Work on McKinney eyesore may resume soon

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on September 19, 2011 at 6:51 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 19 at 10:11 PM

Gateway Development

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McKINNEY — It's an eyesore in one of McKinney's busiest areas. A partially-built hotel is just the shell of a multi-million dollar dream.

But now, there’s word the stalled Gateway project has a chance of getting back on track.
    
The construction mess is near the intersection of State Highway 121 and US 75.

Progress on the five-story, 222-room Westin hotel didn't last long. Construction began in February of 2008. Seven months later, the Bridge Street Town Center came to an abrupt halt when California-based developer O&S Holdings had money problems.

"They came in at a time when the economy was not good," said McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. "We had some issues with them with funding. And they went into bankruptcy and the project unraveled."
    
Three years later, little has changed.

"We're in a bad economy," said City Manager Jason Gray. "This is a daily reminder for those who go by here."
    
A two-year legal battle between O&S Holdings and McKinney ended with a settlement. The city, which has spent $30 million on the development, now controls all 90 acres of what is now called the Gateway site.

“This is our entry port to the city. And it's what everybody is going to see when they first come into McKinney," Loughmiller said. "I think when you get a project started, it's a sign of prosperity, just like the interchange is a sign of prosperity."
    
McKinney City Council members have approved an agreement with Dallas developer Matthews Southwest. The company has 60 days to come up with proposals for a hotel/convention center.

One question they'll face: Whether to finish the job on the partially-built structure, or raze it and start from scratch.

"Our goal would be to continue to see this site, not only the hotel conference center, but the site as a whole, continue to see that built out with very little, if any public money into it," Gray said.
    
Mayor Loughmiller said he'd like to see construction start by the end of the year, calling himself an “eternal optimist.”

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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