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BEDC discusses 921 Main Street, Agnes Street projects at February 26 meeting

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

At its February 26 regular meeting, the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation considered and took action on several agenda items, including the redevelopment of the lot at 921 Main Street and debt issuance for the street extension/drainage projects for Agnes Street and Technology Drive/MLK. The Board also heard updates on upcoming programs and events.

The Bastrop EDC Board met on Feb. 26th. (Terry Hagerty photos)Executive Director Shawn Kirkpatrick updated the Board on leasing interest/redevelopment and site remediation at 921 Main Street. In 2016, the Bastrop City Council approved the EDC spearheading redevelopment options for 921 Main Street. There was substantial public input on ideas for the open-air lot on the east side of Main, midway between Chestnut and Pine Street.

After a presentation at the October 16 EDC Board meeting by Stone Cobalt – a joint venture between Stone Development Group and Cobalt Real Estate Group – the Board authorized Kirkpatrick to execute a non-binding Letter of Intent for the redevelopment of 921 Main. That initial letter was set to expire on March 1, and Stone Cobalt requested an extension of the letter for 120 days. The Board unanimously passed a motion made by Mayor Connie Schroeder to extend the Letter of Intent for 60 days, and will consider another extension at a future meeting, if necessary. 

Bonnie Coffey spoke to the Board regarding 921 Main Street.

Regarding an interim remediation plan, Stone Cobalt has concerns about the detrimental effect that future weather events will have on the site. Kirkpatrick told the Board that exterior conditions – moisture damage to the exposed exterior walls on each side – had “already changed dramatically” after Hurricane Harvey. BEDC Project Manager Jean Riemenschneider reported the property is being actively scouted by potential clients. “There are parties interested in both the retail and office space,” Riemenschneider told the Board.

The Board heard a presentation by Jason Hughes with Hilltop Securities concerning bond debt options.Agnes Street Extension – The Board also heard a presentation from Jason Hughes with Hilltop Securities concerning the EDC’s desire to issue debt in Fiscal Year 2018 for the Agnes Street Extension Project and the Technology Drive/MLK Extension and Drainage Project, with options for either $1.2 million, $2.6 million or $3.0 million. Hughes’ slide presentation encompassed the components of a potential bond issuance and projected debt service terms for 10, 15, and 20 years. For the $1.2 million project proceeds, the projected total debt service by years (in parentheses) would be: $1,501,147 (10 years); $1,679,641 (15 years), and $1,904,347 (20 years). For the $3.0 million project proceeds, the projected total debt service would be: $3,667,916 (10 years); $4,099,859 (15 years), and $4,658,166 (20 years). The $2.6 million option would cost an average $200,000 per year for a 20-year term.  

Future actions for the Board would entail a board decision on financing (i.e., the money amount and repayment terms); distribution of term sheet soliciting bids; and receiving and ranking the bids. After the bids are reported to the Board, they will be informed of the final interest rates and term for the debt service. Next would be Board consideration of final pricing and closing approximately 30-35 days later. 

Event Updates – There was also an update on upcoming events and programs the EDC is participating in. Staff is “is in full planning mode” for the 2018 Youth Career Day on Friday, April 20 at the Bastrop ISD Jerry Fay Wilhelm Performing Arts Center. This year’s event will include sophomore and junior students. EDC staff has also been meeting with BISD and Workforce Solutions to discuss opportunities for partnering in community education programs. The City and BEDC had a resounding “Thank you for all of your community support of Bastrop in the Small Business Revolution” competition. Bastrop came in second to Alton, Illinois, but City Manager Lynda Humble delivered an inspiring post-announcement speech at the Bastrop Opera House in which she told an overflow audience that Bastrop had indeed won, when it came to the community pulling together. Joining Bastrop EDC for the SXSW Interactive Tradeshow on March 11-14 at the Austin Convention Center will be Bastrop County, Elgin and Smithville officials, which will encompass ‘brand building’ for the B.E.S.T (Bastrop, Elgin, Smithville, Tx) economic development group, promoting Bastrop County as the BEST location in Texas.