View McCarty Commons in a larger map
by BRAD ROLLINS
A former Texas State University demonstration farm will be developed as mixed-use commercial property on 259 acres across McCarty Lane from the San Marcos Embassy Suites Hotel, Conference Center and Spa scheduled to open in October.
Dallas-based developer The Stratford Company bought the property from the university last year and plans to build the McCarty Commons development in phases, starting with sections fronting more than a half-mile of Interstate 35.
A planned development district approved by the city council last week includes 63.2 acres of mostly retail development bisected by new commercial collector street, to be built by the developer. Their plan includes lots for four new hotels totaling 280 rooms on a portion of the property directly across from the Embassy Suites, which adjoins a 50,000 square foot city-owned conference center. Future phases will be developed as office, residential or commercial properties, depending on market conditions, according to the plan.
The project centers around 57.6 acres of dedicated parkland along Cottonwood Creek with public access via the interstate.
As part of the package, Stratford agreed to provide right-of-way to the city for widening of McCarty Lane. That project tracts traces the planned route for the first phase of an eastern loop around San Marcos, a project included in the $207 million county bond package on the Nov. 4 ballot. The developer also agreed to provide 6.08 acres of right-of-way to accommodate future extension of Texas 21 from its present terminus at Hwy. 80 through the “preferred growth” east side of the city.
Most of the McCarty Commons project, 245 acres, is planned for property that made up a university-owned demonstration farm. The university bought most of the land in 1948 and additional acreage was added in 1969.
When Texas State put the property on the market through a bidding process in 2006, officials estimated it would generate $8.9 million in city, county and school district property tax revenue when fully developed.
» Conference center, hotel bolster tourism ambitions
» A look inside: Hotel and convention center
» California company plans commercial, residential development on 500 acres adjacent to outlet mall
» Map: McCarty Lane widening