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921 Main Street development moves forward

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors officially welcomed aboard new BEDC Executive Director Mike Kamerlander during their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 17 at City Council chambers.

New BEDC Executive Director Mike Kamerlander

Kamerlander has eight years of economic development and marketing experience. Previously, he was vice president for the Greater San Marcos Partnership, a position he held since 2012. He also served as the director of business retention and expansion for the Austin Chamber of Commerce and was a policy analyst for the Texas Senate.

921 Main Street Moves Forward - Economic development for downtown Bastrop has been given a boost with Board approval of final performance and lease agreements between the BEDC and 921 Bastrop, LLC, which was formed by the partners of Stone Cobalt, who had been serving as the BEDC’s redevelopment partner for the vacant lot fronting the south side of Main Street. The developers recently announced they have a letter of intent for a downstairs tenant for the planned 9,000 square-foot building.

Richard Smarzik praises 921 Main development. (Terry Hagerty photos)

History of 921 Main – In February 2017, ownership of the open-air site at 921 Main Street was transferred to the BEDC by the City of Bastrop. Stone Cobalt was selected to market the site in October 2017. The site had sat vacant from 2003-2009 after a fire had destroyed the building there. The cement slab – which has two common walls from bordering businesses and a back wall bordering a City parking lot – was used for varied community events until wall deterioration stopped its use in 2016. Richard Smarzik, co-owner of Relics Jewelry & Gift Emporium (925 Main St.) with his wife and metalsmith Anne Smarzik, said having a new business next door “will be a game changer for downtown. A destination retailer will bring foot traffic in from Austin and Houston,” he said, referring to the Hwy. 71 corridor between the two cities.

BEDC Board of Directors (Terry Hagerty photos)

Seton Agreement – In other action after coming out of executive session, the Board authorized the Executive Director to execute a second amendment to the Seton Performance Agreement. Seton Healthcare has already broken ground for a $30 million medical site that will include a hospital, emergency room and medical offices on the south side of the Hwy. 71/Hwy. 304 intersection.