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Tyler Morning Telegraph

Staff Writer
Sunday,October 26, 2008

Nearly 400 acres of undeveloped land in north Tyler will soon become the manicured, master- planned North Chase development.

The development will be located along North Broadway Avenue, just south of Loop 323. It is the vision and dream of Ed Thompson, president and CEO North Chase Development, LLC in which he's partnered with friends James Mobley, Roy Williamson and Don Keith Kirk.

"I love this city very much," Thompson said. "It has been my dream and my goal to develop the north Tyler end for a long time."

He's following through on a vision held by his own mother, who moved to Tyler from Los Angeles in 1968.

"She didn't think anything should go to waste, and for a long time, nothing has been done with the north side," he said.

The timing is right for the project to begin now, Thompson said. The city of Tyler has begun installing water and sewage infrastructure in the area thanks to a $5 million water and sewer revenue bond. City officials say the development fits right in with the Tyler 21 vision for north Tyler revitalization.

"I feel that we are seeing history in the making," said Mayor Barbara Bass. "The synergy of the North Chase development and the programs the city is rolling out are exactly what the Tyler 21 plan calls for to revitalize this area of our community. The convergence of public programs and private investment is the perfect recipe for mobilizing further development."

North Chase will be a master- planned, mixed-use development of low-, medium-, and high-density residential areas. The development includes dedicated green spaces and mixed-use retail, commercial and office spaces.

"This is going to set the standard for what communities will try to be all over Tyler," said Mark Priestner, principal at urban planning company Planning Concepts. "This thing has just got a heart and soul of its own."

One of the first areas to be developed will be Lake View Apartment Homes, a 140-unit gated senior living community by a small, private lake. This project will be developed, constructed, and managed by Lankford Interests of Houston.

This one-story complex will contain 44 one-bedroom, one-bath units and 96 two-bedroom, two-bath units. Amenities include a swimming pool and community center that houses a game/recreation room, library, computer/learning center and fitness room.

The project benefits low- to moderate-income seniors age 55 or older through Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs tax credits. It is anticipated the first units will be ready for occupancy in late fall of 2009.

Forest Meadow will be developed alongside Lake View and is planned as a town home community featuring 50 1,700-square-foot units. Each unit will have three bedrooms, two baths, a single car garage, utility room, gourmet kitchen, covered patio, stone facades, and other custom amenities.

Residents of Forest Meadow will have access to green spaces, including Woldert Park. Glass Recreation Center is also adjacent to the development. Forest Meadows will be maintained by a homeowners' association.

La Bandera is planned as a 45-acre subdivision between two private lakes. One lake will be 10 acres and the other is planned for five acres near almost 45 acres of undisturbed green space. The gated community will include 125-130 home sites with purchase prices beginning in the $250,000 range.

Fallen Oaks is planned as a medium-density gated subdivision with 150-200 home sites. The Marquis is planned as an upscale apartment complex that will start with 260 units, but may grow to as many as 600. This project will be built in two phases, the developer said.

The Shops at River Oaks is zoned mixed-use commercial and retail. This area offers frontage and accessibility to North Broadway Avenue and Loop 323. Developers anticipate businesses like a pharmacy, gas station, dry cleaner, branch bank, and restaurants located in this area.

North Chase Commons features mixed-use retail, office, and residential zoning. This area provides space for professional offices, smaller retail establishments, and residential spaces.

The green space that surrounds the entire North Chase development includes natural lakes and drainage ways. It is adjacent to Woldert Park with a planned walking trail connection throughout the 180-acre greenbelt.

The team working on this project for North Chase Development, LLC includes Ron Mabry Architects, Planning Concepts, Southside Bank, Law Office of Ralph Allen, Bob Matush Surveying, Inc., Ballard and Braughton engineers, with Web site design by Zipper Studios and Krantz PR. Additional support provided by Bancorp South and First Bank and Trust of East Texas.

Thompson announced on Oct. 21 that he is gifting 11 lots within the planned community to Habitat for Humanity of Smith County.

He said the goals of his master- planned community are to promote home ownership by offering quality housing options for all income levels; to encourage substantial investment in this part of Tyler; and to create new jobs and business opportunities.

Thursday,October 23, 2008
Staff Writer

Tyler City Council members approved several measures on Wednesday that will help launch new developments on the north side of Tyler.

They approved annexation of an eight-acre "doughnut hole" located near the intersection of North Broadway Avenue and West 32nd Street. The acreage is part of the land that will be developed into the North Chase master-planned community, which includes plans for low-, medium- and high-density residential areas, dedicated green spaces and mixed-use retail, commercial and office spaces.

The council also heard a presentation on a proposed North End Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone.

The North End TIRZ was laid out as a goal of the Tyler 21 plan. As private reinvestment happens within the zone, the TIRZ captures the tax revenue from incremental increases in property tax values. City officials emphasized it isn't a new or additional tax. The revenue is reinvested directly back into the zone in the form of public improvements, revitalization and infrastructure projects.

The proposed boundaries include Broadway on the east, Loop 323 on the north, the Union Pacific Rail Line on the west and Martin Luther King Boulevard on the south. More than 491 acres will be included in the zone.

The city also approved a number of other items related to the North Chase development, including a pilot Neighborhood Empowerment Zone that waives or rebates a number of fees related to construction; annexation of eight acres of undeveloped land; and rezoning of the newly annexed land.

Council members approved all of the other items on Wednesday's agenda, including:
- Zoning change request for 1701 Balsam Gap Lane;
- Zoning change request for 0.5 acre near the intersection of McClenny and Garrett drives;
- Special use permit renewal for 5212 Old Jacksonville Highway;
- Presentation designating Shirley Simons Sr. as a Half-Mile of History recipient;
- Resolution finding that Oncor's requested electric transmission and distribution rate and charge increases should be denied;
- Resolution authorizing an application with the East Texas Council of Governments for a regional solid waste grant;
- Ordinance decreasing the speed limit from 65 mph to 55 mph on a portion of U.S. Highway 271 near State Highway 155 and on U.S. 271 near the Loop 323 spur;
- Contract with Heartbeat Construction for the construction of drainage improvements to West Mud Creek Tributary at Fair Lane in the amount of $358,076;
- Ratification of a $50,000 donation from the Spangenberg Family Foundation for playground equipment at Fun Forest Park;
- Payments for property appraisal services to the Smith County Appraisal District for fiscal year 2008-09;
- Reconciliation change order and release of final retainage for the 2008 Asphalt Overlay Pro-gram to Reynolds & Kay, Ltd. in the amount of $33,689.85.

Tax sales
- Lease agreement renewal with the Tyler Ski Club for limited skiing on Lake Bellwood;
- Grant Agreement No. 2 with the Texas Department of Transportation extending the termination date from Oct. 31 to Aug. 31, 2009, for public transportation development credits in the amount of $118,500 for use by the Tyler Transit System.

Wednesday,February 3, 2010
Staff Writer

The Tyler Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday approved a final plat for Tyler Lake View Apartments, paving the way for development of a 140-unit, gated senior living center community.

Tyler Lake View Apartments is planned to be constructed on 18 acres of land off North Broadway Avenue, just south of West-Northwest Loop 323. Following the approval of the plat, a building permit will have to be obtained before construction can begin.

The community is the vision of Ed Thompson, owner of the land and CEO and president of North Chase Development, LLC. The project will be developed, constructed and managed by Lankford Interests of Houston.

Thompson could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

In October 2008, Thompson announced his plans to develop nearly 400 acres of land in the north Tyler area. His North Chase Development will be a master-planned, mixed-use development of low-, medium-, and high-density residential areas. The development includes dedicated green spaces and mixed-use retail, commercial and office spaces.

Tyler Lake View Apartments, the senior living community by a small private lake, will be the first project.

The one-story complex will contain 44 one-bedroom, one-bath units and 96 two-bedroom, two-bath units. Amenities will include a swimming pool and community center that houses a game/recreation room, library, computer/learning center and fitness room, according to

The project benefits low- to moderate-income seniors age 55 or older through Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs tax credits.

Additional items approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission include:
- Barry Robinson's request for a zoning change from two-family residential district to single-family detached and attached residential district at 1733 E. Elm St. to develop a single family home and garage apartment;
- Barry Robinson's request for a zoning change from single-family residential district to single-family detached and attached residential district at 2801 Valley View St. to develop duplexes or row houses;
- Willow Brook County Club's request for a special use permit at 3205 W. Erwin St. to expand the country club with no expiration date on the permit; the club also plans to replat the two lots into one to comply with building setbacks;
- Wellington Place Unit 3: final plat east of the intersection of Wellington Place Boulevard and Princess Place to create four residential lots;
- Lot 6A of NCB 1570D, plat vacation southeast intersection of Kingsmill Circle and Sawgrass Drive to vacate the plat reverting Lot 6A back into Lot 6 of Hollytree West Unit 3 and Lot 7 of Hollytree West Unit 4;
- Hutchins Addition: first amendment, replat of Lot 3 east of the northeast intersection of Mandy Lane and Roy Road to create one residential lot and one agricultural lot.

Issues denied by the commissioner include:
- Porter's Chapel's request to close an unimproved alley connecting Butler and Academy avenues to incorporate portions of the alley into the parking lot;
- Cambridge Bend Estates, second amendment of replat to adjust lot lines west of the southwest intersection of Rochester and Castleton ways; requesting a waiver of required street improvements, including providing a cul-de-sac or other turnaround for Radcliffe Drive;
- Thompson Wood Addition: final plat at the southeast intersection of Patton Lane and Chandler Highway to create six residential lots and a large portion for future development.

Monday,September 30, 2013
Staff Writer

Ed Thompson is working to revive retail centers in north Tyler to provide opportunities for small businesses to thrive.

One of those centers, Meadow Plaza, might have a new name and look, but it has been a staple on Gentry Parkway for nearly 40 years.

Built in the 1960s, Thompson said it used to be "the shopping center" in the area until a lot of businesses had to relocate when Gentry Parkway was wide ned. The shopping center fell into disrepair, with leaking roofs and bathrooms and crumbling brick walls.

Thompson, a developer, bought the center in 2007, and last year named it Meadow Plaza since it is at the intersection of Gentry and Meadow Lane.

"By giving it a name, it gives it a destination," he said. "It's about trying to create a destination for an atmosphere of shopping. It's kind of an old feel walk-and-shop."

Thompson is trying to encourage female entrepreneurs to open businesses in the area, he said, adding that the five main businesses in Meadow Plaza are all owned by women.

"I bought these old centers to redo and create opportunities for these businesses to thrive and grow in the north Tyler area," Thompson said. "It's just a different feeling now when you drive up and down Gentry."

He said he has been encouraging other businesses in the area to remodel, and several have revamped or expanded their facilities, including American Pawn, Tyler Beverages Inc., Whataburger and Taco Bell-Long John Silver's.

Thompson said that "when a person does something, it's kind of contagious," and a lot of things are changing in the area. "It created a whole different atmosphere."

At Meadow Plaza, the building's brick was so old it couldn't be found anymore to be repaired, and the interior walls could no longer hold paint. Every time it rained, the leaking roof would flood the businesses, he said, adding that nothing was being spent to upkeep the building. Thompson started the renovation project, which included elevating the buildings and flat-top roof, in 2011.

"I wanted to keep a little bit of that old look and mix it with a little bit of modern," he said, showing off the brick stucco. Signs for the new businesses are expected to come in this week and will be followed by a grand opening celebration, he added.

Thompson's office was once located where Mustard Seed Learning Academy and Boutique is now in the Meadow Plaza center, and he and his wife opened Young at Heart Accessories Boutique where a barber shop once was.

Malissa's Beauty Shop has been there for 17 years and remains in the remodeled building. Oh What a Day Event Planning, Gifts & More is also a new business in the center. And Gentry Donuts, a dine-in shop, opened in February after the space that formerly housed DC Fried Ribs was renovated.

Thompson said the part of the center facing Gentry was completed in late 2012. Renovations continue on the part of the center that faces Meadow Lane and includes the BCFS Health & Human Services Tyler Transition Center, which assists foster children, and Cuttin Up Barber Shop. Ron Lewis owns the barber shop that has been in the center for 20 years and has doubled his size with the relocation.

Thompson's wife of two years, Melvenia Thompson, opened Young at Heart Accessories with business partner and store manager Gracie Vargas on Sept. 3.

"I wanted to do something on my own," Mrs. Thompson, 57, said of opening the business. She works as a customer service representative for Bancorp South.

She said her husband thought of the idea for an accessory store, and after she met Ms. Vargas, they decided to become partners.

Ms. Vargas, 36, said she opened a shop, Lace by Grace, in another location but after four or five months, she realized she needed a bigger space. She went to Thompson about the Meadow Plaza center because she saw what he had done with the North Chase development and revamping commercial suites in the area, she said.

Ms. Vargas said the store offers jewelry, fashion bags and tights, designer shades, scarves, clutches and anything to do with accessories, as well as 100 percent virgin Peruvian and Brazilian hair and fragrance oils.

Thompson said the concept of his wife and Ms. Vargas starting the business is to bring people of Tyler a unique shopping experience.

"What this shop does is provide a unique service. ... It fills a niche," he said.

Gladys Moore was born and raised a few blocks away from Meadow Plaza and still lives nearby. That's why she decided to open a business there, she said.

On July 1, Ms. Moore opened Mustard Seed Learning Academy and Boutique, combining her loves for teaching children and shopping into one business.

"He has done a wonderful job," she said of Thompson's renovation of the building. "It's nice and comfortable. ... The atmosphere is businesslike and I love it."

Ms. Moore has been a substitute teacher for elementary, middle and high school classes in the Tyler Independent School District since 2009.

"Working with children is my passion," she said. "Academically, I want them to have a solid foundation."

She said in school, the curriculum goes by so fast a child can get behind. She wants to work with elementary school children to build a solid foundation that will help them through their school years. She said children can come for tutoring as often as they want. She tutors in math, reading and writing, as well as helps people prepare for the GED.

As far as adding the boutique to the business, Ms. Moore said, "I love to shop. I'm a shopaholic."

She offers clothing for women, men and children, as well as handbags, home d cor and other items. She also offers consignment.

Ms. Moore believes Thompson is doing a good job bringing businesses back to the area.

"He has brought it back to life," she said of Meadow Plaza. "He's beautified the neighborhood."

Now that Meadow Plaza is nearly completed, Thompson is focusing his efforts on a nearby retail center on Bow Street that suffered a fire in February. Where the former M&M Record Shop was located will become a doctor's office, he said.

Thompson envisions boutiques and shops to fill the five spaces in what will be called Bow Plaza, and said he also would like to see a dentist office come to the area. He hopes to have renovations done by January, he added.

Thompson said he is encouraging people to get in business in the area.

"The whole concept is to encourage ... that's the only way you start economic growth is to encourage the need for first-time businesses," he said.


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The Revitalization Of North Tyler
Developing north Tyler
About North Chase
A diamond in the rough, the 395 wooded acres at the intersection of North Broadway Avenue and Loop 323 sat undeveloped for the last 45 years. That is all about to change with an exciting new project through North Chase Development. Read more about North Chase >
  North Chase Tyler, LLC. | P.O. Box 2028 | Tyler, TX 75710 | 903-617-6120
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