Typhoon Texas deal ranks high for Pflugerville Corp. in 2017

If you ask Amy Madison, 2017 started with a big splash.

Just days into the new year, the executive director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. watched as the City Council approved a city agreement for Typhoon Texas to take over operations at Hawaiian Falls Water and Adventure Park.

“I don’t think anything tops that,” Madison said almost exactly a year after the agreement. “It was a challenge for any municipality to do that so quickly. It was just right-on-time delivery.”

The deal was a culmination of weeks of negotiations between Typhoon Texas, the city and the city corporation in seeking a new operator for the water park. City officials including Mayor Victor Gonzales had voiced concerns over Hawaiian Falls’ management of the water park and its ability to adhere to a city agreement.

Jim Swanzy, city corporation board president, said the deal with Typhoon Texas followed in March with the city corporation refinancing a loan for the water park. The new loan effectively increased the city’s bond rating, which city staff had said would likely result in savings for future bond projects.

“It was a big deal for both the city and the PCDC,” Swanzy said.

Those were just two of numerous dealings by the city corporation in 2017, which included brokering incentives agreements for business relocations to matching funds for beautification efforts.

In 2017, city corporation staff said it played a role in bringing 605 new jobs to the city. Madison said 70 of those jobs related to local business expansion, while 535 other jobs came from business recruitment through the city corporation offering financial incentives.

Those numbers are based on information given by companies that received services from Madison and her staff.

As the city’s economic arm, the city corporation receives funding through a half-cent city sales tax. That sales tax revenue has grown from $926,000 in fiscal year 2006 to $4.2 million in FYI 2017 — a 78-percent increase — since the city corporation’s inception.

In 2017, that funding allowed the city corporation to offer a combined $225,000 for both Accent Food Services and MW Builders to relocate headquarters to Pflugerville. Accent, which is moving from its South Austin location, broke ground in June for its new headquarters on A.W. Grimes Boulevard.

In November, the city corporation also provided $1.5 million in incentives for Costco to open a new warehouse retail store at the southeast corner of Texas 130 and Kelly Lane.

Each incentive package provided to businesses entails meeting certain criteria, such as providing a certain number of jobs or investing in local property. If those criteria are not met, the incentives are withdrawn.

Last year, the city corporation also ended a longstanding agreement with 130 Commerce Center LLC to lease commercial space at the business complex. That endeavor initially began with the city corporation buying 167 acres in 2008 and creating infrastructure readily available for businesses relocating to Pflugerville.

A bevy of companies, including an estimated $20 million facility for Flooring Services Southwest, have either closed on or leased commercial space at the business complex located on Texas 130 near East Pecan Street.

Swanzy said with all the previous board members having been reappointed at the end of 2017, the city will benefit from an experienced group.

“The board works really well together,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements, but we can resolve them in a gentlemanly fashion.”

PCDC activities in 2017

The Pflugerville Community Development Corp. continued its role last year in boosting the local economy and fostering community projects. Here is a short timeline of the corporation’s activities in 2017:

January

• PCDC, city approve agreement with Typhoon Texas to manage and lease the water park.

March

• PCDC refinances its $24 million loan for the water park. Language in the loan removes the city as a third party.

• PCDC brokers incentives agreements to relocate two business headquarters to Pflugerville. Per the agreement, Accent Food Services can receive up to $150,000 over five years from PCDC, while MW Builders can receive up to $75,000.

• PCDC receives strategic plan from Avalanche Consulting, offering a list of tangible goals.

June

• Accent Food Services breaks ground on its new headquarters on A.W. Grimes Boulevard.

• Flooring Services Southwest breaks ground on a $20 million facility planned for a 30-acre tract at 130 Commerce Center.

September

• PCDC provides matching funds for the Pflugerville Rotary Club to plant 40 trees at 1849 Park.

October

• The Highland Park North Homeowners Association holds a celebration for a new shaded community park and walking trail co-funded by PCDC.

November

• PCDC and the city approve an interlocal agreement with Costco to build a new retail warehouse at the southeast corner of Kelly Lane and Texas 130.


Mike Parker, Austin Community Newspaper, statesman.com, 1/9/2018