A vote by the San Marcos City Council on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, approved a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement with Hill Country Group, LLC. The agreement provides a tax rebate incentive to support construction of a film production studio in San Marcos. Construction on the project is expected to begin in April 2023 and will be conducted in three phases, with an anticipated completion date set for August 2025.
The 820,000-square foot facility, to be built near Wonder World Drive and West Center Point Road in the La Cima development, will include stages, workshops, offices, and support spaces. The film production studio is expected to bring 44 full-time employees to San Marcos upon full project completion and employ up to 1,400 additional contract workers. It will also support local vendors providing services and supplies needed for on-site production projects including but not limited to caterers, dry cleaners, tailors, lumber suppliers, digital equipment suppliers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and commercial real estate agents.
The Texas Film Commission maintains a database of businesses available to offer support services to production companies. Local businesses interested in creating a listing can register for free at gov.texas.gov/film.
“We’re excited to see the opportunities this project brings to San Marcos,” said Assistant City Manager Joe Pantalion. “We’re excited Hill Country Group, LLC has chosen to invest in San Marcos for this project and we’re confident the film production studio will positively impact our local businesses and our City’s overall economy.”
The Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement with Hill Country Group, LLC was recommended by the City’s Economic Development Board in November 2021. It provides tax rebates for five years, beginning once construction is complete in 2025. The City’s 10-year economic impact analysis projects a 249% return on investment, not including additional income generated through permitting, applications, or construction activity.
“The film and television industry has had a positive economic impact in other states and its growth in Texas brings a lot of potential to San Marcos,” said Economic & Business Development Manager Kelsee Jordan Lee. “An average of $250,000 is contributed to the local economy each day a major motion picture films on location. The industry also provides quality jobs, with salaries higher than the national average.”
The development also brings environmental benefits. Hill Country Studios will be built at 48% impervious cover, which is less than the 80% that would have been allowed for a commercial project at this location in La Cima. The La Cima development must meet an overall impervious cover limit of 19% which is below the 20% limit contained in current City Code. Hill Country Group, LLC will also develop a Water Pollution Abatement Plan to address stormwater quality and aquifer protection, and construct water quality controls that meet the City’s current requirements which are more stringent than the base La Cima agreement. The project will also protect trees and plant native landscaping, and is expected to include onsite vehicle charging stations and a community bicycle program.
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