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A Conversation With ... Bryan Magers

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Tell us about Bryan Properties, which you founded in 1985.
We have apartments, duplexes and single-family houses in Springfield, Nixa, Ozark and Lebanon. … We have several hundred altogether.

Your plans for a $20 million residential and commercial redevelopment near Missouri State University were approved at the Jan. 10 Springfield City Council meeting. What led to your decision to redevelop the area near MSU?
I have been putting this together for 25 years, and I built two (apartment complexes), all brick, 18-unit, two-bedroom, two-bath apartments on the site. One was 15 years ago, and the other was around 10 years ago. Then I bought the fraternity house and have had two different fraternities in there. Slowly, I would buy a home and the neighbors would call and say they’d like to sell, and it just kept growing. I would say the reality started taking place around 15 years ago that if I were patient, I’d be able to buy some properties together and tear them down and build a really nice structure there.

Your plan calls for a mixed-use complex, with apartments and first-floor commercial space. What do you hope to do in Phase I, and what will happen after that?
The first thing I have to do is find a partner. I have put a lot of money in this area just to keep it going, and a project this size is going to require me to have somebody that also shares my vision for the area. … Until I find a partner, I will be just waiting and (running) the business over there as we’ve been running (it). We will be renting to college students this spring, as usual, and I will be paying down the debt. (There would be) about 6,000 (square feet) to 6,500 square feet of commercial space in Phase I. Then we will have four-bedroom units with around 1,500 square feet, four baths, living rooms, nice kitchens, utilities, cable, trash and all furnished.

In seeking the tax abatement and presenting the redevelopment plans, did you acknowledge to city leaders that you were looking for a partner?
Yes, from the very beginning. I’ve always mentioned that because that’s what I hope happens through all this. (The tax abatement) would just make it more attractive to an investor.

Have you been talking to potential investors about this project?
No, I have not. It has come a lot quicker than I thought, and I haven’t had the opportunity to visit with anyone. Really, I haven’t figured out how to structure it, and we are just getting our costs together with the architect on what the preliminary costs would be.

How large could this development be, and when could the first phase be done?
We have the possibility that, if everything goes well, to have 800 beds, and if we add to the retail (with the possibility of Phase III) then we’d have … around 12,000 square feet in retail and 150 to 200 actual apartments. We may change that to two bedrooms on (some). We are going to talk about that in a couple of weeks. I would hope to be open by August 2012 on the first phase. Realistically, it may be spring of 2013. I would say construction (would need to begin) by January 2012 to be ready by August.

What was your reaction to Cindy Rushefsky’s criticism of your history managing housing near MSU?
I was a little disappointed, but she certainly has the right to say anything she wants to. I know she does a good job for the council.
And, if there is something that we need to do better, we will try to do better. We are certainly not perfect. We will take those comments and see if we can improve our operation.
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