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Rowlett Leaders Looking To Get Bayside Dream Back On Track

ROWLETT, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The city of Rowlett held a town hall meeting Monday evening to update residents about the high-profile $1 billion Bayside project that's been stuck in legal limbo.

Approximately 125 people showed up.

Collin Armstead was among the residents excited about the potential.

"That whole area out there is prime real estate. It's just been sitting there. I'd like something nice to be done where everyone can use it," said Armstead.

The city filed a lawsuit in January after the project's developer changed its mind about some key features, including the Crystal Lagoon and a show fountain.

But now, both sides have reached an agreement that would allow the city to buy the land and have a new developer build the project.

The city of Rowlett still has bold plans for land along a picturesque Lake Ray Hubbard.

The latest rendering shows the Crystal Lagoon, featuring a beach, paddle and other boats and a show fountain.

Bayside development plan in Rowlett
Bayside development plan in Rowlett (City of Rowlett)

A resort and conference center, retail shops, offices and condos are also part of the proposal, and the existing marina with 1,000 boat slips will get a makeover, too.

They were all part of the original project approved in 2015.

But last year, the developer said the lagoon and fountain were no longer feasible, and that led the city to file a lawsuit in January.

Brian Funderburk, Rowlett's City Manager said, "You have to have the amenities to attract people and make them want to stay there. Part of our goal was if they went to Bayside there would be no reason for them to ever leave."

To make room for the new developer, the city is pushing aside the lawsuit after the original developer agreed to sell the land south of I-30 for $37 million along with licensing rights to the Crystal Lagoon.

Funderburk says the new developer would pay for the land and for building the project, but would receive some tax incentives.

The original developer will maintain control of the land along Dalrock Road and Lake Ray Hubbard north of I-30, which has single family homes, condos and apartments including those built by W3 Luxury Living.

Rowlett resident Jeff Winget said, "I think there's a long way to go but overall, I'm very, very optimistic about what the future has in store for the Bayside development."

Winget recently started a campaign in support of the project called Build Our Bayside.

"For me, this is my town, I love Rowlett, I love the people that are here," said Winget.

The city has until July 8 to negotiate the deal with the new developer.

If it's a go, the lawsuit against the original developer will be dropped and the project will eventually get a new name.

If there's no deal, the lawsuit against the original developer is back on.

Andrea Lucia contributed to this report.

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