BY AMBROSIO HERNANDEZ
Today, I will be hosting the second annual State of the City address to update local and regional leaders on the many accomplishments Pharr enjoyed last year, as well as to highlight upcoming projects and goals for 2018. This afternoon, Pharr will be hosting a community birthday celebration, a free event for Pharr families to meet with city officials, learn about city services, and enjoy the festivities honoring 109 years since the city’s founding. We invite all Pharr residents to join us at 5 p.m. at the Pharr Events Center, 3000 N. Cage Blvd., in Pharr.
So far this new year, we have already set the pace for what promises to be a phenomenal year. Last week, we celebrated multiple milestones on several projects. We hosted the grand opening of Index Fresh, a 60,000-square-foot avocado ripening facility, marking the first fully-operational tenant in Pharr’s produce park. We also celebrated the grand opening of the South Pharr Development and Research Center, a multi-purpose community facility that aims to improve economic conditions for families in South Pharr.
Most notably, we broke ground for one of the most highly-anticipated entertainment venues, Topgolf, which now calls Pharr home. On Jan. 10, dozens of local area officials, community leaders, business representatives, and friends ceremoniously helped turn dirt and “teed off” to commemorate the groundbreaking of Pharr’s newest entertainment venue, Topgolf. As mayor of Pharr, I am excited at the opportunities that this new venue will bring for our community, and we look forward to enjoying the many memorable experiences to be had at Topgolf for years to come. We are on an assertive timeline, and Topgolf is expected to open this winter.
The Texas Government Code authorizes cities in Texas to enter into economic stimulus agreements with entities interested in doing business in the community. As is the case for many cities in Texas, Pharr entered into a 380 Stimulus Agreement with Topgolf, detailing specific and mutually-beneficial responsibilities for each party. Upon full execution of the 380 Stimulus Agreement by both parties and with the public event and groundbreaking ceremony behind us, the partnership with Topgolf has now been solidified and the project is moving forward with the commencement of construction.
To highlight the successful partnership that was made possible under Texas economic development programs, and in the interest of transparency to the public with no further risk of competitive disadvantage in regard to this project, the City of Pharr is proud to make the following information available:
>> The City of Pharr sold 15.347 acres to Topgolf for $4.926 million.
>> The City of Pharr agreed to certain economic development incentives, as allowable under Chapter 380 of the Texas Government Code, and based on achieving specific performance measures.
>> The total incentive package is expected to be equivalent to the cost of Topgolf’s land purchase, thereby having a zero net impact on the Pharr taxpayer.
Topgolf must meet certain performance measures set forth by an agreed-upon timeline, and include the following responsibilities:
>> Topgolf shall make a $22 million minimum investment for the facility.
>> Topgolf shall be a first-class golf-based entertainment facility that will open by July 2019.
>> Topgolf shall employ a minimum of 250 new jobs.
>> Topgolf shall encourage contractors and vendors to utilize Pharr hotels and vendors.
Based on successful completion of performance tasks, incentives provided by the city to Topgolf include the following:
>> The City of Pharr agrees to rebate certain infrastructure and permit fees paid by Topgolf, not to exceed $1.127 million.
>> The City of Pharr agrees to provide Topgolf a 50 percent property tax rebate for 10 years. Topgolf will pay the full cost of property taxes every year, and upon successful evaluation of performance measures, Pharr will return half of the paid property tax to Topgolf.
>> The City of Pharr agrees to provide Topgolf a 50 percent sales tax rebate for 12 years. Topgolf will pay the required sales taxes to the state; half of the paid sales taxes will be refunded to Topgolf.
>> The City of Pharr agrees to provide a full Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone rebate over 16 years.
As city leaders, we are grateful that our state supports economic development programs that allow local governments and communities to be competitive to attract and retain businesses and attractions that will yield a great return on investment. Again, the total incentive package is expected to have a zero net impact on the Pharr taxpayer, while reaping the benefits of hundreds of new jobs, a boost in economic activity for our area, and an improvement in the quality of life for our Pharr families and visitors.
We appreciate the support we continue to receive from our Pharr citizens, our neighboring communities, our local, state and federal leaders, and our media representatives, and we look forward to another great year in Pharr!