Bexar County and City of San Antonio leaders are set to vote this week on agreements with GM Financial, auto manufacturer General Motors Co.’s finance subsidiary, that would lead to the development of a financial services center in West San Antonio.

GM Financial wants to build a $26.5 million, 100,000 sq. ft. center in Westover Hills, where the company plans to employ nearly 500 people. Employees there would earn an average yearly salary of almost $50,000, as the company must at least adhere to pay requirements in tax abatement rules. The facility is expected to open in January 2017.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, GM Financial has applied for a $406,148 tax abatement with the County and a $339,594 abatement with the City. Commissioners Court will vote Tuesday to have County staff work on their agreement with the company. City Council will have a hearing before voting on the City’s side of the agreement on Thursday.

San Antonio accommodating the presence of even a subsidiary of a major company such as General Motors is a major boon for the City, said Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF).

“The name itself, General Motors, attracts attention of companies all over the world whenever they make an announcement,” Hernandez said. “Having 500 full-time positions, good-paying jobs, will also have a significant economic impact.”

Each tax abatement would last six years cover half of the increased tax value of improvements that GM Financial projects implementing through its limited partnership, SRP LTD. The facility would be located close to North Ellison Road at Westover Link, where the company has also requested that its location be designated a tax increment reinvestment zone.

City staff estimate a $2 million net benefit over 10 years, according to City documents.

Hernandez said the City of San Antonio and SAEDF have been working with GM Financial for months toward solidifying San Antonio as a new location for a service center. The company narrowed its nationwide site search to San Antonio and an Eastern U.S. city that Hernandez declined to name.

Westover Hills remains one of the hottest spots around San Antonio for commercial and residential development. The area is also a site for the establishment of major data and financial service centers built by companies such as Microsoft Corp., CyrusOne, Stream Data Centers, Frost Bank and Nationwide Insurance. That was one main reason for GM Financial picking San Antonio, Hernandez said.

“(GM Financial) gave great consideration to the demographics. They looked at the other operations in the area as well as rooftop patterns. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of the city,” he said.

GM Financial has its origins in the founding of AmeriCredit in September 1992. General Motors acquired AmeriCredit Corp. on Oct. 1, 2010, and renamed it General Motors Financial Co.

In 2011, GM Financial acquired FinanciaLinx to serve GM dealers and customers across Canada. In November 2012, GM Financial acquired of Ally Financial Inc.’s international operations.

Due to these acquisitions, GM Financial has operations in 20 countries, providing auto finance services to 16,000 dealers globally and earning assets of $53 billion, as of Sept. 30, 2015.

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Edmond Ortiz

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.