The Black Walnut will also open in 2016. The café has locations in the Houston area, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth.
Phase two of the project will include a 120 room boutique hotel and 130 multi-family apartment units at a height of five to six stories.
A parking garage is also planned for the site.
While the City of College Station is selling the property for less than the $9.5 million they paid in 2008 Templin says they'll recover those costs and a lot of it has already been offset from rents.
"We have $1.8 million in that fund that's accrued back into it. The sale was for $7.5 million. That puts us a couple $100,000 less than the purchase price which was in 2008, but in short order with the development, the sales tax revenue and employment on the site we'll recoup that shortage very quickly," he explained.
The developers are Aggies and the city tells us they are also looking at some other locations in the College Station area for future growth.
The entire project is expected to be finished by the middle of 2017.