Developers of the rail-supported warehouse park in the works on the city’s east side will come before council Monday, sharing an update on delays and projections for the future.
The update comes just one council meeting after staff requested no action be taken on a proposal to push back financing for rail and infrastructure construction to the start of 2021.
Stonemont official David Burch is expected to make a brief presentation to council to “provide an update on the timeline of the project as well as any activity from the last three to four months,” City Manager Courtney Sladek said.
Developers had announced late last year that construction on the long-in-the-planning Southwest International Gateway Business Park would get under way in 2020, but hadn’t factored COVID-19 into the formula for progress.
“COVID has presented a delay in beginning construction, and thus a delay in issuing debt to fund such construction (is needed), Sladek said.
The city worked with the City Development Corporation and state officials to establish a Public Improvement District and Municipal Management District within the boundaries of the 540-acre development at the intersection of CR 421 and U.S. 59. The PID and MMD allow the development to levy a tax-hike fee within the park’s boundaries as financing for infrastructure bonds.
Those bonds had been set to sell in August, but may be pushed back to Jan. 31, 2021.
A request for the delay appeared on the July 13 agenda, but Sladek asked for it to be tabled indefinitely. The delay was unanimously approved by council.
The rail park development has been in the works for four years with a goal of capturing shippers currently warehousing products in Laredo, off Kansas City Southern Railways lines.
Construction had been slated to start in April on a 125,000-square-foot distribution center for Vitro Chemicals, a subsidiary of Vitro, one of the world’s largest glass manufacturers, and a 200,000-square-foot speculative warehouse. That was delayed, however, as virtually all business in Texas shut down via the governor’s stay-at-home order issued April 1 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rail park developers are Stonemont, Ridgeline Property Group, Watco Companies and NAI Partners.