Irving Severing Ties With Heritage Crossing Developer

City entering mediation process to end contract early

The Irving City Council is cutting ties with a Lubbock developer it hired to help revitalize downtown.

The council voted Monday to end all business ties with Delbert McDougal.

His Heritage District LLC has been preparing Heritage Crossing, a 640-acre area in and around downtown, for development.

"He was paid $650,000 over five years," City Manager Tommy Gonzalez said. "When you add in the expenses and you add in the third-party costs related to doing that -- you know, acquiring all the properties -- it's a little under $1.4 million."

Residents have raised concerns about taxpayer money being spent to pay for unneeded expenses.

"He's never met a deadline," former Mayor Marvin Randle said. "I didn't see how it could work. I don't know why the council did this. All of the things that McDougal has done, in my opinion, could've been done by staff people in the city."

The city said it purchased 85 properties during its partnership with McDougal. Many of those properties are ready for development.

Empty plots of land fill the area, and Irving residents say they haven't seen much progress.

The City Council paid McDougal's property taxes in November. The bills were due again this week, but, in a special session, the council voted against doing so again.

"We're mediating it, and we're throwing everything into the mediation process in terms of also looking at ending the contract sooner," Gonzalez said.

The City Council also voted to hire an attorney to assist with the mediation process.

Some residents have been pushing for the city to end its relationship with McDougal.

"He's not been able to bring anything out of the ground," former Councilwoman Joyce Howard Pittman said. "All he's done so far is demolition."

Mayor Beth Van Duyne and the City Council hope to move forward and approach new developers once the mediation is finalized.

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