Leaders in Texas City — in both the private and public sectors — have a reason to feel good today.
In 2011, the city was able to secure a deal that brought a major player, Tanger Outlets, into the economic picture of the mid-county region. The outlet opened the next year.
Certainly, incentives were made to the parent company of Tanger to locate in Texas City. And there was a certain risk involved by both the city and the company.
In it’s first year of operation, the outlet generated $2.2 million in new sales tax revenues, according to city records at the time.
But, the risk seems to be paying off. Tax incentives that were supposed to take the city and the company a decade to recoup have been done in less than seven years.
Considering the outlet has provided hundreds of new jobs and the city can now use sales tax receipts to help fund similar projects, it seems to us like a good bargain.
The outlet mall seems not only to be surviving, but, judging by tax receipts the city has received, thriving.
Sometimes, a look back is useful. And sometimes, a look forward is necessary.
So, let’s start with a look back at Texas City’s economic status.
In 2014, Mall of the Mainland closed after a 23-year run. Coastline Retail Center Inc., which gained control of the mall through foreclosure and related litigation, closed the interior common areas of the shopping center, which had struggled for years to attract staple stores and shoppers.
Friendswood attorney and developer Jerome Karam, who bought the 451,000-square-foot mall in March 2015, announced in June he planned to convert about 76,000 square feet of the 84,000-square-foot J.C. Penney shell at Mall of the Mainland into climate-controlled storage.
Karam has redeveloped the former Macy’s space to include Palais Royal, a 42,000-square-foot World Gym and the 15,000-square-foot Tuscany Village Salon, to name a few.
Also in 2014, a 69,000-square-foot Buc-ee’s Travel Center in Texas City opened.
The store and Tanger Outlets are within the Lago Mar master-planned community. When that 3,500-acre project was announced several years ago, it was thought houses would come first, followed by commercial and retail development.
Since 2011, the city has struck similar deals including with H-E-B, which built a newer store to replace an aging one, and with owners of shopping center Palmer Plaza, which is being redeveloped.
Now that the Texas City Economic Development Corp. has finished paying back the sales tax, the city can put the extra money toward new projects, Mayor Natt Doyle said.
“That money was coming out of EDCO, so it’ll go back in to fuel our economic development engine,” he said. “We’ve always got something going on.”
We hope that Texas City and its business, civic and governmental leaders can keep the momentum going.
• Dave Mathews