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Buda Approves Economic Development Incentives for Three Projects

On July 1, 2014 the Buda City Council unanimously approved three projects to receive economic development incentives. Incentives for all three projects will not exceed $210,000 and consisted of cash incentives, sales tax rebates, and property tax rebates.

Spohn and Associates Inc. was approved to receive $62,000 in cash incentives from the Buda Economic Development Corporation (Buda EDC). Spohn and Associates Inc. is the parent company of Pinballz Kingdom, which is in the process of transforming the former Dorsett truck stop into an entertainment arcade, restaurant, bar, and music venue. The funding will be utilized for permit fees, infrastructure improvements, interior improvements, and exterior improvements to the facility, which has been vacant for a number of years. This project will create at least 25 full-time equivalent jobs with an average wage of $12.50 an hour. The project is also required to generate over $100,000 in sales tax revenue for the city through 2020.

            Spohn and Associates Inc. were attracted to the Buda area because of the ease of doing business with the city, low property tax rates, and the opportunities the Buda market provided. When asked about the process of dealing with the City of Buda, Darren Spohn indicated that working with the city staff and inspectors had been a great experience.

            Buda Mill & Grain Co. was approved for economic development incentives from both the Buda Economic Development Corporation and the City of Buda in the form of sales tax and property tax rebates. The Buda EDC will provide up to $38,000 in sales tax rebates over ten years and the City of Buda will provide up to $38,000 in sales and property tax rebates over seven years.

Buda Mill & Grain Co. is required to create at least 10 full-time equivalent jobs, which can be created directly by the company or by the tenants of the development. Depending on the tenant mix the number of full time jobs could exceed 80.  Buda Mill & Grain Co. is also required to generate sales tax revenue for the City of Buda.

The Buda Mill & Grain Co. project consists of the redevelopment of Buda’s historic mill, which is located along the southern edge of Downtown Buda. Proposed plans for the property include restaurant and retail spaces including the potential for a brewery concept. Saenger Ellis, Buda Mill & Grain Co. developer stated upon hearing the news that the incentives had been approved, “We appreciate your assistance. Thank you for believing in this project as much as we do. We are very excited to be moving forward.”

The Fat Quarter Shop is an existing Buda business that needed to expand and was considering relocating to other neighboring communities. However after being approved for both City of Buda and Buda Economic Development Corporation incentives, Fat Quarter Shop will be staying. The EDC will provide $36,000 in cash incentives to be utilized for permitting, impact, tap, and inspection fees associated with the construction of a 60,000 square foot facility that will be located in the City of Buda. The Fat Quarter Shop is investing over $4.5 million in this project that will retain 85 existing jobs and create at least 12 more jobs over five years. 

The City of Buda showed their commitment to helping existing businesses expand in Buda with a property tax rebate of up to $36,000 over five years. Kevin Jolly, Fat Quarter Shop Owner, said, “We are very appreciative of the support from the City of Buda. They have been very helpful and easy to work with, plus the area is growing. It will be exciting to see it develop in the next few year and we look forward to being a part of it.”

The Buda Economic Development Corporation and the City of Buda have been working on all three projects for over a year. Ann Miller, Executive Director of the Buda Economic Development Corporation indicated that these requests and others were put on hold until an incentive policy was adopted in late 2013. Miller stated “After adopting the incentive policy we review numerous requests and are excited about the potential these three projects bring to the City of Buda. The simultaneous and unanimous approval is indicative of how the EDC and City are working in partnership to make wise investments in the economic growth of our community.”

The Buda Economic Development Corporation serves as the liaison for incentive requests for both the EDC and the City of Buda. Incentive requests are evaluated and scored by the Incentive Taskforce, which makes recommendations to the EDC board and City Council. Projects are thoroughly vetted through EDC staff, City staff, the EDC board and the City Council before incentive agreements are drafted.

The EDC and City of Buda will invest up to $210,000 in these three companies, which will generate over $5.6 million in new capital investment and create or retain over 130 new jobs. Mayor Todd Ruge said, “The incentive policy that was adopted last year allows the City of Buda and the EDC to make strategic investments in Buda’s development, while being responsible stewards of taxpayer money.”

Conservative estimates indicated that these companies will directly generate over $1 million in new revenue for Buda over the next 10 years. These estimates do not include the impact of the direct and indirect jobs from these projects. Kenneth Williams, City Manager, stated, “These investments are indicative of the City’s desire to grow and to provide additional amenities for our citizens. The City of Buda is committed both to attracting new businesses and retaining our existing businesses, which have been the foundation of the community’s economy for years.”

The Buda Economic Development Corporation has taken a more aggressive approach to economic development in the last year and half and businesses are discovering that business is better in Buda. Buda’s ease of doing business, low city property tax rate, and market potential is generating significant interest in the community. Miller indicated that citizens should expect additional announcements in the near future, “The Buda EDC is working with several other prospects and is also providing assistance with several companies that are in the process of expanding to Buda.”

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