by BRAD ROLLINS
Torchy’s Tacos — an edible Austin icon held in high esteem by enthusiastic fans — will open its anticipated downtown San Marcos location in the former U.S. Post Office building no later than next March under an agreement approved this week by the city council.
On Tuesday, the council unanimously agreed to waive a city law that requires new restaurants in the central business district operate for six months before they can sell beer and wine and for a year before they can sell liquor.
The San Marcos Planning and Zoning Commission must still approve Torchy’s application for a conditional use permit but the council’s action this week virtually ensures Torchy’s will be able to legally sell alcohol alongside its tacos a year before it otherwise could.
Torchy’s will hire six full-time managers with salaries of at least $40,000 a year and 62 servers, cooks and other workers at unspecified wages, according to the agreement.
The council has three times since 2011 granted variances to its conditional use permit rules in efforts to encourage investment in abandoned or deteriorated parts of downtown. In these cases, economic development officials say public benefits go beyond jobs created by the restaurant, the vast majority of which will be low-income positions of which San Marcos has a relative abundance.
“It’s huge. You have a federal building that is now going to be on the tax rolls and you have a vacant building that is going to be redeveloped and really bring a lot of energy to the whole area,” said Adriana Cruz, the Greater San Marcos Partnership’s president.
Occupying 4,000 interior square feet and a 1,300-square-foot patio, Torchy’s will anchor the redeveloped former post office which will be called Guadalupe Station. SportClips, Smoothie King and Jersy Mike’s Subs have committed to lease three additional spaces in the 17,987-square-foot building, according to a sales brochure distributed by The Weitzman Group, the property‘s leasing agent. About 2,400 square feet of the building has yet to be claimed, according to the document.
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