City to be remade … totally!

The Princeton (Texas) City Council has delivered a decision that is bound to change the rapidly changing profile of the city even more dramatically than any decision made in many decades.

The council approved a zone change for a 91-acre parcel of land north of U.S. 380 and west of Beauchamp Boulevard that signals the beginning of a new 36-store (for now) shopping complex.

It’s a huge deal, man. I mean, it is — shall we say — really huge!

But with any major piece of economic news such as this, there must be an examination of the concerns it likely will bring. I’ll get to that in a second.

The development will bring major retail outlets such as Market Street, Hobby Lobby, Mashall’s and Lowe’s to Princeton. It also will add a huge number of smaller businesses throughout the complex. Officials expect the complex to generate about 1,500 new jobs, generating about $225 million annually in sales.

Developers plan to begin site preparation this summer. They hope to open some of the outlets by 2026.

Now, what about the downside?

It’s a big concern, man. U.S. 380 already is jampacked with vehicles during morning and late-afternoon rush hours. One must ask: What is the addition of all that traffic going to do to the traffic (non)flow  during those times?

The Texas Department of Transportation is planning to construct a highway bypass around Princeton. When will that occur and when will it be finished? Well, I don’t expect to live long enough to see that massive traffic project completed.

“This is something that will forever change the landscape of our city,” Mayor Brianna Chacon said, according to the Princeton Herald.

Indeed, the city’s municipal landscape already is changing rapidly, with the enormous growth that is occurring here. The population signs noting 17,027 residents living here after the 2020 Census already is grossly out of date. Many experts peg the city’s current population at slightly less than 30,000 residents.

Someone recently posted a social media message noting the pending arrival of these businesses. Then I heard some chatter around town from folks asking, “Where are they going to put all those stores?”

Well … now we know.