San Marcos Tanger Outlets wants tax incentive deal with city

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SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — Tanger Outlets is looking to add $5 million in amenities for customers at their shopping center in San Marcos. General Manager John Lairsen proposed a “380 Agreement” tax incentive deal to city council at a meeting Tuesday night. If passed, the deal would give the outlets the funding it needs.

“We want to add a list of amenities for our shoppers, including a new walkway, to baby nursing lounges and a even VIP lounge for international shoppers,” said Lairsen.

Tanger Outlets hopes shoppers themselves will help pay for the upgrades.

“We’ve asked the city to fund a percentage of the increase in sales tax over last year’s numbers,” said Lairsen.

He says the new amenities will bring in more sales, and thus more tax revenue. The city would keep a portion of that increase and the rest would go to the outlet.

“We’ve asked for 75 percent of that increase and the city would keep 25 percent,” explained Lairsen. He adds that good deals are not the only thing attracting modern consumers.

“Our stores offer wonderful deals, but that’s just part of the equation. You need to make it a really nice experience for shoppers,” said Lairsen.

Shopper Cristopher Contel-Lima agrees. He says he makes the trip to the outlets every six months with his family from southern Mexico to snag some good deals.

“The clothes here are so cheap for me,” said Contel. “But it’s the mood of the place that I like here. It’s so relaxing.”

Joeann Matthews from Kyle says she makes the trip to the Tanger Outlets every few weeks. She says the center is missing just a few things.

“A covered place outside where people can congregate and sit and take a break from shopping would be nice. And maybe a playscape for kids so they can take a break,” said Matthews.

San Marcos city council approved this request and will meet sometime in the upcoming weeks for a final vote on this proposal.

Popular clothing store H&M has announced plans for a 20,000 square foot store that is expected to open in San Marcos in late 2015.

Similar Agreements

The city of Austin has signed nearly two dozen similar 380 agreements. About 20 businesses have received subsidies from the City of Austin to bring more than 14,000 jobs.  The city has already issued more than $43 million in payments.

Austin city officials estimate they will pay out more than $90 million more by the time all active agreements end. The city’s first agreement of this kind was with the Domain. To receive $37 million from the city, they had to commit to having at least 1,000 jobs in Austin.

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