In advance of tonight’s Rowlett City Council meeting, the city asked Bayside’s ownership to provide a summary of their thoughts on the project. Attached is the letter that was sent to them yesterday.
August 6, 2018
Dear Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian, City Manager Funderbunk & Councilmembers,
First, thank you to Mayor Dana-Bashian, City Manager Funderbunk, City Attorney Berman and Economic Development Director Grabenhorst for inviting us to meet on Friday. We very much appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and discuss this project. As your partners in this legacy project, we believe that communication and understanding of our goals is key to maximizing the potential for this project. Based on our conversation, the following details our objectives, perspective and intentions on moving the Bayside project forward.
As noted, our goal for the Bayside development is to create a world-class destination that will stand the test of time and maximize the creation of new tax revenues for the City while providing citizens with new park, wellness, entertainment, retail and restaurant amenities. As partners with the City, we understand first and foremost that we have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers of Rowlett, and that means putting personal design preferences aside and forecasting our model on proven data from comparable projects – including what is working, and what is not working in other similar developments.
As we discussed in our meeting, our financial due diligence indicates that a lagoon-centered design would not achieve the high expectations the City hopes for and is not the best choice for long-term, sustained growth. Based on our due diligence, we revised the design to increase the quality ofdevelopment, appeal to a broader audience beyond tourists and increase the amenities accessible to not only visitors and tenants, but also to existing Rowlett families.
Our revisions also include replacing the prior lagoon and show fountain with a more natural approach to the lake and the surrounding environment that includes an expansive, centralized park that leads to a kayaking and watersport basin, a beach, a waterfront performance stage, a family-friendly interactive water feature, and a stairstep rock promontory that collectively are world class. This new redesign will also include public art, or another signature attraction compatible with the development program that we work with you to identify and integrate into the development.
While we understand your preference for the tourist-oriented lagoon and fountain design that takes a more tourist-driven, spectacle approach, our research indicates the lagoon-centered plan will not support the investment and development of the class A office space or four-star resort that are critical to achieving our mutual financial goals, and therefore bears unnecessary risk. Our new design is more economically, environmentally and socially viable long-term. We believe that ignoring financial facts and the missteps of other developments in the region would imperil the project and place unnecessary risk on Rowlett taxpayers.
The revised design is the work of world-renowned designers Alan Ward of Sasaki Associates, David Lake of Lake Flato Architects, and Christine Ten Eyck of Ten Eyck Landscape Design, who are leaders in the integration of urbane vitality and natural landscape into masterplan design. The environment they have created maximizes potential for Class A office tenants, higher-end residential and higher-end retail that will draw residents, tenants and new tax opportunity year round. It will also appeal to tourists, but to those looking for elegant/casual dining and entertainment destinations surrounded by extraordinary natural and recreational amenities, and not by oversized spectacles that are “one and done” curiosities.
This new approach will allow the development to build out over time in a sustainable manner that is anchored by an audience that will live, work, and play in Bayside, rather than a seasonal, tourism user. Our approach focuses on the sustainable competitive position of a fully integrated vibrant mixed-use destination nearly surrounded by Lake Ray Hubbard. No other venue in Dallas can match it.
Mayor and councilmembers, we are proud to be partners with your city, and we very much want to work with you to build a legacy project for the Cit y of Rowlett, but for this to happen we must align not only in the vision of the project, but also in our goal of maximizing the economic growth potential without putting Rowlett taxpayers at risk.
As your partners, we advise that we work together to move this new design forward . We have the opportunity to listen to the marketplace and learn from those who’ve gone before us to deliver a world-class development with more value and more amenities for families that will immediately deliver for the citizens of Rowlett at a reduced risk.
In closing, we look forward to a continued successful partnership and to working through concerns you may have with the revised design. With the intention of continuing to move this project forward on behalf of taxpayers, we will make application for a regulating plan in the coming weeks.