By Bailey Rae Poer—
Father-and-son duo, Malcolm and Taylor Kanute, of Keewaydin Developments are leading the drive to bring new businesses into Stephenville with the development of Tarleton Crossings at the South Loop.
The development includes approximately 12 acres of land, with five of those located behind the old Fiddle Creek Restaurant, and the rest expanding to the other side of Harbin Drive. Plans for the project currently include: a new building for local business Barefoot Market, which will be around a 12,500 square foot expansion from their existing space; a 15,000 square foot conference/convention center; and a hotel that will house around 130 rooms. The possibilities for the development are endless. Hopes are to bring in several national retail and restaurant chains along with incorporating several local businesses looking to move into larger spaces. One idea even includes looking into adding another university bookstore.
Plans for the new Barefoot Market include a full-scale organic grocery store, along with a café component that contains a large outdoor patio. An upstairs bar area that will overlook the patio and serve beer and wine will also be included.
Developer, Taylor Kanute, is excited about the possibilities this will bring to the Tarleton State University campus and its students.
“When this all started, a big component of this development was being located only two blocks from the Tarleton Campus,” he said. “We are working and talking with the university and the city about creating a pedestrian path so that students will be able to walk here from campus. The whole theme of this is for it to be pedestrian-friendly, somewhere you can walk and get groceries then sit down and have a drink and enjoy live entertainment.”
The relationship between the university and Tarleton Crossings at the South Loop are in the works as there is talk about the new hotel becoming the “host hotel” for university events. The hotel will most likely be a Hyatt Place or a Courtyard by Marriot, which will also help the university in the process to becoming a Division I school.
Stephenville City Council support appears immense as the proposal for the hotel and convention center fully passed in an 8-0 vote last Tuesday night, followed by the public announcement of the project Wednesday afternoon in the City Hall Council Chambers.
Ground breaking for the Barefoot Market will be the first step taken in the process, with expectations of that beginning within the next month or so.
“Every domino that falls helps the next one to fall even easier,” Taylor Kanute said.
The project all began after a for-sale sign spotted by Malcolm Kanute sparked his curiosity. Originally from Chicago, where they were both involved in real estate, Malcolm and his wife relocated to Stephenville, followed by Taylor who came later.
The project is moving on track and described as “a lot of moving parts” by Taylor.
“This is what our focus is on. From what I understand a lot of things get proposed here that don’t actually happen, but this is something that has been voted on and is happening,” Taylor said,