At a public meeting earlier this month, San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz discusses re-development proposals for Springtown Mall. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
The re-development of Springtown Mall will be discussed, but not acted upon, at Tuesday’s meeting of the San Marcos City Council.
The agenda lists only a “status report on Springtown Mall by (Mayor) Susan Narvaiz.” The mayor had planned to bring the matter to a vote of the council Tuesday night, announcing that intention as far back as a public meeting on the matter on Feb. 25.
However, as Narvaiz acknowledged at a March 2 city council meeting, the deal has a lot of “moving parts.” The property owned by Lamy-Springtown Mall, Ltd., and mortgaged by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans was listed for foreclosure in February.
At the city council meeting earlier this month, Narvaiz said the deal would involve a city incentive of no more than $3 million to Lamy-Springtown, which wouldn’t require the city to provide money up front. Instead, the property owner would receive the money from the increased taxes the property would generate.
Even then, though, the particulars of the deal were in flux. By the time the city posted its city council agenda last Thursday, the staff was in no position to propose a deal for the city council to consider.
The city council was going to be asked on Feb. 16 to approve a $2.5 million loan for Triple Tap Ventures, which owns the San Marcos franchising rights for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Triple Tap was to place an Alamo Draft House in the old Best Buy building at Springtown and pay the loan back in ten years from the incremental tax increase.
However, the city announced that it would hold off on that vote because citizens had been unable to access the information on the city council agenda. The council did receive a formal briefing on the proposal for the first time that night.
Since the Feb. 16 meeting, Narvaiz has discussed the matter at one city council meeting and held three public meetings to discuss the project, 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.
Two similar proposals were to go before the council last summer. The first was a $5 million interest-free loan to the Springtown property owners, who would have been required to redevelop the property and pay the loan over 23 years. The proposal was unanimously shot down by councilmembers after much resident uproar.
The developers later pulled a second request for a $3.9 million loan with a maximum six-percent interest rate for the duration of the six-year loan. From 2011 through 2016, the city would have rebated 50 percent of the project’s generated city sales tax above the vacant Springtown Mall’s current levels. That money would have defrayed the developer’s interest payments and provided up to $600,000 for architectural enhancements.Email | Print