The San Marcos City Council will consider incentives Tuesday night to place an Alamo Drafthouse in the vacant Best Buy building at Springtown Center. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
Efforts by San Marcos city officials to provide economic development incentives to re-develop Springtown Center are back on the city council docket Tuesday night as Lamy-Springtown Mall, Ltd., faces foreclosure on two parcels of the property. Similar efforts succumbed to public opposition twice last summer.
The Springtown item was added to the council agenda without back-up details last Thursday at 4 p.m., about 24 hours after the agenda originally was posted. The item reads, “Consider possible offer of incentives to Triple Tap Ventures, LLC, for the redevelopment of the old Best Buy Building (Springtown location) for occupancy by Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.”
Details about the incentive proposal were not available.
Last July, the city considered incentives to Lamy-Springtown Mall, including an interest-free loan of $5 million for an entertainment project anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse at the largely vacated Springtown Center. Following much public protest, the city council voted unanimously to reject the proposal.
Later that month, public opposition discouraged a similar proposal for Lamy-Springtown, which pulled the request hours before the council was to vote. Under the second proposal, the city would have loaned Lamy-Springtown $3.9 million to be repaid in six years at a maximum interest rate of six percent. From 2011 through 2016, the city would have rebated 50 percent of the project’s generated city sales tax above the vacant Springtown Center’s current levels. That money would have defrayed the developer’s interest payments and provided up to $600,000 for architectural enhancements.
The two Springtown parcels on the Hays County foreclosure list for the March 2 auction combine for roughly ten acres. Lamy-Springtown took out loans in 2005 and 2006 for a combined $13.75 million for the two parcels. The lender is Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. According to Thrivent’s website, it is a Fortune 500 financial service organization that is faith-based and not-for-profit.
Also on the foreclosure list is Sanctuary Lofts, LP, which operates the Sanctuary Lofts Apartments at 400 North Street. Pete Lamy of Lamy-Springtown Mall was one of the limited partner/equity investors, as were Joe Lamy and Jay Lamy. It could not be determined Sunday if the Lamys still hold interests in Sanctuary Lofts.
Triple Tap has acquired the exclusive development and franchise rights to operate the Alamo Drafthouse concept in six major Texas metropolitan areas. Triple Tap’s first venture was the acquisition of two existing Alamo Drafthouse Theaters in Houston.
The Alamo Drafthouse is a combined movie theater and restaurant concept in which patrons can view movies while being served from a full menu of food and beverages.
A Facebook group has formed in support of bringing an Alamo Drafthouse to San Marcos. The group, called “Give San Marcos, TX an Alamo Drafthouse,” counts 246 members, including San Marcos Councilmember Kim Porterfield.
The desolate Springtown Center was once a thriving shopping center that included national retailers like Target, JC Penny, and Bealls. The box stores moved to newly developed StoneCreek Center on the south edge of San Marcos about a year ago, after the city council upped a $2 million incentive package to $6 million.
With the anchor tenants gone from Springtown Mall, many of the smaller tenants have packed up and left behind them a big box blight in the city’s gateway near Interstate-35 and Hopkins Street.Email | Print