City Council Approves NEC TIRZ!
December 4, 2014
City Council in a session today passed the creation of the Northeast Corridor Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). This is a momentous accomplishment for the NEC as the revenue collected from the TIRZ will allow the City to fund improvements that will help spur private investment in the area.
A TIRZ works by capturing growth in tax collections from new projects and reserves it specifically for improvements in the dedicated zone. TIRZ revenue can be used to fund infrastructure improvements, streetscape enhancements such as landscaping and lighting, façade improvement grants, and public-private partnerships to redevelop blighted properties. It is estimated that the NEC TIRZ will generate $6 million over its 20-year term.
Several long-time NEC revitalization advocates attended today’s session to demonstrate their support for the TIRZ proposal. Among them were neighborhood leaders, NEC Steering Committee members, and three former District 10 Councilmen – Chip Haas, John Clamp, and Carlton Soules.
Soules spearheaded the effort for revitalization of the Perrin Beitel-Nacogdoches area during his term in office. The initiative has continued to make significant progress in laying the groundwork necessary to return the NEC to vibrancy. Clamp referred to today’s approval of the TIRZ as “transformative” and that “change is happening, it will work.”
Groundbreaking Event – Ross Dress for Less!
It may have been 37 degrees last Friday morning, but over 50 people turned out for the Ross Dress for Less groundbreaking ceremony at the Nacogdoches Village Center (13909 Nacogdoches Road). The event was led by District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher and included remarks from special guests Gracie Valadez, District Manager for Ross; Jay Kaplan, owner of Nacogdoches Village Center; and Tommy Calvert, Precinct 4 Bexar County Commissioner-Elect.
Ross is a national retail chain of name brand men’s and women’s apparel with stores in 33 states. The company’s new store is part of the $23 million in private investment the NEC has attracted in recent years and fills a major market gap in the area for clothing, shoes, and home goods. NEC residents expressed excitement for the new shopping option and desire for more to follow. “The customers are definitely here and waiting,” said one ceremony attendee.
The attraction of private investment is a key component of the NEC revitalization strategy because a thriving business community is essential to the sustainability of a commercial corridor. The renaissance of Nacogdoches Village Center is one example of reinvestment success. After weathering the recession, Jay Kaplan, the center’s owner, and his neighbor, HEB, began renovating their properties with the expectation the market would recover. Kaplan’s patience and dedication paid off; today Nacogdoches Village is ninety-seven percent occupied with well-known businesses like Unleashed by Petco, Wingstop, Great Clips, and soon-to-be Ross.
“I believe in the NEC, I’ve invested in the NEC,” said Kaplan to the crowd. After the official ceremony, the group lingered to chat with Ross District Manager, Gracie Valadez. According to Valadez, Ross is expected to open in March 2015.
Second NEC Business Development Breakfast – Another Great Turnout!
Over fifty-five people gathered the Friday before Labor Day at the Oak Leaf Banquet Hall for the second quarterly NEC Business Development Breakfast. In addition to many long-time supporters, the crowd also included business leaders from recent arrivals to the NEC – Cowboy’s Garage and Blanco’s Restaurant.
After a welcome from District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher, the meeting kicked off with an overview of the corridor’s recent successes – such as $21 million in private investment – and discussion of some of the tools the City can use to encourage business development in the future. One example is the Fee Waiver Program, which waives City and SAWS impact fees for eligible retail, office, and multi-family projects.
Other meeting highlights include a presentation from Stacy MacDiarmid of the Skyonic Corporation on their Capitol SkyMine plant. Ms. MacDiarmid explained how SkyMine technology promotes clean air by capturing emissions from the cement plant and converting them into safe, stable solids. Skyonic is anticipating an October grand opening of its facility. The NEC Steering Committee also announced the launch of its Ambassador Program. NEC Ambassadors will help outreach to other business owners and build the NEC coalition.
With the influx of private investment, official adoption of the NEC Revitalization Plan earlier this summer, and growing support base, the NEC has enjoyed some huge accomplishments this past year. To acknowledge that the initiative to revitalize the NEC has evolved beyond a dream to a budding reality, a new, more fitting name was unveiled for the effort – The NEC Improvement Partnership.
The meeting concluded with the “hanging” of the first official NEC booster decal in the window of the Oak Leaf Hall. All businesses in the Perrin Beitel and Nacogdoches corridors are invited to show their support for the NEC by displaying one of these “Proud Supporter of the NEC” decals in their window. They are provided free of charge by the District 10 Council Office.
Attention NEC Business Owners and Managers -
Mark your calendars for Friday, August 29th! You are invited to the second NEC Business Development Breakfast scheduled from 8 to 9 AM at the Oak Leaf Banquet Hall, 3921 Naco-Perrin Boulevard. We’ll be discussing new developments in the corridor, planned enhancements, and some of the incentive programs available for business operators. You will also have the opportunity to meet with District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher and network with other area business operators. Come out and show your support for the NEC Improvement Partnership! Breakfast is complimentary. Please RSVP to Michael Taylor (Michael.Taylor@sanantonio.gov).
City Council Supports the NEC!
The San Antonio City Council demonstrated its support for the revitalization of the Northeast Corridor by approving the NEC Revitalization Plan! Official adoption of the plan paves the way for full implementation of its strategies to encourage reinvestment in the area. You can view the final NEC Revitalization Plan here and read more about what its approval means to the corridor in the Express News Northeast Herald.
First NEC Business Development Breakfast – A Success to Grow On
Breakfast tacos and cinnamon rolls kicked off a productive Friday morning at Hill Electric on Perrin Beitel Road. Over forty NEC-area business owners and managers turned out for the first NEC Business Development Breakfast held on Friday, May 30, 2014.
The purpose of the breakfast meeting was for business operators to learn about plans to revitalize the NEC, network with other businesses, and discuss their thoughts with District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher and staff from the San Antonio Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD).
Councilman Gallagher kicked off the morning by welcoming business operators and describing the successful future he sees for the revitalization initiative. The push to bring new life to the Perrin Beitel-Nacogdoches corridor began in 2013 and was spearheaded by Former District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules. Mr. Soules was in attendance at the breakfast and provided the audience with background information on the initiative and its goals. Michael Taylor (DPCD) and the NEC Steering Committee then gave a presentation summarizing the findings of the City-sponsored NEC market study and strategies for revitalizing the corridor.
One key revitalization strategy received a lot of attention at the meeting: improving the appearance of the NEC by reintroducing native trees and plants to the area. Small enhancements to the landscape have the potential to pay big rewards as the NEC becomes more inviting to pedestrians, customers, and investors.
Bob Webster of KTSA’s South Texas Gardening Show was on hand to discuss low-cost, low-maintenance ideas for improving parking areas. Among his suggestions were the installation of drought-tolerant plants and drip irrigation systems. You can view Mr. Webster’s tips for plant selection, soil preparation, maintenance, and irrigation techniques on his Dealing with Drought handout here.
The morning concluded when the crowd moved outside for a tree-planting ceremony led by Councilman Gallagher and the NEC Steering Committee. The ceremony marked the beginning of the NEC Beautification Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to showcase ten improved parking lot landscapes in sixty days. All business owners and operators along the Perrin Beitel-Nacogdoches corridor are encouraged to participate. If interested, please submit your business’s “before and after” photos to Michael.Taylor@sanantonio.gov by July 31st. Businesses will be featured on the NEC website (www.northeastcorridorsa.com).
The City of San Antonio and the NEC Steering Committee would like to thank all businesses operators for their participation, Bob Webster for his time and expertise, Maldonado Nursery and Landscaping Inc. for its generous donation of two trees, NEC-located restaurants Las Carretas and Whataburger for the catering, and Billy Hill for the use of his meeting facilities.
A Message from Councilman Gallagher
I would like to thank everyone who attended our Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative meeting on Tuesday night (February 25th). Approximately 100 neighborhood leaders, business representatives, and interested citizens heard how this initiative will bring new vitality to Perrin Beitel, Nacogdoches and the surrounding areas.
Attendees were introduced to the NEC Steering Committee members who represent area neighborhoods, businesses and financial institutions. My fellow committee members include Billy Hill, Mario Hune, Jack Judson, Bud Little, and Carlos Pena. The NEC Steering Committee also has former Councilmen Carlton Soules and John Clamp as active members.
The meeting began with a presentation by our NEC Manager Michael Taylor and our NEC Steering Committee members. The presentation included an introduction to the NEC Revitalization Initiative, an overview of work completed to date, and a summary of the 5-year work plan.
Michael’s presentation was followed by a broad range of questions and answers. The meeting ended with a “poster session” that included a detailed description of the 22 action-oriented strategies that make up the 5-year work plan.
All of us were asked to comment on how we could personally help move the initiative forward. A range of responses were received including: help clean up neighborhoods and businesses, organize volunteer committees, advocate for additional resources, organize fellow business owners, visit the commercial establishments that exist, and spread the word.
PLEASE contact Michael Taylor at Michael.Taylor@sanantonio.gov if you have ideas or questions about the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative.
The interest and enthusiasm demonstrated by everyone at this meeting made me very proud to be a part of District 10 and this very important improvement effort.
Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative
Over the coming years, the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative (NEC) will work to restore vitality to the Perrin Beitel and Nacogdoches corridors. This Initiative will capitalize on opportunities to activate vacant and underutilized properties, re-establish community-serving retail and service businesses, and improve the appearance of buildings, signs, and parking lots. Implementing the work plan will require community support, tactical partnerships, strategic planning, and targeted investments as detailed in the NEC Revitalization Plan – DRAFT.
The Initiative is overseen by District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher. Staff support is provided by the City of San Antonio Department of Planning and Community Development.