The Killeen City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement that will bring a 26-acre retail development, which includes a second Wal-Mart, to the southern part of the city.
According to documents, city officials along with representatives of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce began negotiations with a Houston-based company last year to bring the more than 200,000-square-foot development to the corner of Stan Schlueter Loop and Bunny Trail where the Texas Thunder Speedway once stood.
John Crutchfield, chamber president and Killeen Economic Development Corporation secretary, said the project is being recommended for several reasons.
“The project will produce $9 million in net new revenue to the city over the first 10 years. This project will provide retail service to an under-served part of the community,” he said. “It’s very easy for us to recommend this project to the council.”
The development, which was dubbed the Killeen Town Center in previous documents, will house a Wal-Mart supercenter and several out parcels.
“When we first came to Killeen about two years ago to look for retail opportunities, we contacted a lot of retailers about this location. Wal-Mart stepped up and said they’re very happy with their store in Killeen,” David Foor, a representative for the developer, said. “They looked at the growth in Killeen and thought this would be a great location for a second store.”
Once the facility is constructed and fully occupied, annual taxable sales are estimated to be about $1 million. The development is expected to create at least 369 direct jobs, Crutchfield said.
According to the agreement, the developer, Northwest Tidwell Ltd., estimates 315 full-time jobs in the first year, including retail and restaurant jobs and managerial positions. The development’s payroll in its first year is estimated to be more than $6.3 million.
Phase one of the project, which includes the development of about 26 acres in the 60-acre tract, will add $57 million to the city’s property tax rolls, Crutchfield said.
He said phase one of the project “will certainly lead to phase two and three” so the developer can recover its costs.
“We also note that this project will lead to additional adjacent retail,” Crutchfield said. “We feel very optimistic that this project will lead to the completion of other projects.”
Foor said he believes the project will be a linchpin for additional development in the southern portion of the city.
“For so many years, all development has been on (U.S. Highway) 190, but I think we’re going to start to see a lot more development start filling in that section of Bunny Trail and Stan Schlueter Loop,” he said. “This is going to be a great project for the city of Killeen.”
Terms of agreement
The developer agreed to a capital investment of at least $5 million. According to the agreement, the developer also agreed to create, maintain and fill a minimum of 340 direct jobs.
Northwest Tidwell also agreed to generate a minimum of $100,000 in sales tax revenue annually, which will flow into the city’s coffers.
In exchange, Northwest Tidwell requested the city provide an annual sales tax rebate of 0.5 percent until just over $1 million is collected. The city, through Killeen Economic Development Corporation funding, will extend a sewer line to the development and install a traffic signal at the intersection of Stan Schlueter Loop and Bunny Trail.
“The incentives in this case will be paid to the developer,” Crutchfield said. “The developer is taking considerable front-end risks ... because of the extreme geography at this particular site, the extraordinary cost of this development is around $10.5 million.”
According to the developer’s website, Wal-Mart is expected to open sometime in 2015.