EDC signs off on first incentive offer

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The new Auto Zone, announced by the City Council in May, will be the first beneficiary of the newly-minted Liberty Hill Economic Development Corporation (EDC) incentive program.

The EDC announced up to $20,000 in reimbursements for permit and fee costs as the company builds its new store in Liberty Hill.

The auto parts retailer will be located on the west side of the Corner Store at Stonewall Parkway and State Highway 29. The store will be 7,381 square feet on 1.038 acres.

Economic Development Corporation Director Lance Dean said Auto Zone is expected to employ about 12, three of those full time and likely nine part time.

This is the first time the EDC has considered an application under the new incentives program established in March.

With a minimum capital investment of $1 million, a new business can be reimbursed up to $20,000 in permit costs and fees upon receiving its certificate of occupancy from the city. Existing businesses with expansion plans that include a minimum $500,000 investment may also apply.

To receive the job creation incentive, retail businesses create a minimum of 10 jobs at a $25,000 average annual salary, new industry must create 10 new jobs at an average annual salary of $45,000. Both are required to meet the $1 million capital investment threshold.

For reuse industry and expansion of existing industry, the same number of jobs and average salary applies as
for new industry, but the capital investment threshold is $500,000.

Facade grant approved
The EDC Board approved the facade grant application of Copper Ridge Investments.

The application was tabled in June when board members wanted clarification on whether the property in question – which is a house – could later again be used as residential rather than commercial property. The application was approved at the July meeting with a certificate of occupancy, which would show the building’s new commercial use.

The facade grant for $5,000 will supplement a $6,000 company investment for roof repair and painting, to add landscaping and change out lighting.

The property is currently zoned residential/commercial, but will be turned into a commercial property. Residential properties do not qualify for grants.

The EDC offers facade, sign grant and demolition grant programs to assist businesses looking to improve their property.

The board approved a sign grant for $5,000 in June for Oldcastle Materials, 11729 W. SH 29. The plan is for the sign to be 20-feet tall and just over 12-feet wide. The overall projected cost is $32,388.76 with the additional grant amount of $5,000.

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