Cabela's shooting for League City

Outfitter Cabela's plans a 72,000-square-foot store in League City. 

In a deal born after a long courtship involving more than $9 million in public incentives, outdoor gear retailer Cabela’s plans a 72,000-square-foot store with an archery range at Interstate 45 and Big League Dreams Parkway.

Sidney, Neb.-based Cabela’s Inc., which, through retail stores, mail-order catalogs and online sales is the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing and camping merchandise, said Thursday it would begin construction of the store — its first in the Houston area — later this year. 

The League City store’s interior would offer customers an outdoor-like experience with a large mountain replica, museum-quality wildlife displays and an aquarium, officials said. Along with thousands of products, the store will include an indoor archery range, gun library, “Bargain Cave,” deli and fudge shop. The exterior will include the log construction, stonework, wood siding and metal roofing for which the retailer is known. 

Cabela’s plans to hire 170 full-time employees, officials said.

“We believe the Cabela’s store will be a regional draw and will help get people traveling through League City on Interstate 45 off the interstate to visit the store, in particular, those tourists traveling to and from Galveston Island,” Owen Rock, League City economic development manager, said. “We are confident that it will bring more tourists to League City.”

The League City store will mark Cabela’s sixth in Texas, where it operates in Fort Worth, Buda, Allen, Waco and Lubbock.

Because Cabela’s stores attract shoppers from far away, luring one to a community doesn’t come cheap or easy.

Cabela’s and rivals such as Bass Pro Shops are known more as tourist destinations than retailers and often are able to command financial incentives from communities. Officials with Cabela’s in the past have argued building destination stores is expensive and communities who have offered incentives have made wise investments. 

In some cases, economic incentive agreements for Cabela’s have been controversial and the company has had to return some money after not creating specific numbers of jobs required by subsidy stipulations.

But Cabela’s in recent years has changed its business model, in some cases preferring developers deal with governmental entities. In the case of League City development, officials have offered an incentive to Pinnacle Alliance Fund, which is developing the retail center Cabela’s will anchor. 

The city and Pinnacle entered into what is known as a 380 agreement, Rock said.

First, Pinnacle must create a pad site for Cabela’s and Cabela’s must build the store. Pinnacle, in addition to the Cabela’s building, must develop another 110,000 square feet of new retail within three years of Cabela’s opening.

The 380 agreement states the city will reimburse the developer up to $9.3 million over 15 years, or when the development commitment is met, whichever comes first. The reimbursement will be paid from the sales tax revenue generated by the Cabela’s store and the other new retail.

“The developer has a contract with Cabela’s that is separate from ours,” Rock said. “Our contract with the developer states that a Cabela’s store will be constructed along with the 110,000 retail. If the Cabela’s is not constructed we do not have to pay any incentives to the developer. It is all performance based.”

Rock said Thursday he didn’t know about financial agreements between the retailer and the developer, or whether Pinnacle planned to pass the reimbursements on to Cabela’s. Neither Pinnacle nor Cabela’s representatives could be reached Thursday to elaborate.

League City has courted Cabela’s for some time.

“This was a team effort from city leadership and city council.” Rock said. “Staff and council put a lot of hours into getting the deal completed.”

Cabela’s is a major coup for the city and for Pinnacle, which last year acquired 100 prime acres near Big League Dreams Sports Park with plans to develop a sizable mixed-use project of retail, restaurants, hotels, offices and, possibly, multifamily dwellings.

On the same day it announced plans for a League City store, Cabela’s released its third-quarter earnings, which saw an 8 percent increase. 

Net income was $53.8 million, up from $49.9 million in the third quarter a year ago. Cabela’s reported diluted earnings per share of $0.75, compared to $0.70 a year ago.

Total third-quarter revenue of $886 million was up 4.1 percent over a year go, with retail store sales up 8.7 percent to $598.7 million. 

Cabela’s opened six new stores during the quarter.

The company plans to open as many as 15 new stores a year over the next several years, officials said.

The League City store is scheduled to open in the fall of next year.

(15) comments

Andy Aycoth

Good for League City. Will bring in property and sales taxes .

DonnieB

Awesome! The closest one is outside of Austin, or Waco. This will be a road trip destination for people on the north, east, and west sides of Houston, and beyond. It should also draw in some other big retail names and restaurants to that area. Good job on landing that League City!

Jackson Hancock

Good job Mayor and Council Members. Your hard work is paying off and League City will benefit from the new jobs and increased sales tax revenue!

One step closer to lowering our property taxes!

Garland Bilbrey

A natural location. These are very nice stores.

Gary ONeil

Now if you could just get a Costco we would be set, but on the other hand, I45 feeders between LC and Dickinson are going to be an even bigger nightmare.

DonnieB

GaryO, I had heard a solid rumor a while back, maybe a month or 2, that Costco was going to build next to Academy and Rudy's. It would be along with the new indoor golf range they are building, Golf World or something like that. They have one in the Woodlands, I think. Anyway, I haven't heard anymore about Costco. Not sure if they will build there or not. Would be nice, though.

DonnieB

To follow up on that, yes we will get a Costco, unformally on El Dorado. I'm guessing across from Home Depot on El Dorado. What's funny is it will be directly acroos I45 from Sam'S. And it's Top Golf that is being built, either next to Costco or over by Academy.

Steve Fouga

Donnie, how sure are you? A Cabela's and a Costco are almost too much to hope for.

DonnieB

Jake, the new Cabela's store is shown on their map of locations as opening fall of 2015 in League City. As for Costco, it's from a source that would know. But, nothing may be final on it yet. Or they could be holding out to announce it just before ground breaking, just like Cabela's. I noticed ground breaking on something just in front of the Big League Dreams parks on I45, yesterday. Could be for Cabela's or another part of the shopping center. So, a Cabela's we are getting, a Costco not sure yet until they officially announce it.

Kim Etheridge

Pardon me for not getting excited about any new low-paying retails jobs and the rebate of $9.3 M of our tax dollars.

Steve Lamb

This is a big win, not just for League City, but for the entire county. And while the jobs may be "Low-paying" in Etheridge's opinion, they still represent new jobs that people can get. I would much rather 9.3m in tax dollars go to a project to create jobs, regardless of the wage, than to government handouts to people who can't find any job whatsoever. And this will have significant spillover to Galveston, Texas City, and other areas of the county.

Chuck DiFalco

Steve L., thank you for being so eager to spend my tax dollars for me. Corporate welfare is just as bad as personal welfare.

Folks, hold your horses, the headline doesn't mean it's a good deal for LC taxpayers. The devil is in the details. As I read it, the good part about the agreement is that if the developer doesn't perform, they get nothing. Also, there is a sunset rule.

--Chuck DiFalco

Keith Gray

My older son works for the one in Buda, and makes around $9.50 and hour... maybe a little more. He is a senior at Texas State in Electrical Engineering and they have been great setting his hours so it does not interfere with his studies. So, it has been a great job for a student and for the retirees I have met working with him who just enjoy working with people, and who have been very positive role models for my son.

Thank you Cabela's... [smile]

Andy Aycoth

Job is a job, people need them or would you rather wellfare that you and I pay for.
Want good paying jobs go to work for the refineries.

Jo Wickstrom

Yes!! My favorite store!!

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