Hutto serves $3M to restaurant development

Venture from Common Ground and Marbella Interests to include retail and office

Common Ground's David Luebke and Hutto Mayor Mike Snyder with development site for Project ESLO

Common Ground’s David Luebke and Hutto Mayor Mike Snyder with development site for Project ESLO (LinkedIn, City of Hutto, Getty)

A $3 million incentives package has been approved for a commercial development in a town not far from Austin.

Hutto City Council voted 5-2 last week in favor of an agreement to help fund Project ESLO — a 5-acre complex at the southeast corner of Ed Schmidt Boulevard and future extension of West Live Oak Street. Plans include restaurants, retail and office space, the Austin Business Journal reported. Hutto is a little less than 30 miles northeast of downtown Austin. 

Two Austin-based companies, developer Common Ground and investment firm Marbella Interests, are tied to LLCs that purchased the sites and are entering the agreement with Hutto. A shell company called WCD Ed Schmidt LLC purchased the site in February, according to Williamson County public records. 

The incentive package includes a 10-year, $1.5 million performance grant based on the project hitting revenue and construction requirements. There’s also a 15-year sales tax reimbursement of $1.2 million that can be terminated early if that maximum is reached, the outlet said.

City officials in December estimated that the development would result in $14 million in taxable sales, with capital investment pegged at $10 million to $15 million. They also guessed that it would create 100 full-time jobs.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Hutto Mayor Mike Snyder was one of the two council members who voted against the proposal. The agreement is too vague and doesn’t provide enough specifics on potential tenants, he said. Providing incentives for a development that hasn’t been zoned also sets a bad precedent, he said.

“We are incentivizing someone to build a retail center that will include four restaurants, of which we don’t know anybody that is going to be in there,” Snyder said during the meeting. “Once you start doing this, everybody is going to come up and say, ‘Well you did it for these guys, so we need money too.'”

Council member Peter Gordo pushed back, saying it’s not a typical commercial development with basic spec buildings. Rather, he believes the project will stand out as something “very cool, very unique.”

—Quinn Donoghue 

Read more