New family cinema, entertainment center proposed in west Midland

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Midland may have lost out on a Costco, but it could be gaining a new entertainment center at the site.

Midland Development Corp. on Friday unveiled a proposed entertainment center to be located on 17.2 acres at Sinclair Avenue and what will become Kirkland Drive, where Costco planned to build its store before cancelling the project.

MDC board members will vote Monday at their board meeting to execute a letter of intent between the MDC, City of Midland and Hodges Development Services to develop the project. The project will consist of a lot for 60,000-square-foot family cinema and entertainment center, complete with an outdoor music and event stage; a lot to be occupied by a nationally recognized retailer and comprised of at about 60,000 square feet; and platted lots for other general retailers and restaurants. Non-disclosure agreements prevent the disclosure of the specific names involved in the development

Sara Harris, MDC executive director, stressed to the Reporter-Telegram that the letter of intent is non-binding and that the full agreement will be presented to the MDC board and City Council multiple times before it is finalized. It calls for construction of the development to begin by Sept. 1 of next year with completion no later than Jan. 1, 2027.

“We believe this is the opening of a conversation” where the public is invited to understand the project and express their opinions and concerns.

Hodges will invest $45 million in the project, and MDC is being asked to contribute $5 million to fund the roads and other infrastructure. Harris said those new roads will become city roads once complete.

The letter of intent also includes city property tax abatements over a period of 10 years, dropping from 100% the first two years to 20% the final two years. It also includes a city sales tax rebate of 50% generated by the cinema and entertainment center and the retailer as well as the general retailers and restaurants for the first seven years they are open to the public.

“The City Council is very careful with its incentives,” Mayor-elect Lori Blong told the Reporter-Telegram. “We believe this will be a beneficial project with huge benefits in terms of job creation, long-term development of that area and to the people of Midland.”

What makes the project so compelling is the quick timeline for construction and Hodges’ record of success, said Harris.

Blong said the proposed project is “a demonstration of the hard work from the MDC staff and City of Midland staff to bring more family-friendly event space. They’ve worked hard and I’m pleased to see it move forward.”