Two development projects in South Waco are attracting attention, with plans to add a new Starbucks location, more eateries and an upscale apartment complex called Tuscany Ranch.

A building being erected next to the new Gander Mountain at Interstate 35 and Valley Mills Drive will accommodate the Starbucks and serve as home to a Potbelly Sandwich Works restaurant next to the 52,000-square-foot outdoors store.

“We expect to turn over the building to Starbucks in mid- to late February, and then we likely will see 60 to 90 days of finish-out work on their part,” said Sterling Hillman, vice president of retail development for Dallas-based Leon Capital Group.

The group acquired the site of the old University High School campus from Waco Independent School District.

He said he expects Starbucks and Potbelly Sandwich Works to open at the same time.

Meanwhile, site work has begun for a second building next to Gander Mountain that will accommodate Bubba’s 33, a chain that advertises pizza, burgers, beer “and more TVs than chairs,” according to its website. Hillman said he expects Bubba’s 33 to open in May.

Hillman said negotiations continue with two sit-down restaurant prospects interested in one-acre tracts on the property.

“Both are national chains. One would be new to Waco and the other is considering opening a second location there,” said Hillman, speaking by phone from Dallas.

He said two one-acre lots remain available near Interstate 35, and whether they will be taken by restaurants or retailers remains subject to negotiation.

McNeil Commercial Real Estate in Germantown, Tennessee, is building a 107-room Home2 Suites by Hilton near the interstate as part of the Leon Capital project.

“They have not yet begun construction, but I am told they are close to getting the needed permits,” Hillman said.

Upscale apartments

Down Interstate 35 at New Road, Tulsa-based Case & Associates is clearing ground for a $23 million apartment complex called Tuscany Ranch. Its 22 buildings and 260 units will spread across 11 acres, and units will be priced at $899 to $1,399 a month, according to company president Scott Case.

Speaking by phone, Case said the company enjoys developing properties in Texas and often targets communities that are home to colleges.

He said local real estate agent Mike Meadows showed him the property near I-35, and he was impressed with its proximity to Baylor University and Central Texas Marketplace.

He said pre-leasing at the property should begin in fall 2015, and Tuscany Ranch should welcome guests early the following year.

Site plans feature 130 one-bedroom units and 130 two-bedroom units ranging in size from 789 to 1,176 square feet. Interiors feature stainless steel appliances; ceramic tile in the entry, kitchen and baths; ceiling fans; and large, walk-in closets, according to information Case & Associates provided.

Amenities include a clubhouse, a business center with Wi-Fi access, a fitness center, dog park, picnic areas with barbecue grills and an outdoor pool.

Case said the company either owns or manages 30,000 units in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Texas projects

It continues to grow its presence in Texas, having completed projects in Corpus Christi, Amarillo, Lubbock and El Paso, and with another scheduled to begin in Lubbock.

Waco real estate agent Josh Carter is listing a 10.5-acre tract of vacant land across New Road from where Tuscany Ranch will materialize.

“I do think adding a group of residents to the immediate area will make this site more attractive,” said Carter, adding that negotiations with an out-of-city retail development group recently broke down, but he continues to receive inquiries about the property.

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