Monday, January 12, 2009

Economic impact

Economic development has been a hot topic since before I arrived here just short of 20 years ago. All local government organizations have been working hard to improve the overall economy of the area and have made special efforts to target areas such as downtown and the northern retail corridors. They have even created an area with a special tax status called a TIRZ. The property tax from this area gets special handling to promote and encourage commercial and retail investment and development. Combine this with the interest caused by the new Super Center, and there is a possibility of some real economic growth on the north side of town. That is, of course, if someone doesn't throw a monkey wrench into the works.

The new Super Center in the north part of town should be a center of retail and commercial activity. There has been new construction there recently, and new businesses have moved in. Some momentum is being developed. One of the prime locations for this momentum to expand is the old Walmart building. It is currently on the tax roles at $1.5 million and could easily double or triple that value when new businesses move in. There is a problem, though. It seems that the Commissioners court is looking at that property for expansion with offices, a maintenance facility, and outside storage. Somehow this seems very counterproductive. First off, it's taking a large piece of property off the tax roles. This is a property that should have very little trouble moving, even in these hard times. Second, maintenance facilities with outside storage seem like a poor fit for a potentially booming retail area. There are plenty of alternative buildings and sites available and most should be available at an attractive price. We can start with the old Circuit City building which has to be in one of the worst retail locations in the city. County offices and facilities might be a good use for that property. There are 5 potential buildings on the Chamber of Commerce site ranging from 52,000 sq ft to 99,000 sq ft. (the old Walmart build is 85,000). Many of these are already industrial/commercial sites. Many have been vacant for much longer than the old Walmart building.

I don't understand why they are even looking at the Walmart building right now. There is a lot of potential for the county to share maintenance facilities with either the city or the school district. There is plenty of space that will probably never be used at the industrial park. When the new library is finished and occupied, space will be freed up in the Edd B Keyes building. There will also be available office space in the new library. Maybe we should wait until the library is completed and see what extra space is really needed by the county for offices before we spend county taxpayers money to take this valuable property off the tax roles and hurt the economic growth of the north side of town.

1 comment:

  1. Actually the vacant Circuit City building has more potential than the old north walmart building.

    The Circuit City building in modern and in a better location.

    Sales at the new Walmart Super Center in North San Angelo are way down. This partly do to poor treatment of customers by this particular store’s management and old habits.

    As for the new Walmart Super Center I went to their Tire and Lube Center once and will never go back. The store is near empty most of the time. Poor customer service has driven away many customers and the shoppers from Grape Creek and other areas to the north take the route around the north of the Angelo State Park and shop at in the Sherwood way area. Shoppers coming in from the south of San Angelo take loop 306 to the Sherwood way area.

    The main problem with starting and running a successful business in San Angelo is municipal taxes, then local and state rules hinder all businesses. The San Angelo city government is concentrating on a few blocks down town while the infrastructure is falling apart and long established businesses are driven out of down town because of parking problems. Some of these old derelict buildings in down town should be torn down and parking facilities built.

    To many in San Angelo city government believe everyone wants to live in the past.