City planners this week unveiled three design options for the remainder of the former Tyson factory site at Huntsville and Happy Hollow roads during a public input session held Thursday evening at Happy Hollow Elementary School.
The designs were presented as part of a plan to let residents help decide the use of the land formerly home to the East Gate Plaza shopping center and more recently, a Tyson Mexican Original tortilla and corn chip plant.
The 11.2-acre property was purchased by the city for $1.1 million in 2004. Part of the land was used to build a new fire station and for right-of-way dedications to realign and widen Huntsville Road. Iowa-based Kum & Go recently purchased 1.8 acres of the property for $1.115 million to build a new fueling station and convenience store. After dedicating required right-of-way for planned interior streets, the city is left with just under six acres of land to develop or sell.
Those who missed the meeting are urged to fill out an online survey before Aug. 16 at surveymonkey.com/s/EastGatePlaza.
The design ideas show three variations of mixed-use layouts which include retail, office and restaurant space along Happy Hollow Road with daycare centers, single-family houses and shared neighborhood gardens on other areas of the site.
“What we tried to do with all of the designs is provide some sort of transition from the more intense use near the northwest corner to a less intense type of development where the site meets the neighborhood to the southeast,” said Peter Nierengarten, the city’s sustainability and strategic planning director.
The property will be broken into at least two major parcels of developable land separated by new interior streets that could align with the existing roads in the surrounding area.
“We really want to make sure we draw the neighborhood into the site,” said Nierengarten.
He said a few smaller pieces of land will be kept for public use. In these areas, planners envision food carts with outdoor seating, bus shelters, small pavilions, public art installations and landscaping that could incorporate some of the factory silos salvaged during the demolition of the former Tyson plant.
All of the remaining property is currently zoned for industrial use, but will be rezoned based on whichever plan is adopted. From there, the city must decide whether to sell the available land or partner with a developer to bring the project to fruition.