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

January 19th, 2011
StoneCreek Crossing set for February foreclosure

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JC Penny at StoneCreek Crossing. Photo by Sean Batura.

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

StoneCreek Crossing, the southside shopping center that received $6 million in incentives from the city — including a $4 million incentive in late 2008 — is listed for sale in a foreclosure auction to be held at the Hays County Courthouse on Feb. 1.

According to county records, StoneCreek Crossing, LP, executed a promissory note in 2007 that has matured. The promissory note is payable in the original principal amount of $38,642,443 to lender Amegy Bank National Association, which requested that all real property, fixtures, and personal property on the approximately 95 acres at StoneCreek be sold for cash to the highest bidder.

Amy Madison, President and CEO of the Greater San Marcos Economic Development Corporation, said a legal team with the City of San Marcos will “certainly” be looking into the matter today to determine how the foreclosure sale would affect the city’s Chapter 380 development agreement with the StoneCreek Crossing developers.

The Chapter 380 agreement, under which the city offered $6 million in sales tax rebates to the developers, allowed Target, JC Penny and Bealls to move from Springtown Mall to their current location by early 2009.

Springtown, which now is nearly empty, has suffered from economic blight and increased burglaries ever since. Several attempts by the city to incentivize re-development at Springtown have fallen after public opposition.

Madison, who learned of the foreclosure Tuesday and came was not involved with the creation of the Chapter 380 agreement, said she is not sure whether the stores at StoneCreek Crossing have made enough money to trigger the rebates. The terms of the Chapter 380 agreement include city rebates payable only when sales tax revenues increase to a certain point, and are capped.

Madison said the Chapter 380 agreement probably is not transferable to whoever buys StoneCreek Crossing, at least not without council approval.

The terms of the Chapter 380 agreement also include guarantees of improvements to the nearby exit ramps, the access road and drainage. Former Mayor Susan Narvaiz once said the drainage problems in the area would have cost the StoneCreek Crossing developers $4-6 million to fix.

Madison, who attempted to contact the StoneCreek owners without success, said she does not know the precise nature of their financial difficulties.

“Attracting new tenants to a development like this has been challenging,” Madison said. “It speaks to the issue that they’re dealing with right now.”

Madison said the city probably will not be greatly affected by the foreclosure sale. Madison said the foreclosure sale’s major result would be the loss of a relationship cultivated between the city and the StoneCreek Crossing owners.

“It is unfortunate that the owners of StoneCreek Crossing are having these difficulties,” Madison said. “I think they’re really good guys. I’ve enjoyed working with them. They really tried hard. I think they got hit by an unfortunate situation in the marketplace. I just hope that the new buyers will be as involved and have the interests of San Marcos at heart like the previous owners did.”

StoneCreek Crossing owners were not immediately available for comment.

(Editor’s note: The above has been revised to say StoneCreek Crossing received a $4 million incentive from the city in late 2008.)

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61 thoughts on “StoneCreek Crossing set for February foreclosure

  1. The center across the street – Best Buy/Sam’s, is not completely filled, either. It would have been nice, I think, to have one thriving center, rather than two struggling centers.

  2. Further evidence that Government interference in the marketplace exacerbates the underlying problem. Rather than a single shopping complex “going under” we have two. Way to go City Hall.

  3. At least Sam’s/Best Buy didn’t get an economic development agreement. Giving that agreement to Stonecreek put them at a competitive advantage, and they still couldn’t cut it. Red Oak Village may be struggling, but at least he did his project without needing a little corporate welfare doled out by the city.

  4. Who are these “owners of StoneCreek”? I seem to remember a Mr. Golden, son of the high-flying Austin real estate lawyer was involved. Was this their first rodeo? I wonder if Amegy wants the center or if they’d rather give the owners more time and are flexing their muscle. What is the whole center on the tax roles for? All the stores seem crowded when I go. Especially Academy.

  5. All of the stores seem reasonably crowded when I go, except for the empty ones that is. I have no idea how many stores need to be built/occupied for their business model to work, but I suspect that it is more than they have now. I’m just guessing, but I imagine the problem is not Target or Academy or JC Penney not paying their rent, but a rather that there are not enough tenants.

  6. It was listed in January as well. Several portions of the development have been released and are not subject to foreclosure. The real question, and one that only the City can answer is what is the status of the development agreement?

    Take into account the death of Highland Mall in Austin, and it’s a bad time to build retail buildings unless you have the tenants lined up, and locked in before you start.

  7. Ms Madison, developers seldom, if ever, have the best interests of anyone other than themselves in mind.

    Can anyone say Paso Robles?

  8. First, it was reported here (by Winchester, I believe – kudos to you sir) a couple weeks ago that the property had posted in January as well….so why in the world is our Economic Development Director just now hearing about it???? I would understand if it were a small business somewhere in town, but Stone Creek was supposed to be a bellwether for the San Marcos economy.

    Second, I agree with Ted’s assessment of the reason for the foreclosure. Though the anchor tenants out there seem to be doing well, too many of the small spaces and pad sites are vacant. It doesn’t matter how well the full spaces do if their rent doesn’t cover the entire center (and there’s no way it could). This seems like a good place to be if you are in retail, but my bet is that development costs were such that rent is sky-high out there and smaller (non-chain) establishments are priced out from the start. Same thing is happening with Southpark Meadows…..

    Finally, is there a reason that the article doesn’t name these ‘owners of Stone Creek’? It’s not like it’s a great secret (I believe it’s public information, actually) and it would have certainly enhanced the article. I’m no journalism expert but wassupwiddat?

  9. Since the owner is a Limited Partnership, I’d bet the general partner is a corporation. You will have to cut thru all the red tape to actually get the people behind the entity. It’s doable, and a story Newstreamz should follow up on. And did any of them donate funds to election campaigns?

    Another issue that could use some examination is what will the Lender accept as a minimum bid? In other words, how much of the money has been drawn down and not paid back? It may just be me, but I’m not seeing $38,000,000 on the ground there. If all the money has been drawn, where did it go?

    How about what are the details of the incentive agreement? After all those are public funds being handed back to the developer.

  10. Stone Creek definitely looks like the least built out of Direct Development’s properties not sure why they came looking if they didn’t have tenants wanting into San Marcos that weren’t already here (outside of Academy really). Also thought the last handout from the city in 2008 included language about adding an “entertainment” venue to the center. i.e. movie theatre, etc.

    …Troy Aiken could have set up a table to hand out autographs, since he has a “Principal” position with the company, sure our city would have let that qualify. Better yet he could charge to help pay the bills for the center. LOL

  11. In these developments the large lots are usually sold to the anchors like Penney’s and Target at a deep discount to add value to the pad sites. I imagine StoneCreek was no different. Not many of the pad sites have sold. As to $38 million, I could see it quite easily. There was an enormous amount of dirt work shaping that creek, underground utilities, etc. Barnes Drive was 4,000′ long and I believe they had to build it all. The entire development is over 100 acres (scaling from Google Earth).

  12. Bob, if they spent the entire development loan and only got as far along as it is, it’s either very poor budgeting or they were much less risk adverse than the vast majority of developers. In either of thsoe cases, no sympathy from me.

  13. I know a really great spot to reopen those stores, Sprintown Mall. Heck the city will probably give the retailers a great incentive.

  14. Scaling it out it looks like they developed about 120 acres to begin with. The article states 95 acres but I bet at least Target and Penney’s bought their lots so 95 is what hasn’t been released from the note. To get to $38million they must have built some of that strip space on spec.

  15. Now is not the time for the city to be figuring out what the options are with this project. All the possible scenarios should have been fully vetted before the agreement was signed with the center. The first question that the city should have asked was what happens if this deal fails.

    This is what scares me about all the bonds the city has issued or allowed to be issued in the cities name. One of my first questions regarding the Paso Robles bonds was, does the city have any liability for the bonds or debt incured by the developer. I was never able to get anybody at city hall to answer that question.

    Now is the time for the new Mayor, Council and City Manager to show us where they stand on open government. Provide full disclosure on what are the cities liabilities now that the project is going under.

  16. Bob, per the deed and deed of trust. the original parcel was 95.702 acres. 9.834 acres have been released, leaving a total of 85.868 acres. Just the facts Jack.

  17. Well ok Winchester. You clearly have the docs in front of you. I can say for certain that all the property from Gulf Business Forms to McCarty, I-35 to the RR tracks, excluding the car dealer and the houses they didn’t buy on McCarty, totals 120 acres (including the creek). Whether the the $38 million went to develop 95 or 120 you’re right – that’s too much money so they must have built some buildings for that.

  18. Bob may be technically correct. Target and JCP were involved as anchors from the beginning, so their acreage likely was never included in Direct Development’s note. They were under contract before the performance bond for the road/infrastructure was even executed to purchase their two parcels. The 9.8 acres released was likely Academy and the two restaurant pads (Sonic & Panda Express).

  19. Big pictue is, Springtown was foreclosed, Sanctuary was posted for foreclosure, Creek Stone has been posted for foreclosure twice, a portion of one of the outlet malls has been posted, what’s next?

    Follow up questions, how much is the City on the hook for, has the City learned anything from this?

    Ultimately I believe Stone Creek will work. Anchor tenants are in place, location is good, plenty of parking; but much of the same could be said of Springtown.

  20. As for what’s not being foreclosed, I’d have to do some overlays, but just off the top of my head, the buildings are not part of it.

  21. Target, Penny’s Academy, Panda Express, and what ever is directly west of Panda Express are not involved. Nor are other portions of the location that were never mortgaged.

    Bob you are correct. Plese accept my apology, I was focused on the foreclosure rather than the entire development. Thank you for making me realize my mistake.

  22. Real estate deals are gathering moss all over the state. It was slow but now it seems to be moving backwards. On the otherhand, all the newsletters I get are chirping optimism. The local one that continues to amuse me is Blanco Riverwalk, the one just north of the Blanco on the southbound side of I-35. They put in all those roads, etc. Now it looks like the bus drivers are using it for practice.

    Regarding Springtown, my suggestion has been for the city, rather than give subsidies, make massive improvements to Thorpe to facilitate traffic flow. Widen it and improve the intersections with Hopkins and Aquarena. Buy land and construct one or two connecting roads from Thorpe to the frontage road. For tax base and image, I-35 is our front line.

  23. We just had an election for Mayor with candidates squarely on different sides of this exact issue. Guerrero said he was not about to let Stonehenge fail with it being right across the street from the new City conference center, so he voted to give them an additional $4 million incentive. Now that he is Mayor, we could expect him to step in again right?

  24. Or, perhaps he will shift focus to economoc development which will build a foundation of more affluent (or less impoverished) citizens, who can then support these retail developments with their shopping dollars, rather than their tax subsidies.

    It’s a longer-term strategy, but it has a greater chance for real success. Seeing the subsidized retail model crumble before his eyes and seeing the lack of economic progress over the last decade (whatever explanation you buy for it), may just give him and the rest of council pause.

  25. Good to know the John Thomaides campaign think tank is still owning, operating, and writing for the “San Marcos Local News…” The other new media outlets might not be as good as San Marcos’ version of The Inquirer but thankfully they report that ‘not a cent’ of taxpayer money has gone to the Development.

  26. Quoting from above: “Madison … said she is not sure whether the stores at StoneCreek Crossing have made enough money to trigger the rebates. The terms of the Chapter 380 agreement include city rebates payable only when sales tax revenues increase to a certain point, and are capped.”

  27. # 23 Bob- I agree with your last statement. The city hands out too much money to attract new developments while neglecting our outdated, decrepit infrastructure.

    Springtown was a successful shopping center. It was conveniently walking distance for many residents, and well, let’s face it a monopoly for those type of businesses for many years. As the town and number of cars grew however, the city neglected to update the Hopkins/ Thorpe Lane intersection.

    The empty, discarded Springtown gives our town a pathetic, dying look.

  28. Mr. Potter, hope you were not including my humble self in your post as I’ve spoken with Mr Thomaides once, and no longer live in SM, so I can’t vote there.

    As to the rest, I must respond. Yes the other news source said no City money has gone to them, yet. It all hinges on the fourth quarter of 2010, and if you follow retail sales at all, that’s a big big quarter. The real facts are, no one knows if any City money is going to them or not, it remains to be determined. Good reporting would have stated the total sales tax collected in the first three quarters so readers could get a better idea of the possability. Further, the other story also points out the uncertainty of property tax rebates, which is baffling since the values for 2009 and 2010 are known, as are the tax rates. And that other stroy also points out that the City doesn’t know the status of the agreements if the property is foreclosed on; which is also baffling, the City entered into an agreement and doesn’t know what it says.

    So, the task for this site, and others is, print the sales tax revenue figures so we the people can determine the possability of this failed development getting public money.

  29. It’s actually even more complicated than that, for me. What are the tax receipts from Springtown businesses, prior to this move and what are the receipts for Springtown and Stonecreek since? What is the condition of the center across the street? What were the expectations for this development, for San Marcos? Did we meet them? Exceed them?

    I’d just really like to see the city performing post-mortems on these deals, whether money is involved or not, to see what could be done better next time, because *something* could always be done better.

    Ditto for rezoning. Were there any problems once the development was finished? Were the neighbors happy? Did it create a work/live/play environment, like we said it would? What can we do to make it better? What can we do to make the next one better?

    Ditto for housing incentives. Ditto for bar hours. Ditto for any major decision. Ditto for pass-through funding and other creative ways to get infrastructure built. To have no plan to revisit these later and see what went well and what did not, seems like pure folly. Perhaps that review is happening. If so, it would go a long way toward getting the public and our elected leaders on the same page, if the findings of those reviews were presented to the public.

  30. Mr Marchut, thank you for looking at the forest, I was only looking at one tree. And I agree with you.

    In a perfect world, the incentive agreement would have taken into account Springtown sales and property tax revenues as well as Stone Creek. Determine a true net on both of those so the rebate would be based on a true net incress, if any.

  31. FYI: to my knowledge only the Chief Elected Official of a city can request sales tax information from specific businesses, and that information is not subject to Public Information Requests as it would reveal confidential information on store performance. Basically, the public has to rely on the city’s auditor that any payments to Direct Development were appropriate.

    Ted, you are spot-on in the need for the City to conduct after-action reports on policies. It is a problem that is certainly not unique to San Marcos, or even unique to local government, but it needs to be addressed.

  32. I wish I could take credit for thinking of it all by myself, but it is an annual exercise at work, as we plan for the coming year (and beyond). It takes some effort to evaluate where we were, where we are, where we could have been and what we could have done differently, to get to where we could have been. It is a very eye-opening exercise, though.

  33. Also, re: private financial information, it would be simple to obscure this information. If the mayor asked for the tax numbers for all of the businesses and then added them up, nobody would know what amount came from what store.

    If needed, he could even take the pre-move Springtown number and use it as a baseline. Without revealing the actual numbers, he could tell us if we are at 1.5X the pre-move numbers, or 10X, or 0.8X, or whatever.

    Factor in property taxes, get creative and put together a few scenarios without Stonecreek, or with certain efforts to promote/fill Stonecreek, or whatever, to envision what could have been, and you’ve got something to talk about re: what we ought to do this year, to make Stonecreek more successful, to make the best decisions re: other incentives and economic development efforts, etc.

  34. That the information provided so far is, “we don’t know” I suspect the real answer if going to be yes Stone Creek got tax dollars.

    Taken to the logical end, it would be nice to know such things as increase/decrease in payroll, how much of the increase (if any) stays in the city/county. Cost of city/county services. How much the center is purchasing for sources in the city/county.

  35. Winchester, the story out of Plano (JC Penny’s headquarters) says it will close under-performing stores as well as some call-centers, continue shutting down it’s print catalog, etc….. this does NOT include San Marcos where the store in it’s new location is performing quite well. Let’s not start unnecessary rumors.

  36. Mr McCool, when it’s true, it ain’t a rumor. And please note, I never said they were closing the SM store, merely they were closing stores. As for the SM store’s performance, I don’t know if it’s meeting expectations or not; and as the sales tax figures are not readily available have no way of knowing. Bottom line, Penny’s is retrenching, just like a lot of retailers.

  37. The pattern in downsizing retailers is to close their locations in struggling, old mall locations where they often lease rather than own the property. Also, most of these closures will happen in the Northeast and Midwest, which are losing population and also have more of the older, underperforming stores with obsolete designs. Also, they target areas with duplication without potential for growth.

  38. Dont compare this to Paso Robles first of all. Second, lets get a venue out there, Graham central station or midnight rodeo. Nobody eats at Panda express or shops at bealls and Jc penny anymore. Put in an abercrombie or a Dave and Busters, that will wrk. Paso Robles has nothing to do with this. Good try though

  39. Oh but I shall. Another pipedream development wishing to feast upon tax dollars. Mixed use vs commercial, so there are some differences. One being that Stone Creek already has improvements on the ground and is working to build out while PR is still in the planning stages.

    Welcome back Dream, you/ve been MIA. I’ll wager the voters and Council will see the similarities.

  40. Ok a bust at Stonecreek. But does anyone know what is happening at Springtown Mall? Or at Mckinley Place? Really bad planning for these areas. Who is to blame? Will the current council and mayor give out the free money again?

  41. If McKinley Place is struggling, it would be very difficult to make a case that it is not, at least in part, due to the imbalanced playing field created by the Stonecreek deal.

  42. @ Ted. I agree. Why did council agree to the developers and development? What was wrong with Springtown Mall? Nothing as far as I was concerned. If I’m going shopping ( which is rare) and I drive the distance to Stone Creek, well I’d rather go to the Outlet Malls where there are a greater number of retailers and great deals in most cases.But really if I must I go to Mckinley to Ross or Marshalls, call me cheap or frugal. It seems to me that the original land owner(s) and developer(s) made the money on both Mckinley and StoneCreek. Narvaiz and council were not thinking about the city’s future on the StoneCreek deal. Sure it created short term empolyment i.e; construction and manufacturing. Now these places have minimal “full time” employees and a lot of “part time” employees. And we all know that part time is cheaper. I know she (Narvaiz) was heavily influenced by big money. Ok enough about her she’s gone and some are glad and some praised her. I understand Mr. Guerrero likes the idea of more development in San Marcos. So how does a university city like ours keep it’s graduates and citizens employed here? How does one (council) make this a “retirement friendly” city, think Paso Robles. Gated community with golfing and amenities for retirees. How does one mesh the pop culture of university life with relaxed culture of retirement? Is that why Stone Creek was built south? This is still a small city and these will clash, as if it hasn’t already. Too much too soon and now we the taxpayers pay the ultimate price. I hope Guerrero will listen more to its intelectual citizens, like Ted, Winchester and others who can see the really big picture beyond senseless talk of ” this is what you need if you want to be big players in Texas.”

  43. Eddie, I’m far from an intelectual, just grew up in SM, and moved back to Hays County ecause I love the area. Ovr the years I think I’ve picked up a bit of knowledge about grow/development/land use planning/etc. And will admit a prejudice toward the free market when it comes to development, absent a huge public interest/concern, government, in my mind, should stay out of the way when it comes to financing same. If developers wish to reap the reward, they should suffer the consequences.

    You bring out an interesting issue, the clash, or perceived clash, between the younger student population and the older city, or retired population PR hopes to bring in. I don’t believe that clash is inherent in the age differential. I’m older, but enjoy the vigor the students can bring to the arts. Let’s face it, without a younger population, fewr bands will visit.

    Was Stoen Creek an attemp to create an area for commercial infill? I doubt that much thought went into it. And let us not forget the State of Texas role in this. Should the State be invloved in land deals? I’d prefer otherwise.

  44. I believe the clash comes from two broad areas:

    1. There is a severe shortage of careers here, so the students, in general, have no plans to stay after graduation and limited opportunities to forge relationships with locals. If they were interning at a Dell, with hopes of staying on after graduation, they would have a different relationship with the locals.

    2. This is the bigger one – the city leaders and the university leaders have never really worked well together and there is a history of the university doing things that are perceived to be bad for the city and (again perception anyway) acting unilaterally when they do. Students, who weren’t even here 6 months ago, have no recollection of whatever the university did 18 months ago and just see friction with the university. They are part of the university, and they feel like they are receiving the brunt of the friction. They may be, but that friction could go away, to a large degree, if the people at the top could work together like adults.

    3. I know I said 2, but there is a 3rd, smaller one. Apartments and single-family homes don’t mix well. It really does not matter that the residents of the apartments are (or are not) students. When I was young and not in college, I partied plenty. I was at many parties where the police were called. In retrospect, it wasn’t a good deal for the other folks in the apartments, either. The point is, apartments have problems and it is best to contain those within the apartment complex, rather than inflict them on adjoining properties.

    At 3 in the morning, Mr. Jones only knows that he can’t sleep and he has to be at work in three hours. He may assume that the party he hears is a bunch of students, but the reality is, he just hears a party. If that apartment complex wasn’t right on top of his home, he’d hear nothing and probably have no complaints about students.

    Not to get this too off topic.

  45. While getting my degree at SWTSU I attended my share of parties as well. Mostly at homes. Only had the SMPD come to one. But I understand the friction. But the issue isn’t unique to SM, it’s anywhere there’s a large student population. Just ask anyone unfortunate enough to live in west campus Austin.

    More on point, Mr Marchut we agree that the economic future of SM isn’t more retail. Better paying jobs will raise all economic boats. So, my question is, why does the Council only seem interested in retail and amusement facilities? Don’t get me wrong, I might go to a film at an Alamo in SM, of course I doubt they would stock the IPA I prefer.

  46. I agree and have no idea why they are so interested in retail and amusements, any more than I know why they are interested in apartments. If I had to guess, it is because it feels better to succeed at attracting retail and apartments, than to fail at attracting home buyers and careers.

  47. I’ve said it before and been met with skepticism but there are books that talk about companies measuring the quality of life in a city when analyzing the market. It may not be relevant to you but for many, opportunities to shop factors in to that perception. Furthermore, one will follow the other and we don’t necessarily get to pick which will come first. Retail may not be Mr. Right but it is Mr. Right Now. If San Marcos were a 4B city collecting sales tax for economic development these incentives would be just as prevelant. The incentives haven’t been over-the-top in the world of retail, in fact they are conservative compared to the ones I have seen in other cities. As to apartments, I know there was one down near Hunter & Stagecoach that Mayor Susan was pushing hard for but I’m not aware of other incentives for multi-family. I doubt StoneCreek will actually be sold on the courthouse steps and retail everywhere is in trouble so there’s not really a connection between the incentives and the bankruptcy.

    Thant said, I disagree with the evolution of 4B and other incentives for retail. Retail was originally excluded from the economic development free money but some slick legislators got it added back in when they introduced the “enterprise zone” and then that went by the wayside and now it’s SOP for cities to abate impact fees, install infrastructure, refund sales tax, etc. It’s not fair at all to existing businesses like Red Oak or other competing retailers. The sad fact is though, as a city, you risk getting passed over for new development if you don’t play the incentives game.

  48. Many companies use San Marcos and other cities they negotiate with in secret (executive session) to leverage a better deal from the city they really want to locate to or their current city they are considering leaving. Many mayors and council members want to say “we brought that company here on my watch”. All of this done in secret and agreed to before the public hears the first word about the deal. You know this and it is a system that is corruptible and stacked in favor of the company making the pitch. Do not assume that common sense and pure motives are the only factors in play. Most SM citizens have little problem with an incentive for the type of company that brings good paying, long term jobs and that contributes to the community. Moving retail from one side of town to the other is NOT what they want and I know you agree with that. Why do we continue to allow this? BTW, You mentioned Mayor Susan pushing the apartments at Hunter and Wonderworld on Purgatory creek. According to her latest finance report,on the city website, the developer of that deal gave her $2000.00 the day before the November election in which she was not a candidate. The Buie apartment developer did the same thing ($1000.00). Incentives were given for apartments across the street from the university.

  49. Bob, what exactly is it that people want to shop for today, but cannot find in San Marcos, which is impacting the quality of life here, and keeping people from buying homes and keeping other employers from setting up shop here? Yes, I am sure there are books that talk about retail as part of the overall quality of life in a city.

    Where is the study, that shows this to be a dealbreaker/deficit in San Marcos? Where is the strategy that says, in order to grow the economy, we need to attract and additional X retailers of Y size and Z quality? Just throwing dollar after dollar at retailers and making concession after concession to retail developers, is not the answer.

  50. Another factor is the presence of a professional sports team. Doesn’t mean SM should rush out to lure in the Raiders.

  51. Bob, taking lower cost single family properties and allowing developers to rezone them as multi-family and/or making various concessions re: how he properties are developed, in order to cut down on costs/increase profitability, equals incentives for apartments, which come out of the quality of life and property values of adjoining neighborhoods.

  52. Voter, I don’t doubt retailers use SM to negotiate a better deal with the city they really want to be in. That’s one reason I oppose incentives for retailers. Unfortunately the cow is out of the barn and if our economic development folks want to be perceived as aggressive and “doing their job”, they will use incentives to lure retail. As long as everybody is doing it, I don’t think it’s bad to spend money to lure retail vs taking the moral high road and only spending money to lure manufacturing or other higher paying jobs. The fact is, those better employers just don’t want to come here right now. The retailers do want to come here right now. As to Ted’s question of what retail we don’t have, Springtown was a third tier center and all the landscaping and EFIS they added was like putting icing on a turd. Plus it was built out. No room to expand. StoneCreek was a good idea hobbled by a bad economy. I think it’ll come around. Plus, we didn’t really spend money, we gave up future revenue. I know some will say it costs money to provide services but really? Does it cost that much? I happen to believe the books that tout retail as an incentive to lure employers. Plus, StoneCreek is one of the few attractive things on the interstate. Yes, I think it’s attractive. Is it the Dominion? No, but it’s ok for this squalorous whistle stop.

  53. I don’t dispute that it is *reasonably* attractive, although I have seen far nicer. I think one fully built-out center would have looked far better than two partially built-out centers and every night I am reminded of that, as I pass the center down by the Wal-Mart warehouse, which appears to be booming.

    No, it didn’t cost us anything, although it is not clear that we won’t be making a payment in February, or how much that will be, if there is one. It did, IMO, cost the developer across the street plenty, in the form of an unlevel playing field and lost tenants. If successful, it will cost us money that could have been used elsewhere.

    I really wonder how long people will support this sort of economic development strategy, given that it has been in place, nearly unopposed, for coming up on a decade, and yet we are still, as you have described us, a “squalorous whistle stop.”

    I know, cue the comments about the bad economy and the growth of the university somehow stifling our economy. God only knows what kind of toilet this place would be today, were it not for things like the Stonecreek deal.

  54. It is interesting the theories laid out on this blogspot. How many seriously think government can control people and the use of private property? A rhetorical question because half of the people on this board only (extremely small segment of the segment) think they can and do through all the “conspiracy” deals and decisions. The Zoning rules they have try to put come buffer between the single family and the bazillion other types of buildings, but the original growth around the university kinda makes this a hard deal. Based on our community/university set-up not as bad as places like Houston with no zoning at all.

    Single family home development money is not there….gone. Called the housing bubble. People still need places to live and guess what – apartment financing is available. Now, comes the property owner and says I want to build. What is the government supposed to do? This is also a rhetorical question and doesn’t really matter because half of you wont like it! The interesting part is the ease in which we can sit in a group (albeit small) and gather together in disgust of the government leaders (don’t forget your pitchforks!).

    These terrible people who put themselves out there for public bashing personally and professionally. Wielding the autocratic power of the metropolis of San Marcos. Really? For the twists and turns of the mega laws and regulations of the state/fed, the melting pot of poverty/rich, haves/have nots, retirees and the 20 somethings everywhere, the wonderful mega cultures of our town and the student mix they do a pretty good job of muddling through. All the while, being punished at every turn. Pick a group, someone does not like the decision (fill in the blank here__________).

    I would think that if we could see the bigger picture (defiantly not reflected on this single source of “community news”) the real challenge of making decisions may become clear to us regular folk. I must say the rhetoric has died down on these pages since the election. Kinda refreshing.

  55. To answer your first question, zoning and other governmental authority to control development/land use are well established and for the most part have been repeated ruled to be constitutional. Only when the rise to a taking, as legally defined, do they cease to be enforceable.

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