By Moses Leos III
For the past few months, Kyle resident Richard Romo has noticed a pair of signs heralding development near his home along Main Street.
While he harbors mild concern for what’s coming — a 10,000 square foot commercial/residential complex — Romo believes it will ultimately be an asset to the city.
“I’m just glad they are developing here in [Old Town], instead of going outside of town,” Romo said. “I think the money should be here in the area first.”
Comanche Holdings LLC, the proprietor of the mixed-use development, closed on the property at 225 Main Street in January. They plan to bring a two-story multi-use commercial and residential structure to the Central Business District (CBD).
The structure will feature six, one-bedroom 800-square-foot luxury apartments on the top floor.
On the bottom will be 5,000 square feet of commercial space. Sterling Howry, president at Comanche Holdings LLC, said it is enough for six office units. He said several prospective businesses already expressed interest.
According to Howry, Comanche attempted to develop a similar project in Austin for the past two years. However, he said the process was a “nightmare.”
Howry said the process was smoother in Kyle, despite a “hiccup” when former Kyle Planning Director Sophia Nelson abruptly resigned in April.
Since then, he said the city helped ease the process of starting up the development. On Aug. 19, the Kyle City Council approved a parking waiver to Comanche Holdings for the development.
The Kyle Planning and Zoning Commission (P & Z) approved a conditional use permit on Aug. 26 to move forward with construction.
“Kyle is welcoming to new development and we are excited to be there,” Howry said.
The development takes place within the CBD-2 zoning district, which allows for a mix of uses, including office, restricted commercial, restricted multi-family residential and residential uses. Each multi-family unit is required to have a minimum of 500 square feet of living area.
In addition, the building façade is required to be constructed or maintained in the same architectural style as the buildings within the district.
According Kyle Planning Director Manuel de la Rosa, buildings in CBD-2 are required to have a brick element.
De la Rosa said Howry’s development met the city’s requirements. That included the addition of a parking exemption. The development was required to have 30 spaces. While the company only accounted for 28 it’s site plan, Comanche asked and was granted a variance to use two existing spaces.
They were also granted a variance to improve the city’s right of way. Howry said the development would plant new trees and use landscape similar to what is seen at city hall.
It will also add 17 unrestricted parking spaces in the ROW, two of them handicap.
According to de la Rosa, the additional ROW improvement will account for more downtown parking spaces.
While it’s an asset to Romo, the longtime Kyle resident harbored some concern. Romo, who rents his home, isn’t sure if the property he lives on will be sold in the future.
He also wasn’t sure how the neighborhood would react to the development.
Jesse Morales, who lives on Miller Street, said the community needs the development, and that the complex will work.
“I think it helps a lot and it brings jobs, also,” Morales said. “Apartments, townhouses and condos are going to happen. You just have to accept it and move on.”
Gary Alvarez didn’t agree.
While Alvarez understood the need for the development, he was concerned it could take away from Old Town Kyle’s identity.
The luxury aspect of the apartments was also problematic. Alvarez said the higher cost apartments could drive away families. In addition, he was concerned with what businesses could go into the development.
“Unless you have a good, decent job to pay (for) that, you can’t live there. A modern family can’t live there,” Alvarez said.
For de la Rosa, it’s a chance for the city to bolster the commercial presence in Old Town and on Center Street.
“[The development] means we will have residents that live in our downtown community,” de la Rosa said. “It will help our (downtown) businesses.”