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Columbia Missourian

Shepard Boulevard group will meet with developer to discuss Crosscreek Center

By Dani Kinnison, Karen Miller
March 1, 2012 | 8:09 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The Crosscreek Center property became known as "the moonscape" after developers several years ago clear-cut trees off the property at the eastern end of Stadium Boulevard, former Shepard Boulevard Neighborhood Association chairman Jim Muench said. 

Now, a new development plan calls for a student apartment complex and a hotel on the property.

If you go

What: A special meeting of the Shepard Boulevard Neighborhood Association to discuss the incoming student apartment complex proposed by Asset Plus Cos.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd.

The Shepard Boulevard Neighborhood Association will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday to discuss a new tenant in Crosscreek Center: Asset Plus. The meeting will be at Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd.

"So far, people seem pretty open to it," said Rod Robison, the current chair of the Shepard Boulevard Association.

Robison said he hopes for a good turnout at the meeting so residents can discuss some of the reservations he's heard about runoff, traffic and lighting. Shepard Boulevard lies across U.S. 63 from the Crosscreek property.

Residents of the Timberhill neighborhood attended a Feb. 23 meeting of the Shepard Boulevard group to say that they are willing to sign a memorandum of understanding supporting the development, former Timberhill Road Neighborhood Association president Gregg Suhler said. Timberhill Road is immediately north of the Crosscreek land.

“It looks like it would be well done, well built, well managed and a good place for students to live,” Suhler said of the developers' proposal.

Houston-based Asset Plus has been researching Columbia for some time as it looked at “target markets” in college towns across the country, Mark Lindley, senior vice president for Asset Plus, said. The company decided on Crosscreek Center after comparing its developments with other apartment complexes in town. He also said that MU's pending move to the Southeastern Conference was a factor.

Lindley already has met with a few members of the neighborhood associations to show them plans and concept designs for the property. 

"He put a lot of fears to rest," Robison said.

Lindley said Asset Plus believes there is a market for apartment complexes in eastern Columbia. “We just felt like that was a great location.”

Asset Plus specializes in upscale student housing. The project in Columbia, tentatively titled “The Domain,” will have a resort style set-up. Despite the luxury design, Lindley said the rent will be comparable with other apartment complex prices in Columbia.

Amenities will include:

Asset Plus is not the first developer to court Crosscreek Center. Former development proposals included a Taco Bell, Break Time gas station and a car lot. Recently, the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the City Council approve plans to build a Holiday Inn Express on the site.

The original plans for a car lot on the property led to mediation between residents and Stadium 63 Properties. Parties in the mediation signed nondisclosure agreements and were not allowed to comment on the situation. Muench, who chaired the Shepard Boulevard association during those talks, remembers how emotions ran high.

“At that point in time — and there still is some of this feeling — ... there was a very angry feeling that they had come in and they had just wiped out all the trees,” Muench said. 

Muench, however, thinks residents will be open to the new proposal by Asset Plus' because it would improve upon previous development plans. “I think this is the kind of development that we really wanted over there.” 

Now that the trees are already gone, development seems logical, Robison said. He expects Crosscreek to "fill in very quickly." 

The special meeting will be a time for residents and developers to discuss the project and agree on how it should proceed. Lindley will be there to give information on Asset Plus and the new complex.

Muench said Asset Plus is looking to have the whole association on board for the project. So far, the reaction to this approach has been positive.

"We appreciate the fact that they did come to us first," Robison said. 

The painful memories of mediation four years ago are still tied to Crosscreek, but in time development could help to alleviate previous conflicts.

“They don’t want us to fight it like we did the last time,” Muench said.