El Paso, TX. Wal-Mart Gives Up On Another One--Despite Super Tax Breaks
Wal-Mart has decided to take a pass on a project in El Paso.
At the end of October, Wal-Mart told the city of El Paso,Texas that it had bailed out on a land use agreement with a developer for a “smart growth” project. The city had lined up a huge tax break for the developer---as much as $26.7 million over 20 years in property tax rebates, according to the El Paso Times.
The developer would have used the tax breaks to pay for roads, water and sewer lines. This kind of infrastructure improvement saves the developer construction costs, and increases the value of their project when done---so they win twice. In this case, the “smart” growth means if the developer is smart he will grab the welfare while its on the table.
This project, on 200 acres of Wal-Mart land, would include 1,245 units of housing, 2 hotels, offices, entertainment and retail—anchored by a Wal-Mart superstore. The city approved the tax breaks 5 years ago.
Neither Wal-Mart nor the developer would comment on why their agreement hit the Wal. The retailer did not agree to sell the land to the developer. El Paso officials were willing to give away the store, so to speak, to make this project happen, but despite their candy store, Wal-Mart did not see enough of a financial bottom line for them to push the project through.
It’s amazing that local officials will give up so much property tax revenue that is rich enough to finance the project itself. The corporate welfare looks mighty good, even to the billionaires. The answer could be as simple as Wal-Mart could not get the sales priced it wanted from the developer.
What you can do: El Paso would have been “smart” to tell the retailer to build their store without welfare from city taxpayers. The photo below shows how environmentally stupid is it to talk strikingly beautiful land and defile it with bog box retail.