Victoria readies for new road, development

Victoria plans to build a new road that will connect the end of Glascow Street, which is a dead end, to Salem Road.

City officials expect that the future Placido Benavides Drive will usher in a new neighborhood of development once it’s built.

Victoria is moving forward with plans to break ground on a road on the north side of town that will cut through largely vacant land to connect Glascow Street and Salem Road. The new road will make hundreds more acres available for development in Victoria and will likely bring conversations about annexing land and changing the city limits, city manager Charmelle Garrett said.

The project, which is estimated to cost more than $7 million, is a significant investment in what’s currently an empty parcel of the city.

But city officials say the investment will pay off because new developers, residents and retailers will be attracted to the area.

Victoria is moving forward with plans to construct the road, known as Placido Benavides Drive, and is currently reviewing bids from contractors.

The City Council is also considering designated the area surrounding the drive as the city’s first “design district,” which would place limits on things like business signs and mandate that all utility lines be underground.

City officials are describing the area as a “blank canvas” that will have a higher standard for new residential and business development.

Victoria previously obtained the right of way to build the road, which will stretch almost 2 miles and include a hike-and-bike trail that will run parallel to the road.

But the land surrounding the road is mostly privately owned and vacant. That won’t always be the case.

“I don’t see how this would inhibit their land,” city planning commissioner Jill Trevino said last month. “If anything, it would bring up the value of their land because it has a higher quality development associated with it.”

At least 77 acres of land near the planned drive is owned by Salem Crossing, Ltd. Rex Horst, the general manager of Salem Crossing, said he was looking forward to the new road and that he plans to continue developing property near it once it is completed.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Horst said. “It’s one of those situations where they’re just kind of trying to raise to the standards of Victoria.”

Horst said Salem Crossing has already built homes on 22 of the 77 acres it owns in the area.

“The thing about Placido Benavides is that you’re having an area that gives people another opportunity for where they can live in the city,” he said. “You’re creating more options.”

Horst added that the road would help lighten the traffic flow in front of Victoria Mall on Navarro Street.

At least 11 individuals or companies own parcels of land near Placido Benavides. Julie Fulgham, the city’s director of development services, said the owners of the four biggest tracts all indicated they would likely sell the land to developers once the new road was completed.

“We don’t believe they have plans on developing this property themselves but instead selling to developers,” Fulgham told the city’s planning commission last month.

Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at cmccarthy@vicad.com or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Ciara McCarthy covers local government for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can contact her by emailing cmccarthy@vicad.com.

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