Laredo Town Center formed a new environmental mitigation proposal to preserve a portion of the wetland property near Lake Casa Blanca that, under the previous plan, was to be filled for the mall and hotel development.The developer is also acquiring 45 additional acres northeast of the 88-acre development for its wetland mitigation, as opposed to the original proposal to preserve 18 acres off-site on Chacon Creek.
“Were minimizing our impacts,” said Raudel Garza, vice president of Merchants Holding, a partner in the town center development. “What were looking at is conserving probably six-and-a-half acres in the back part (of the 88 acres), which includes the forested wetlands and a good part of the stream.”
Garza said the plan for the additional acreage is to place a conservation easement on all wetland areas.
Laredo Town Center pitched its new proposal to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Army Corps of Engineers on Monday, presented it to City of Laredo officials Tuesday, and then showed the plan to local environmental groups Wednesday.
To accommodate the new preservation plans, Garza said Merchants Holding is redesigning much of its original development plans. The hotel site has changed, he said, because the relocated detention pond is now planned for construction there. Though not as extensive, Garza said, a new hotel site is planned.
Not only is Laredo Town Center purchasing additional property, Garza said, but also its initial site plan is decreasing slightly. Instead of 88 acres, it will be approximately 80 acres of useable space. The original plan included nearly 680,000-square feet of retail space and Garza said it will now be approximately 600,000-square feet.
By ASHLEY RICHARDS, Laredo Morning Times