This year has brought big stories to Denton County, from controversial business deals to residential disputes and new developments on the horizon. Here are a few of the stories we'll continue to watch closely next year.
Core Scientific’s Denton deal
When the Denton City Council first approved a deal to bring cryptocurrency miner Core Scientific to Denton in the form of a new bitcoin mining facility, hopes were high that it would help offset the $140 million debt incurred during February 2021's winter storm. The company signed a seven-year land lease, a power purchase agreement with Denton Municipal Electric and a five-year dark fiber lease agreement.
Anticipated revenue from the deals was expected to help keep utility rates stable and contribute an additional $8 million to $10 million to fund special city projects.
But as the crypto market began crashing in this fall, Core Scientific filed for bankruptcy in December, and its stock price has dropped below 8 cents. That’s left Denton utility customers hanging in the balance, with an additional increase in utility rates possible without the expected revenue from Core Scientific. Though city officials have said they don’t anticipate any changes to the company’s Denton operation, we’ll be keeping an eye on the situation as it develops.
Providence Village HUD investigation
In June, the Providence Homeowners Association passed new leasing rules that would restrict renters with Section 8 Housing Choice vouchers from living in their neighborhood. The ban, which impacted 157 majority-Black households, originally sought to fine landlords $300 weekly for housing Section 8 tenants. Public backlash eventually led to the HOA pulling back and first saying they would allow landlords time to comply with the ban, later saying tenants could finish current leases, and eventually halting the restriction altogether following the launch of an investigation by Housing and Urban Development.
The ban and subsequent investigation have the potential to set precedent for what powers Texas HOAs have to indirectly restrict contracts between private landlords and tenants, so while no information is being released during the active investigation, we’ll be watching the outcome closely.
Brown on the Square
Providence Village HOA’s leasing rules weren’t the only thing to draw controversy this year. Brown on the Square, a proposed $100 million redevelopment of downtown Denton, brought less–than–enthusiastic reactions from many locals on social media.
Marketed as an entertainment and lifestyle destination, the idea for the multi-building complex was brought to the public in April by Scott Brown Commercial. It would center around the Wells Fargo building and bring a 10-story, 186-room boutique hotel, a 400-space public parking garage and a 50,000-square-foot rooftop entertainment venue to the four blocks surrounding it.
Following the April presentation, no public updates on the project have been released, and no permit or other development applications had been filed with the city when the Denton Record-Chronicle last checked Dec. 27. With such a significant potential impact on downtown, this project, if it materializes, is one we’ll definitely be following.
New developments, and expansions on old ones
Lots of new developments are expected to bring more housing and retail options to Denton in the new year.
Twelve additional retail buildings will come to 54 acres in Rayzor Ranch Town Center following approval by the Planning & Zoning Commission in October. The expansion will include single-story buildings at the southeast corner of Interstate 35 and West University Drive ranging from 6,900 to 88,000 square feet.
Home Depot is also headed to a 12-acre site west of Sam’s Club and north of U.S. Highway 380 at Rayzor Ranch Marketplace. The 106,000-square-foot Home Depot will include an attached 28,000-square-foot garden center.
In residential real estate, 326 single-family homes are headed to the intersection of East McKinney Street and Laney Circle. The 84-acre development will include lots of about 7,500 square feet.
Meanwhile, single-family subdivision Agave Ranch will bring 252 homes to East Sherman Drive in the next few years. The neighborhood, located at 6900 E. Sherman Drive, is expected to include three-, four- and five-bedroom homes with prices between $400,000 and $550,000, according to information released in May.
With so many new changes headed to Denton in 2023, the Record–Chronicle will be tracking how the city’s evolving landscape will impact residents.