Travel center

The Cleburne City Council on Tuesday approved an eight-year, 100 percent property tax abatement with a company planning to build a “large-format travel center of at least 9,000 square feet” at 2825 N. Nolan River Road. 

The site, on land adjacent to Zimmerer Kubota, is across the street from The Depot and the long promised yet still vacant Cleburne Station property.

Saldena Properties plans to build the travel center, which will include “the flagship barbecue restaurant Texas Best Smokehouse in addition to Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches or a nationally branded equivalent,” Cleburne Economic Development Manager Grady Easdon said.

The site will also include a full-service convenience store, seven fueling islands with “nationally branded fuel”and a host of amenities, Easdon said. Those include a large pond with fountains, benches, a dog park and various landscaping features.

“The design elements of the facility will be a reflection of Cleburne’s history and heritage depicted in wall-sized murals on the east, west and south sides of the building,” Easdon said.

Although final designs have yet to be determined, the murals will depict some mix of the Chisholm Trail, Cleburne’s railroad history and/or the Cleburne Railroaders, Cleburne’s professional baseball team.

Saldena Properties requested and received a 380 economic development incentive agreement from the city.

“It allows for annual payments of an amount equal to 100 percent of the city’s portion of assessed and collected property taxes on the land and eligible improvements, with a total not to exceed $200,000 over an 8-year term,” Easdon said. “The annual payments will be based on the value assessed to the property and eligible improvements by Johnson County Central Appraisal District and the agreement will terminate at the end of the 8-year period or payment of the $200,000, whichever occurs first.”

Under the term, Saldena is required to obtain a building permit within 180 days of the effective date of the agreement, obtain a certificate of occupancy on eligible improvements no later than 90 days from completion of construction and construct, at a minimum, the convenience store, two restaurants and fuel islands.

The agreement also requires that all facades be constructed of brick, stone or other masonry materials with contrasting/accent materials as needed and that all fuel island columns consist of brick or stone as well.

The company plans a total capital investment of $5.6 million and anticipates taxable sales of about $4 million in year one as well as a staff of 28 full-time employees and an estimated payroll of $850,000.

Following the council’s approval, Nick Vasquez,a representative for Saldena said the company looks forward to beginning construction of the center soon.

“I’m really looking forward to the first construction project out there at our new entrance to Cleburne,” Mayor Scott Cain said. “I often say this and I say it today, ‘It’s a great day in Cleburne.’ So we look forward to seeing the dirt fly.”

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