Matt KeltonPioneer Sentinel
Victron Energy of Waxahachie, a fuel distributor and real estate development company, has announced plans for a $4.5 million travel center to be constructed at the intersection of Hwy. 148 South and Hwy. 287 in Henrietta.
The announcement was made Monday during a joint meeting of the Henrietta City Council and Henrietta Growth Corporation. The travel center will be located on the northeast corner of Hwy. 148 South and the Hwy. 287 access road.
The Texas Best Smokehouse will include a 12,000-14,000 square-foot building, housing a convenience store, restaurant and gift shop, while also providing fuel and tractor-trailer parking. Included in plans for the 20-acre property will be a separate fast food restaurant. Ken Bacas, vice president of business development for Victron Energy, said a nationally recognized chain has shown interest in the stand-alone restaurant.
“We started working on basically Hwy. 287, and we started in Tarrant County,” Said Bacas, describing how Victron Energy decided to develop a property in Henrietta. “We drove, and we looked, and we probed, and we found this really nice property in Henrietta, Texas, and it met our criteria.”
Bacas said the travel center will provide a minimum of 20 full-time jobs.
“We love Texas, and small-town Texas. This town just perfectly met our criteria for growth,” Bacas continued. “We do well in towns like this. We love to employ people from towns like this. Store managers and QSR (restaurant) managers are from the town, generally, and it’s just something that really works well for us.”
In a unanimous vote, the city council approved application for a $257,000 Community Development Block Grant to provide improved infrastructure for the facility. If awarded, the grant will cover the installation of an 8-inch water main along South Graham Street to the former Leal’s Restaurant and east along the Hwy. 287 access road. The line will tie into existing mains located behind Blue Ridge Exotic Transporters to the north and C&S Fun Center to the east.
“We have a lacking infrastructure on that corner,” said Rick Langford, economic development director for the City of Henrietta. “We have sewer all the way up and down (Hwy.) 287, and around the corner, but we do not have sufficient water lines to service that property.”
The sewer lines were paid for through a Community Development Block Grant in 2005 as part of a package to develop the Best Western Henrietta Inn and Suites, noted Langford.
A portion of the additional grant funds, if approved, could be used to move water meter locations for homes located east of the travel center site.
The site encompasses three properties purchased through Heritage Real Estate of Henrietta.
Victron Energy will begin construction within 90 days, and hopes to have the travel center completed by the end of the year. The company owns 150 travel centers, convenience stores and car washes throughout the North Texas region.