Increased investment in several areas of San Antonio’s near Eastside have led to the expansion of a City tax program aimed at supporting special development projects.

City Council approved Thursday the addition of 1,530 inner city parcels to the Inner City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone to further economic development opportunities and capture areas with increasing property values in the zone.

The TIRZ allows the capture of taxes in the area, which will be then be used solely for public improvement and economic development projects within the zone, said Assistant City Manager Lori Houston.

The approved boundary amendment adds a total value of $115,137,210 to the zone, based on 2015 Bexar Appraisal District data. Beginning in tax year 2017, taxes collected in the zone will be deposited into the inner city TIRZ fund and future projects within subject areas could be eligible for funding and incentives.

The boundary amendment was requested by City Councilman Alan Warrick (D2) and County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) in February and March 2016, respectively. The amendment adds five separate areas into the inner city TIRZ boundary; Essex Area, Montana Street, Wyoming Street, Government Hill, and Martin Luther King Park areas.

There are several potential projects for the five new areas within the inner city TIRZ boundary:

  1. Essex Area – proposed mixed-use development
  2. Montana Street – Proposed entertainment district
  3. Wyoming Street – Proposed entertainment district
  4. Government Hill – increasing values and the Region 20 Education facility
  5. MLK Park Area – ChildSafe, Children’s Advocacy Center, and adjacent development

To see a full list of the additional parcels for the Inner City TIRZ boundary, click here.

The inner city TIRZ was set up in 2000, with the aim of supporting redevelopment and public infrastructure improvements within three zones: Enterprise Community Enterprise Zone, Eastside Enterprise Zone, and Southside Enterprise Zone – areas which encompass portions of the city’s downtown, Eastside, and Southside.

“It’s a great thing,” Houston said. “The TIRZ board approves projects, so a developer could submit a request. It’s another tool for (developers) to be able to identify potential funding for improvements in that area.”

How do TIRZs work?

In three words: Tax Increment Financing (TIF). TIF is a public financing mechanism where the growth, or increment, in taxes associated with new development or redevelopment is “captured” to pay for the costs associated with economic development in a given area. Those areas are called Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones. San Antonio currently has eight City-initiated TIRZs and 12 petition-initiated TIRZs. The latter allows “property owners, residents and project developers to contract with the City to bring high-quality development/redevelopment to areas that have not seen any significant development in recent history.”

Strategic objectives for the use of TIF include increasing diversity of property uses through support of mixed-use development, encouraging growth within identified growth centers, supporting mixed-income development to decrease income segregation, facilitating affordable housing, prioritizing areas with high poverty and unemployment levels, and more.

To read the full Inner City TIRZ Project Plan, click here.

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther worked as a bilingual reporter and editorial assistant for the Rivard Report from June 2016 to October 2017. She is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and holds a bachelor's in English...