Brian Neben Lexington Clipper-Herald
LEXINGTON — In the multi-step process to allow Fat Dogs to add diesel pumps and expand its location, the Lexington Community Development Agency has passed a resolution recommending approval of the proposed redevelopment plan.
The Planning Commission had first recommended approval of the subdivision plan that will allow for redevelopment in December 2021, the city council approved the subdivision later in the month.
The Community Development Agency (CDA) approved the redevelopment plan in February and at their meeting on Monday, March 21, they reviewed the formal resolution that will go to the city council for approval.
The project calls for an expansion south of the current Fat Dogs location, where the old Gable View Inn used to stand before it was demolished.
High-volume diesel pumps will be added to serve the “important semi-trailer market,” according to Wilkinson Development, the owners of Fat Dogs. As part of the plan, the current building will be remodeled and expanded to provide a new restaurant and travel center.
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As of yet, Wilkinson Development has not named any tenants for the restaurant space.
A new canopy, underground pipes and new pumps will be installed. Space will be created west of the pumps to allow for about 10 semi-parking spaces.
The store expansion will add 6,480 square feet to the location, bringing the total coverage after development to 13,820 square feet. Five full-time jobs are planned to be added after the expansion.
Development of the project is anticipated to begin in May or June 2022.
Wilkinson Development has applied for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) assistance in the amount of $700,000, which would go toward demolition, concrete and piping, and architectural costs. The total cost of the project will be around $5,348,500.00.
CDA member Seth McFarland noted the need for a project like this, but again raised concerns about the amount of semi-trailer traffic that could be exiting Plum Creek Parkway (Highway 283) and whether the existing turn lane could accommodate the volume.
Clarine Erickoff, Wilkinson Development’s chief operating officer, noted at an earlier meeting that the company owns the former Sonic location, just south of the lot where the diesel pumps would be added. Access from this location could help alleviate traffic off the avenue.
She noted that there was no mention of this property in the plan because Wilkinson has been involved in a lawsuit with the location since 2019 and will soon be heard before the Nebraska Supreme Court. Erickoff said they have the property title in hand; they just can’t do anything with the property yet.
City Manager Joe Pepplitsch asked CDA members to think about future use and access to the location and said Wilkinson will come up with a plan that works for the space.
The CDA approved the resolution for the redevelopment plan.
CDA also considered a third amendment to the agreement for The Row redevelopment project.
The Row is located in southwest Lexington along Eisenhower Dr. The first 20 units were built as part of the first phase of the redevelopment project. Phase two was to add an additional 12 units on Roosevelt Dr.
Pepplitsch said the project had some delays in 2019 and then the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused further delays.
The third amendment adjusts the time of the project phase and the authorization of the TIF indebtedness, now four TIF notes will be issued. The CDA approved the amendment.
During the roundtable, Pepplitsch said the CDA will meet in April, where the Fat Dogs project will be finalized and a new redevelopment plan will be proposed.