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

March 4th, 2010
Springtown Mall proposal remains in negotiations

030410springtownThe San Marcos City Council discusses the Springtown Mall proposal in executive session Tuesday night. Photo by Andy Sevilla.

By ANDY SEVILLA
Associate Editor

Following an executive session briefing of the San Marcos City Council about incentive proposals for Springtown Center Tuesday night, San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz indicated that the basics of the possible deal have changed, and the final form remains in negotiating flux.

The details of the proposal have yet to be released to the public because, Narvaiz said, the proposal still involves a lot of “moving parts.” However, Narvaiz said, the proposal no longer is a $2.5 million loan to Triple Tap Ventures, the franchisers of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, but a grant of up to $3 million in future taxes from the property with no up-front cost to the city. Further, Narvaiz said, the recipient would be the property developer, Lamy-Springtown Mall, Ltd., which was listed for foreclosure in February.

“(The proposal is) directly with the developer,” Narvaiz said, “because we wanted to address other things, as far as being able to put in … performance requests … that we talked about.”

Narvaiz said the new proposal is a Chapter 380 agreement that would provide Lamy-Springtown Mall, Ltd., with more than $2.5 million in tax abatements. She said the incentives would not surpass $3 million.

“It’s not a loan,” Narvaiz said. “It’s a sales tax policy rebate… It’s still predicated over the increase, so we’re not losing anything. We’re not writing a check… It may be a little bit more (than $2.5 million), because we’re calculating in, since they’re going to have to get a loan, (the) interest on that.”

The city council is expected to vote on a proposal on March 23, after Narvaiz has conducted two more public meetings to discuss the matter with citizens.

Narvaiz said the new proposal has some “particulars in it that I think everybody will be pleased with.” She said it specifies that the Alamo Drafthouse will be the anchor tenant. Narvaiz said the proposal also stipulates allowable percentage space for bars, and overall has “a longer list of things” the city demands, including public use structures.

“There is still a lot of moving parts here,” Narvaiz said. “The lender could still go into foreclosure. There are still some things that could happen. So, that’s why I’m saying that we anticipate that what we’ve offered, and where we’re at, will come back on March 23 (for a vote).”

Narvaiz said that if the proposal moves forward, no more incentives will be offered to the developers or future tenants.

“This will be the only agreement that will be done with anyone that locates in Springtown,” Narvaiz said. “So whether we work with the developer and they bring people, it prohibits anyone else coming to get any incentives for Springtown … This total amount will be all that we do to help that revitalization.”

Narvaiz will hold another two public forums on economic development before the scheduled vote on the Springtown Center incentives comes before council on March 23. The next session will be held on March 7, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mariposa Apartment Homes, located at 2600 Hunter Road. Another event will take place on March 9, at 6 p.m. in the San Marcos Activity Center at 501 East Hopkins Street.

“The sessions, I think are good, because there is an education on economic development, community redevelopment and why, why we do these things,” Narvaiz said. “On this deal (Springtown Center proposal), I would just say that we’re doing our level best to try and deal with a blighted property and keep those small businesses from going out of business in a period of time. But we’re not there yet, we’re not across the finish line. But we’ve negotiated to a place where it’s not money coming out of our coffers. It’s on the increase, and it’s based on new monies coming in.”

On Feb. 16, councilmembers were going to be asked to approve a $2.5 million loan to be paid back in 10 years using the increased tax revenue brought in by an Alamo Draft House proposed for the old Best Buy building in the Springtown Center. But, coming out of executive session that night, Narvaiz announced that a vote on the proposal had been tabled after technical difficulties prevented San Marcos residents from accessing back-up information on the matter until just hours before the meeting was to take place. Narvaiz also said that the Feb. 16 meeting was the first time all the councilmembers discussed the proposal.

Narvaiz held a public meeting at City Hall on Feb. 27, arguing that Springtown should be approached as a redevelopment project, rather than as an economic development project. Narvaiz said the Alamo Drafthouse incentive wouldn’t be intended address employment so much as redeveloping the mall, keeping the existing businesses afloat, and reducing crime and blight.

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0 thoughts on “Springtown Mall proposal remains in negotiations

  1. Where are the stories on this past Tuesday’s Council meeting? San Marcos Local News. if you really want to do the local community a service, you really should consider having a City Council report on the Wednesday after the council meeting to let the public know what happened. I know, we can watch it on TV. What if we only have satellite TV? I know, we can watch it on the internet. What if we are not home when it is airing? It would be nice to have a news story on what went on.

    I know on this last one there was the issue of the micro chipping. I have not found a story about what happened with that yet. Maybe I missed it. What about the deal where the council voted to buy a foreclosed house and basically flip it? Oh, btw, they got in a “bid” situation and had to pay more than the asking price is what I was told. Basically, they used our tax money to outbid a private buyer! All so they could sell the house to someone who could not otherwise qualify! This is what I heard but it may all be wrong. it would be nice to see a story on it, though.

  2. It sure would be nice to have a local news service that actually reported on these things.

    What the hell is the city of San Marcos doing using taxpayer money to outbid a private party on a house? Was the private party by any chance a local? That would be really good, using tax payer money to compete with a taxpayer. Was the vote close on this one at least? I did not see it and only heard about it through the grapevine. What about the micro chipping? Was that vote unanimous or a split vote? Inquiring minds want to know!

  3. I guess the City of SM getting into the real estate business with taxpayer money is not newsworthy. There is nothing about it here, the Mercury, or the Daily Record. So much for local news.

  4. In defense of Newstreamz, the city made sure to load up the agenda on ELECTION night. The media outlets were scrambling on many fronts, and many people were participating in their local elections and precinct conventions. I had spoken with the publisher and editor last Saturday, and they were not sure if they would be able to give full coverage.

    We, the citizens, got steamrolled on numerous fronts on Tuesday night. Welcome to the game of local politics, and being ever vigilant in watching the city calendar.

    The RFID was a second hearing that had gotten snuck in, and no public comment was allowed. I did leave a written comment for the council. The word I have is that this was not considered as “mandatory”, and was passed. I have not seen the roll call vote yet.

    BTW, if you read the item on the home buyouts, that money does not include the fees and commissions that will go to whoever is working with the city.

    I would welcome some followup from Newstreamz (SMLN) on specifics on these issues raised that are very newsworthy, and of interest to your readers.

  5. As much I love Alamo Drafthouse, this is still corporate welfare. Maybe SM wouldn’t need to redevelop Springtown if the City hadn’t relocated the previous tenants.

    Also, there must be some quid pro quo going on with the whole RFID vote. I guess 400 people showing up didn’t get their attention the first time.

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