- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Construction will begin this year on a 125-bed hospital and a 1930’s-era shopping mall on the southeast loop “with lots of restaurants,” the builder confirmed on Saturday to eParisExtra!
The Paris Lakes Hospital and Paris Lakes Shopping Center will be built at a cost of about $300 million on 100 acres on the east side of Southeast Loop 286, a short distance south of U.S. 271-South.
“I’ve done this all over the world; it’s my first time to ever do it at home,” said Ron Parker, who lives 15 miles southeast of Paris, near the community of Detroit.
Parker, 59, owns Wildcat Creek Quail Hunting Resort off Farm Road 410 south of Detroit, but he has spent his life building luxury resorts around the globe.
The shopping center he’s building in Paris is “the nicest thing I’ve ever taken on as an individual,” Parker said.
Construction will begin in November and will take about 16 months to complete, Parker said.
Then, Phase II of the project will kick in – a retirement community, a 180-home residential subdivision, and a lighted par-3 golf course on 400 acres on the back side of the property. The price tag for it is another $200 million to $300 million.
Steve Gilbert, executive director of the Paris Economic Development Corporation, said Paris Lakes Development is planning a shopping center that will rival any in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“It’s going to be a destination for people. I think it’s just going to be cool. It’s going to be really great,” Gilbert said.
Parker noted that in addition to about 1,000 workers who will be employed at the hospital and shopping center, some 1,500 construction workers will be needed. Their job will last for at least five years and perhaps twice that long, he said.
“They’ve got to eat, and many of them will be staying in local hotels,” Parker said.
“Obviously, this kind of investment in the city is huge,” Gilbert said.
“Analysis we have done shows that people from Paris are going to Sherman and Rockwall and Greenville to eat and shop. So we know there is a need here for more restaurants and shopping,” Gilbert said.
“The second thing is, this kind of investment in the city … I mean, this is a private investment. These guys are going to pay taxes on it. There’s going to be retail and commercial expenditures that will generate additional sales tax for the community,” Gilbert said.
The land on which Paris Lakes will be built was once a rolling, wooded tract with two ponds.
“We want to use chip-and-seal roads, so it will look like it did back in the 1920’s and 1930’s. No curbs, no concrete. The mall is an indoor-outdoor mall. Street lights will be on wooden timbers, with the old lamps that hang down,” Parker said.
“There’ll be a lot of stone, a lot of wooden structure posts, a lot of fountains – the old water well-looking fountains – stuff like that. It’s going to be a park setting, so that when you’re strolling through you can just walk into a shop from either side of the building. Outside, you can walk up and under covered walkways, or you can walk out in the sun if you want to,” Parker said.
“It will be a destination shopping center. It’s a place where you can drop someone off at the hospital, and instead of sitting in the waiting room, have the kids go to the shopping center.
“They’re going to go to the Subway sandwich shop, or they’re going to the Lunch Room. I’ve got a restaurant sold; it’s called the Lunch Room, and it will have breakfast and lunch.”
The shopping mall will have “lots of restaurants,” including the Wildcat Creek Steakhouse, owned by Parker, which will hang over one of the lakes.
“We’re trying to get lined up with (a well-known restaurant) for that building,” Parker said, pointing to a building on the map. “But don’t mention their name because we don’t have it done.”
“There’s also a duck pond and walking trail,” he said.
“We’re going to utilize the setting, all these existing trees that we can. The nice thing is, we’re built on a hillside, a perfect slope,” with a fall of about 45 feet over 800 yards.
Parker praised the PEDC, and Gilbert, for their help over the past two years.
Some months ago, the PEDC awarded Paris Lakes Development an infrastructure assistance grant in the amount of $250,000 to offset the cost of getting the site connected to the city sewer system.
“Steve has been very instrumental in helping put all of this together,” Parker said. “The PEDC has been a big help with opening doors and making things happen, as far as expediting the sewer situation and introducing me to people.”
Gilbert noted that the project will add millions of dollars to the tax rolls of the City of Paris, Lamar County and Paris Junior College. The front 100 acres is in the Paris city limits; the back 400 acres is just out of the city limits.
Parker said he has asked the City of Paris to annex the back 400 acres so that all 500 acres will be in the city limits.
Currently, the back 400 acres is in the Prairiland school district, he said.
Parker said prices for homes in the planned residential subdivision will “start at $130,000 and go as high as the multi-millions.” By annexing the back 400 acres into the city, the ad valorem taxes off those properties also would go to not only Lamar County but also to the city and PJC.
Initially, Parker was thinking primarily in terms of the shopping center.
Then, Gilbert put him in touch with two men who he thought could be persuaded to put in a store at the shopping center.
Instead, they asked Parker to build a 125-bed, state-of-the-art hospital and put it in the the shopping center. They said investing in hospitals was what they did.
“I said OK, because that’s what I do for a living. I’m a builder,” Parker said.
Once the hospital became part of the project, several doctors expressed interest in moving their medical offices to the shopping center.
In the shopping center plans now are a ‘physicians’ village’; a medical retail building; an urgent care center, a medical office building; and a “healing garden.”
“We’ve got six doctor’s clinics leased already,” Parker said.
A retirement village was a natural addition as well. It will provide for the four stages of retirement life.
“There will be private homes where you can live independently, but still inside the facility. There’ll be private homes with assisted living, and there will be apartments with assisted living, and then you’ll have a nursing center, complete with an Alzheimer’s unit.
Each unit will have a “call buddy,” a button that a resident can push to summon help — like if the resident fell and couldn’t get up.
“Then you have the assisted living, where someone will come by and call on you each day, but you’ll still do your own laundry, still clean your own house. Someone would mow your lawn. If you needed someone to take you to the grocery store or to the doctor’s office, if you can’t drive. If you fall, or if you want somebody to move a picture on the wall, they’ll take care of those kind of things,” Parker said.
“If you get where you can’t medicate yourself, but you want to live by yourself, you’ll move to the next stage.”
Parker said Paris-area residents will be invited to become shareholders in the project.
“We have not gone out public yet. We’ve got original investors, though – about 35 already, including 25 people who wrote out $300,000 checks,” Parker said.
“You can buy a share in three different functions – the real estate, the management and the equipment. If you participate in all three things, it’s a $300,000 value. You get your investment back in three years, and after seven years the projected payback is $840,000.”
The share holders will get a share of the rental property.
“We rent the hospital to the hospital operators, and the shareholders get a share of that,” Parker said.
Investments of $250,000 and $125,000 are also available.
“On the $125,000 investment, you get your $125,000 back in three years, then you get back a projected $396,000 in seven years. After that, you get paid each year,” Parker said.
The money to build the Paris Lakes development already is assured for whatever money does not come in from the investment of local money, Parker said.
“I don’t have anybody invested that doesn’t live in Paris or the surrounding area. So it’s going to keep money in Paris, he said.
Anyone interested in becoming a shareholder can contact Parker at 903-246-2590 or reach him by e-mail at Ron.Parker@ccbglobal.net.
“For 20-plus years, maybe more, we’ve not seen a population increase in this city. I think this is the first step to change that,” Gilbert said.
“I really think with this project, we’re going to start to see our retail corridor extend around on that southeast loop and on around to the south loop, near the new high school,” the PEDC executive director said.
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