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Large multi-use project in Plano moves forward



PLANO, TX – Since 2014, a project called Beacon Square in south Plano plans to have several hundred square feet of retail space and dozens of live-work and multifamily units. To inaugurate the construction, the project’s developer, Billingsley, proposed zoning changes related to the site’s potential retail space.

The project’s zoning changes were presented in Monday night’s planning and zoning meeting.

Originally, the Beacon Square plan was designed to house thousands of square feet in retail space. The proposed changes switch almost all of the original retail space into live-work units designed for small businesses or families.

The units, according to Billingsley, are in an undesirable location for retail space.

“Live/work units will still provide the option for a commercial component at the street level, but the likelihood of success for interior retail space is questionable in the current market,” Billingsley’s agenda packet reads.

A letter from Co-Founder Lucy Billingsley to the planning and zoning commission points to COVID-19’s economic effects on the retail industry for its project restructuring.

“This is an interior street and spinal road without visibility. We do not believe retail can be leased or succeed in this location in today’s world.”

Data from Billingsley shows a significant drop in price per square foot that will sustain for “a few years to come.”

The project’s potential kick-off comes against a backdrop of an urban-versus-suburban debate within the city. In response to the city’s general comprehensive plan, Plano Tomorrow, an organization called Plano Future is advocating for a major decrease in multifamily units.

Plano Future has named nine locations within the city it is opposed to. The Beacon Square project is targeted as being too dense, according to the organization’s website.

The city’s comprehensive plan aims at providing more apartments for its changing demographics. Plano is home to handfuls of technology-based headquarters, including Toyota Motor.

The Billingsley project is expected to be presented to council in the near future. Before its rezoning in 2014, the space was zoned for warehouse buildings.

“Our request is to replace the retail space on Beacon Square Boulevard with work live units,” Lucy Billingsley wrote in the letter.

“These should be more likely to lease and at more reliable rental rates. The work live unites still upholds the mixed-use status of the property.”