New Hutto project could be ‘most significant industrial development in Central Texas in the past 100 years’

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The Hutto Economic Development Corporation Type B board tonight voted to issue up to $10 million in a series of sales tax revenue bonds in order to develop an industrial park on the city’s ‘Hutto Rail Central’ property.

In a separate meeting immediately following the Hutto EDC vote, Hutto City Council voted to approve the resolutions passed by the EDC board.

“This has the potential to be the most significant industrial development in Central Texas in the past 100 years,” said Bill Gravell, chairman of the Hutto EDC Type B board. “It’s the right land at the right time, in the right community, for the right reason.”

According to city documents, the EDC and city of Hutto entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Titan Lone Star LLC, a subsidiary company of Titan Development, an Albuquerque-based development firm to develop the Hutto Rail Central project.

The Hutto Rail Central is a 453-acre piece of undeveloped property located in Hutto’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, west of FM 3349 and south of Hwy. 79. Previous city document and development deals have referred to the property as the “Megasite.”

The performance agreement the city and EDC entered into with Titan, which is also developing the $100 million Innovation Business Park in Hutto, includes mandates on investment from both the city and development company, among other provisions.

The Hutto EDC board voted on five separate resolutions that were all related in one form or another to the Titan deal, including the bond issuance resolution. The resolution originally called on a 20-year bond series worth up to $10 million.

EDC board members amended that language and instead approved to consider a 30-year bond series worth up to $10 million. The final bond series terms will be decided at a pricing meeting in New York later this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.

According to city documents, debt on the bond payments will be paid by revenue generated through the city’s sales tax revenue. The Hutto EDC Type B receives 0.5 percent of the receipts of taxable items.

Language in the resolution authorizing the bond issuance states a notice was posted in the “Taylor Press” on Feb. 11. The Hutto EDC Board did not receive a petition from more than 10 percent of registered voters in the city, which would have required the city hold an election for the bond.

The city of Hutto itself is not issuing this bond series and there are no new taxes created by the city to pay for this bond series.

“This is not the city issuing bonds. This is the city okaying the EDC board to do so,” Hutto City Manager Odis Jones said.

The performance agreement the city and EDC entered into with Titan Lone Star mandates the development firm will invest at least $2.5 million in improvements on a minimum 200,000-square-feet of rail-served industrial speculative space.

Additional provisions in the performance agreement mandate that Titan lease or sell a certain amount of property by a preset date in the future. Titan must also create at least 300 full-time jobs by the end of year 20 of the bond issuance, including 15 full-time jobs in the first year.

The performance agreement mandates the city will in turn create an infrastructure fund. Funds will be used for infrastructure and utilities for the benefit of the development property. Titan will deposit revenue from the difference in the raw land appraisal value and real land appraisal value to that infrastructure fund.

According to Jones, the Hutto EDC Type B is set to purchase the property at a price of 45 cents per square foot. The Hutto EDC Type B will then sell the property to Titan at a price of no less than $1 per square foot.

A clarification was made on this article to accurately reflect the sale price of no less than $1 per square foot for the property.

4 comments
COMMENT
  1. I guess I missed something, but if this is to be a 100 year industrial project, what industries are signed up for or likely to be part of this. I didn’t see any mention of that. Is this a ‘build it and they will come’ approach? Many of those have failed. Not to be negative, but it is Hutto, after all.

    • And some more “farm land” to be destroyed with buildings, roadways, rain runoff, etc. When will this destruction stop?

  2. And some more “farm land” to be destroyed with buildings, roadways, rain runoff, etc. When will this destruction stop?

  3. Norman’s Crossing

    “Lovely”. An industrial Site out in the middle of our agriculture. The farming industry which has sustained the blackland soil economy, heritage and valueable family business will be in grave danger. Development and “leadership” is not paying attention to floodplain maps. They are rushing to sell this land based on a contract with the previous fired EDC. New floodplain maps are not available for our area. It will “be a year or so.” Data is based on information that is over 10 years old. No current environmental impact data. Our area is flooding. It will only get worse. This site’s drainoff could jeopardize farms and families. A few that have been in operation for 100 plus years. Texas Family businesses!

    Our land is a valuable resource. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Williamson County, the new ARMPIT of central Texas. Drive out to Hutto and post what makes this area unique. Hint, it’s not the new subdivisions, fast food, fake silos or leadership. It’s THE LAND. The black soil. Found nowhere else.

    Hutto EDC is NOT seeking Community Input. They are NOT posting on any social media or by mail. Not even with this publisher. We don’t live in Taylor. Hutto’s nominated (not elected) EDC does not even live in our area. They are being evasive. This is not even the same EDC that was fired less than a year ago. Hutto EDC, switching names and not transparent with land use. We’ve been to these meetings when someone leaks information. They are always in executive session, behind closed doors. Community Impact meets with Odis Jones weekly. Why doesn’t the EDC and Hutto’s City Counsel meet with landowners directly on a regular basis? This impacts Texas landowners. There is NO public input.

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Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. He additionally worked with an investigative news organization where he reported on environmental topics and was a featured writer for Epicast Network, a Pittsburgh podcast company. Iain has now transitioned full-time into covering Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto.
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