Lewisville buys downtown properties for close to $1 million

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Bins and boxes sit in front of the K&W auto supply store Monday afternoon as the owner packed up the contents. (Photo by Steve Southwell)

By STEVE SOUTHWELL
steve@LewisvilleTexan.com

On Monday, Lewisville City Council unanimously approved the purchase of two adjacent properties, totaling just over an acre, at the corner of Main and Mill streets. City officials closed the $930,000 deal Tuesday.

The properties will be assessed for potential redevelopment uses with a preference for retail or restaurant, according to a City of Lewisville press release.

Sonic closed its 0.782-acre location in late August. Lewisville purchased it for $515,000.

Lewisville spokesman James Kunke said the Sonic site coming available was a catalyst for the deal, and that having a full acre together opened up more options for the property.

“This is a good deal for Old Town,” said Mayor Rudy Durham. “This is a critical location for continued redevelopment of the area, which is a high priority in the Lewisville 2025 vision plan. There are a lot of serious obstacles to private redevelopment of that site. City ownership can help clear away those long-standing obstacles.”

K&W Auto Supply closed several years ago but has been on the market even longer. It couldn’t compete with larger chain automotive stores, according to Mark Glover, the commercial real estate broker who represents the owners.

Lewisville purchased the old building and its 0.30-acre plot for $415,000. Its preliminary property tax appraisal for this year was $407,312, an increase of $124,000 from the prior year.

“It’s really a pretty good deal, considering the location,” Glover said. “We lowered the price. The building was deteriorating, and something needed to be done with it.”

     Related: Redevelopment of Old Town property hampered by environmental issues, officials say

The property is zoned for general business. It will probably be rezoned to Old Town Mixed Use so that the city can get the best development out of it, Economic Development Director Nika Reineke said.

“It needs to have a use that’s very compatible with all of our plans for Old Town,” said Reineke. “We’re going to pursue public-private partnerships to make sure it’s developed the right way.”

Lewisville used a third party broker, Howe Wood of North Richland Hills, to make the deal on its behalf without revealing it was the purchaser.

“It was about the strangest transaction I’ve ever been involved in,” said Glover. “I didn’t know who the buyer was until 11 o’clock yesterday— a few hours before closing.”

Glover said he’s concerned about what the city will do with the building and the land.

“Do they demolish K&W or do they try to restore it?” Glover said. “My personal opinion is it could be restored. We were told a story that we had a buyer that renovates buildings and they’ve worked in other cities. [The broker] led us to believe that the building was going to be renovated.”

But K&W did not put anything in the contract to restrict razing the building, Glover said.

Vicky Kirkpatrick Colby owned the K&W building after she inherited the property from her father, Don Kirkpatrick. Glover said Colby was floored when she found out the buyer was the city.

Kunke said the city almost always uses a third-party broker.

“When some people find out the city is interested in their property, suddenly their price jumps,” he said. “We do this so we can ensure a true competitive market price using taxpayer money.”

Kunke said he thought the city likely had an agreement in place to ensure the broker did not misrepresent the city. He said he “seriously doubts” that the broker led Glover to believe the property would be renovated.

“That was never the direction he was given,” Kunke said. The Lewisville Texan Journal tried to contact Howe Wood for this story, but had not yet received a reply.

“The decision [to tear it down] has not been made. We have to get in there and assess the structural integrity of the building.”

Kunke said that the owner of K&W had approached the city in the past about buying the property.

“If [the owner] had wanted the building to be preserved, they could have put a stipulation in the sales contract,” he said, noting that the city probably would not have agreed to that.

The building had a partial wall collapse on the western side, as well as roof issues, Kunke said.

“Sometimes a building simply is not salvageable,” he said. “Plus, the main building is only about 3,500 square feet, and there’s not a lot of retail/restaurant uses that can operate in 3,500 square feet.”