Expansion of Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 8 – Executive Summary
What is the project?
In 2014, City Council approved the expansion of TIRZ 8 from its original 331 acres to an expanded area of approximately 7,838 acres including property south and southwest of Gulfgate Mall. The expansion now offers the opportunity to positively impact the area just south of the mall as well as sites further south and generally surrounding William P. Hobby Airport.
Fast Facts about the Expanded Zone
- Catalysts: Gulfgate Mall and William P. Hobby Airport
- Size of the zone prior to expansion: 331 acres/0.52 square miles
- Current size of the zone: 7,838 acres/12.24 square miles
- Anticipated life of the expanded zone: 30 years (est. 2044)
Why expand TIRZ No. 8?
Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No.8 was expanded, in part, to take full advantage of a number of events that aligned to create a rare opportunity for reinvestment. Consider the following:
- Obligations of TIRZ No. 8 were nearly complete, providing an opportunity to utilize the increment to immediately catalyze improvements in surrounding areas. Locations to the north were already beginning to see a positive transition. The areas located south of Gulfgate Mall offered a logical location to expand reinvestment efforts.
- The Hobby Area District was (and continues to be) aggressively operating to make conditions within the Hobby area ripe for new investment and reinvestment. Initial improvements included public safety measures, brand awareness and engagement with area partners such as the City of Houston, Scenic Houston and TIRZ No. 8 to leverage resources and expand the ability to impact the area.
- The City of Houston hosted Super Bowl LI in February 2017 and, in preparation, the City embarked on a number of improvements intended to enhance the experience of guests to the area while also making lasting functional and beautification improvements to areas such as Broadway Street, Airport Boulevard and the Hobby Airport. In total, the City of Houston invested $17 million in roadway reconstruction along Broadway, $11 million in enhancements to Airport Boulevard, and $250 million in overall improvements to Hobby Airport.
- Scenic Houston was in the process of partnering with the Hobby Area District to make a number of visual and functional improvements along the Broadway Street corridor to substantially enhance the travel experience along this roadway, both for guests as well as local travelers. The expanded TIRZ provided another resource to aid in enhancements to the Broadway corridor, particularly mobility-related projects such as sidewalk and intersection enhancements.
- Southwest Airlines had expanded to include international travel through William P. Hobby Airport which has resulted in substantial increases to passenger traffic. Equally important, however, improvements to the airport and the expanded scope of the airport also positively impacted heavy commercial and industrial activity in the area. Today, the TIRZ continues to offer the possibility of aiding in this effort through improvements to roadways and infrastructure, as well as possibility of site acquisition and demolition activity, as needed to allow vacant and currently underperforming areas to reach their full economic potential.
- The Hobby Area Management District pursued a Livable Centers study through the Houston-Galveston Area Council in order to vision for the Hobby area. Today, the district continues to build upon that study and seeks out opportunities
- As noted in the incorporated spreadsheet, the expanded TIRZ offers the opportunity to utilize increment as it becomes available and without consideration of additional increment created by new development and valuation throughout the Zone. This conservative assessment indicates sufficient resources to implement improvements in the Zone and to leverage additional resources from partners such as the Hobby Area District, the City of Houston and others.
What projects will be completed by the expanded TIRZ No. 8?
The TIRZ was expanded to take advantage of the number of events transpiring in the area to make reinvestment potential ripe. Because of this, revenue projections do not account for specific private investments; rather, projections are based upon a natural growth rate of 1.5 percent annually. The myriad of public investments in the area, however, are certain to have a positive impact on new investment in the area that will result in increment in excess of that anticipated in initial expansion models.
Projects for the TIRZ are refined in far greater detail prior to investment; however, at minimum they are expected to include:
- Complementary streetscape enhancements to Broadway Street that sidewalks improvements, landscaping, lighting, bridge improvements, connectivity improvements, and signage.
- Additional roadway, streetscape and overall corridor improvements to major corridors such as Bellfort Street, Telephone Road, Long Road, Dixie Road, and Mykawa, that could include additional enhancements such as roadway, median, access management, signage, lighting, landscaping, bikeway enhancements, as well as property acquisition and clearance.
- Infrastructure, roadway and streetscape improvements aimed at preservation and enhancement of neighborhoods such as Glenbrook Valley subdivision, as well as commercial centers, travel and tourism related sites, and vacant and underperforming heavy commercial and industrial areas. Improvements could also be aimed at improving conditions for additional residential activity in the area.
- Open space, green space and recreational amenity improvements that improve the overall condition of the area but also take advantage of unique assets or circumstances of the area in and around the expanded TIRZ No. 8, including improvements along Sims Bayou and within the site of Glenbrook Golf Club which is now the City of Houston Botanic Garden site.
- Strategic acquisition and clearance of sites and structures in order to promote reinvestment at critical locations within the expanded Zone as well as to ensure that services are provided to area residents and employers at an optimum level.