The San Marcos City Council discusses the Springtown Mall proposal in executive session Tuesday night. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
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.Email | Print