ACU announces plans for Allen Ridge development

Posted May 22, 2015

The northeast corner of Abilene Christian University’s property, adjacent to its main campus, could soon become a signature entryway into an award-winning city as well as to its largest institution of higher learning.

ACU announced today that its wholly owned endowment management subsidiary, ACIMCO, has partnered with BVTD Partners LLC of Dallas to complete final feasibility assessment for a mixed-use lifestyle center to be known as The Village at Allen Ridge.

Located at the intersections of Ambler Avenue, Interstate 20 and Judge Ely Boulevard, the 95-acre masterplanned, mixed-use development would be a super-regional shopping, leisure, hotel and residential village with an impressive amenity package including a cinema, a 50-acre park with trails, and waterfront outdoor dining on a small lake. The site was previously the home of ACU’s historic Allen Farm.

“We are thrilled to team with ACU to bring to the community perhaps its first truly mixed-use real estate project,” said Tony Chron, one of the principals of BVTD Partners and a 1976 ACU graduate. “We envision this would create a vibrant walkable destination for residents of and visitors to Abilene. It would be a place where people would want to live, shop, dine and spend their leisure time. Its proximity to the interstate and to ACU would make it perfectly situated to become Abilene’s front door.”

Kelly Young, ACIMCO vice president for real estate development, said ACU for several years has wanted to support the creation of a fresh, sophisticated and inviting lifestyle village to enhance Abilene’s university and medical center neighborhoods on the north side of the city. “Besides providing a destination place for area residents and visitors to enjoy, The Village at Allen Ridge could help attract new businesses to Abilene,” Young said.

Abilene has seen exponential growth in new hotels over the past decade, supported in part by universities such as ACU that attract tens of thousands of visitors each year for intercollegiate athletics and other special events. The new development would be situated near the proposed site on Ambler Avenue for Wildcat Stadium, ACU’s first on-campus venue for football in more than 50 years.

BVTD Partners was established in 2014 and is focused on retail, multifamily and mixed-use developments throughout the South Central United States. The company is led by Chron and Steve May, who have more than 40 years of real estate experience and $3 billion in transactions between them. If final feasibility studies continue to show promise, ACU and BVTD Partners hope to make a decision on moving ahead in the next few months.

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