Kyle City Council voted Nov. 5 to hold a public hearing Nov. 20 on the potential creation of a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, in the area of the future Uptown Kyle development.

A TIRZ is a district created in tax increment financing, which is a municipal financial tool that dedicates future tax revenue within a certain boundary to investment in the same area.

Uptown Kyle, located around the intersection of FM 1626 and Kohler’s Crossing, has been part of the plan for Plum Creek since it was first established in the late '90s, Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers said when he presented the issue at the council meeting.

“But really no one knew what that would look like,” Sellers said.

In recent years, the landowners have contracted the developer Momark, which brought in the firm Design Workshop to begin work on the project.

“They said the time has finally arrived after all these years to start moving forward,” Sellers said.

The preliminary design is a town-square concept, Sellers said; the development will include ground-floor retail in addition to multifamily housing and office space.

Street design is an important part of the town-square model, Sellers said, which means that investment must be made in elements such as trees, benches and lights. A TIRZ could raise money for those improvements.

The Uptown TIRZ would be Kyle’s second. The first, which includes Kyle Marketplace and the area surrounding and including EVO Entertainment, was created in 2004 after voters approved a bond for work on FM 1626 between FM 2770 and I-35. Knowing the road would lead to commercial development along I-35, the city created a TIRZ to capture the revenue that would be generated.

But when the recession came, the TIRZ underperformed, Sellers said, and has had to be supplemented by the city’s general fund.

When Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell announced the plan for Uptown during his state of the city address in July, he emphasized that this TIRZ would be more siloed; it would not be supported by the general fund.

If the council decides to proceed with the TIRZ after the public hearing, the next step will be to appoint a board—usually made up mostly of elected officials—to create a detailed plan. The Hays County commissioners would also have to vote on the TIRZ.

In August Mitchell told Community Impact Newspaper that, partly because the TIRZ will not be subsidized, it could be several years before Uptown sees significant development.

“The projects that we might incentivize initially may be small,” Mitchell said. “But as the district grows, we will gain in our ability to pay for public amenities in that area.”

The public hearing will be Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Kyle City Hall, 100 W. Center St., Kyle.