San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 24th, 2010
Narvaiz to hold Saturday Springtown session

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San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz. City of San Marcos photo.

STAFF REPORT

San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz announced Wednesday that she will hold  a “public education forum” on economic development, the redevelopment of Springtown Mall and the Alamo Drafthouse proposal Saturday at City Hall.

The session will begin at 10 a.m.

The city is considering a $2.5 million loan, interest free, to Triple Tap Ventures, which would place an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in the former Best Buy building at Springtown Mall. Triple Tap wouldn’t pay back the loan, but the city would accept as repayment a portion of the increased taxes generated from property improvements. At last week’s San Marcos City Council meeting, Narvaiz characterized the proposal as a “grant.”

The public is invited to attend in the city council chambers. Narvaiz said she will conduct several similar sessions during the next few weeks.

“We want to have community discussions on the big picture of economic development in San Marcos,” Narvaiz said. “The city council’s goal is to support economic development that improves our economy and creates jobs. This briefing will give us the opportunity to discuss issues associated with redevelopment — including the impact if redevelopment doesn’t happen.”

The briefing will include information on past economic development initiatives, what redevelopment involves, and Mall proposals.

At its meeting last week, the city council tabled the $2.5 million incentive proposal to Triple Tap. Similar proposals for the Springtown Mall redevelopment failed last summer after citizens objected to the terms.

Lamy-Springtown Mall went into foreclosure on two parcels of the Springtown property in February.

The newest proposal is not specifically on the city council’s agenda for next Tuesday, though deliberations about “possible incentives to entities considering locating or expanding in the San Marcos community” are on the executive session portion of the agenda. An item on the open meeting agenda calls for the council to consider possible action on matters discussed in executive session.

The Saturday session is not a city council meeting, so no action will be taken. However, the meeting has been posted by the city clerk for a potential city council quorum.

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0 thoughts on “Narvaiz to hold Saturday Springtown session

  1. I just read that Austin is offering $200,000 to Facebook, to open a new facility, with 200 jobs @ $54k per year. The deal also includes $1.4 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund.

    Hmm, $2.5 million for a bar/movie theater, or $1.6 million, for 200 tech jobs – which sounds like economic development to you?

    Also, the Texas Enterprise Fund, according to the Governor’s website:

    “provides the state’s leaders with a “deal closing fund” that has the flexibility and financial resources to help strengthen the state’s economy. The fund can be used for a variety of economic development projects including infrastructure and community development, job training programs and business incentives. Before funds can be awarded, the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker must unanimously agree to support the use of the TEF for each specific project. ”

    Are we tapping into this fund? Are we even aware of it?

  2. Ted, the Texas Enterprise Fund was used to help recruit the Grifol’s company and the 200+ jobs that will pay $40K/yr. The city contributed less money than some want to grant Alamo Drafthouse.

  3. Maybe we should up the anti. I would be willing to give $2.5 million to have have facebook move into Springtown.

  4. Plus the $1.4 million from the state. That’s more than double Austin’s offer. Sadly, that opportunity has passed, but it does illustrate the sorts of things that are possible, with this kind of money.

    Interestingly, the Grifols deal involves a rebate from the city, of approximately $1.8 million in taxes. Are we proposing that the city considers Alamo Drafthouse to be 50% more valuable to the city?

  5. My last post may have been a tad flippant, but it was to make a point. Those are the things, the ONLY THINGS tax payer incentives should be used for.

    The thing that bothers me about this whole exercise is the air of desperation. Not to mention that it was ill-advised incentives to Target and Penny’s that helped cause this whole problem. We are not some town in Michigan with empty factories and 20% unemployment. For all our problems, compared to most the rest of the country we are in fantastic shape here. If Springtown sits empty for the next 3, 4 or 5 years it is not going to be the end of the world. After all the old First State Bank building and the Too Bitter sat empty for decades and somehow downtown San Marcos survived. I find this whole rush by the mayor to get something, anything into Springtown to be demeaning to this community. If Triple Tap Ventures wants to build an Alamo Drafthouse with their own money, great. But we should not use taxpayer incentives until something worthy comes along.

  6. Those of us who work in Springtown at the present would like to see anything that builds our business come into Springtown, the sooner the better. We have had a terrible downturn in the last year and need some traffic in the center to keep our businesses open. It would’ve been nice to know that Target had no intention of staying there more than 10 years when we opened, but since we’re past that, bring us some business, with or without the city’s help. The center is starting to really deteriorate both business-wise and physically. The people who live in the area are missing access to businesses close to home. So for lack of a better way to say it, just get something in here before all the stores close for good and all the Springtown employees lose their jobs.

  7. Well, the council chamber was packed, standing room only, for the 2 hour meeting today. We did learn that City Council gave staff direction to still come back with a modified $2.5 million dollar package. What we won’t know until the next Council meeting are the details of the new proposed deal our city leaders want to make with Triple Tap.

    Also in the presentation it was stated that we are “only” in long term debt at the rate of 2.5% of our total taxable base, versus the 5% cap the City Council set a few years ago, versus the 10% cap the State of Texas recommends as maximum.

    Frankly, with the way the economy is now and for the near-term, I think our debt should be less than 2.5% (and remember we’re already well over $240 million in debt, that’s a lot of money). With the economic reality of present day, why shouldn’t we as a community figure out how to live within our means, without taking on further debt? How many of us personally are going out there significantly increasing our family long-term indebtedness?

    There were a lot of unanswered questions from the people attending today’s meeting (relatively speaking, we didn’t have enough time for Q&A, majority of the time was a presentation on economic development and the local history therein).

    I hope we see more discussion meetings held in the future. Today was a decent first step by our city leaders towards engaging the community on tough issues. Thanks to everybody involved in preparing for the meeting, and those of us attending, too!

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