San Marcos is in dire need of family-friendly entertainment venues to attract residents and bring much-needed revenue to the city. The Springtown Shopping Center is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on this need.
According to an Oct. 4 University Star article, Target, Best Buy, Bealls and J.C. Penney relocated in 2009 from the 30-acre shopping area to other areas in the city. Currently, only Bath and Body Works, Twin Liquors and RadioShack have storefronts in the widely vacant center.
With close proximity to the university and the H-E-B grocery store, Springtown is an ideal location for development. Families and college students are looking for entertainment in San Marcos. With more than 20 liquor stores and bars in the city, residents are likely to patronize businesses in nearby San Antonio or Austin for family-friendly fun.
San Marcos is home to thousands of college students who may enjoy a night out of drinking. However, there are plenty of people who would benefit from forms of entertainment in the city that are not bars.
Residents and students would rush to check out the new improvements and ultimately spend thousands of dollars if exciting, family-friendly businesses were installed in the shopping center. Laser tag, mini-golf and “paint your own pottery” establishments, as well as a new movie theater and bowling alley would all be excellent additions to the area. These are the types of welcoming places that would draw large crowds of families and students.
According to the same article, a 2009 renovation proposal for the area showed the area has the potential to create 451 jobs, $295 million in salaries, $1.7 million in additional taxable sales for the city and $51.74 million in local tax rolls.
This land, as it remains now, is currently largely vacant and is not being utilized to its full potential. The center funnels dollars back into the community. Moreover, it has the ability to keep families and students in San Marcos over the weekends ready to spend their money supporting other local and corporate establishments.
Councilmember Kim Porterfield, Place 1, said the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan encourages officials to coordinate with economic developers to bring prospective businesses and entertainment to Springtown. Although the city may be actively seeking tenants to fill the space, more needs to be done to solicit business owners to the area.
Financial incentives, tax breaks and many other solicitation tactics can be used to bring companies to the area. The land should appear profitable to better attract those businesses. The city needs to improve proposals to the economic private sector so owners invest in the shopping center and spark a goldmine of funding for the city. In addition, security in the shopping center must be increased to prevent crime rates from rising.
Springtown has the ability to bring finances, fun and frequent visitors to San Marcos. With the construction of Thorpe Lane, the area could also stand to see improvements with corresponding development of family-friendly venues.