Council approves agreement for Westinghouse Business Center

Georgetown City Council approved an economic development agreement at its Oct. 9 meeting that paves the way for the construction of a 98,000-square-foot business park on Westinghouse Road between FM 1460 and Mays Street.

The Westinghouse Business Center will provide speculative space for a variety of commercial uses, such as medical, technology and professional services, as well as retail space.

Mayor Dale Ross said the development aligns with the City’s target industries and meets the economic development department’s strategic goal of encouraging speculative development.

“The Westinghouse Business Center is a win for Georgetown because it meets the biggest need we have, which is available space for businesses to move into quickly,” Ross said. “We identified the need for speculative development in our economic development strategic plan, and this 98,000-square-foot business park will not only provide that but also provide the type of space that every one of our target industries can utilize.”

According to the agreement, the City will provide a $500,000 infrastructure reimbursement grant to assist with the development’s cost to install utilities and a left-turn lane.

The project will be developed by TIG Real Estate Services, which has completed a similar project—Scottsdale Crossing—in Cedar Park. The groundbreaking for the nearly $16 million project is expected to be later this month with construction taking about 8 months to complete.

“TIG Real Estate Services is excited to announce the Westinghouse Business Center, a mixed-use business park on Westinghouse Road in the dynamic City of Georgetown,” said Tom Pardee, senior vice president of TIG Real Estate Services. “The park will contain office, light manufacturing and research uses in addition to two retail pads with Westinghouse Road frontage. We would like to thank the City Of Georgetown for their support and look forward to providing an employment center and participating in the continued growth of Georgetown.”

Breakfast Bites: New Ways of Connecting with Old Buildings

Emily Koller The next Breakfast Bites meeting on May 30 will feature Emily Koller, on the topic of New Ways of Connecting with Old Buildings. The informal meeting opens at 8 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth St. The talk will start at 8:30 a.m. Coffee and light breakfast snacks will be provided.

Koller will provide an overview of DowntownTX.org, a place-based real estate tool for historic downtowns. Georgetown was one of the first Main Street cities to be featured on the site. The website is designed as a statewide resource for investors, downtown developers, entrepreneurs, as well as community-minded individuals looking to be part of downtown’s transformation.

Koller works with the Texas Historical Commission as a planner to develop the Town Square Initiative and assist Texas Main Street cities with their downtown planning needs. She has worked as a Main Street director for an urban program on Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and as a city planner in Tulsa and San Marcos.

At the May 30 meeting, there will be updates from City staff on:

  • Art Center and Public Library events
  • Convention and Visitors Bureau updates
  • City Hall campus project update

Also, learn about updates from downtown partner organizations and find out about new businesses in the downtown district that have opened or are under construction.

Breakfast Bites is a quarterly meeting of the Georgetown Main Street Program. If you plan to attend, please RSVP by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, to Kim McAuliffe, downtown development manager for the City of Georgetown, at (512) 930-2027 or at kim.mcauliffe@georgetown.org.

Georgetown receives 2017 National Main Street accreditation

The City of Georgetown’s Main Street Program has been designated as an accredited Main Street America program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center.

Each year, the National Main Street Center and its coordinating program partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs in recognition of their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.

“Thanks to our incredibly dedicated board, volunteers and staff, we are pleased to have earned accreditation once again from the National Main Street Center,” Downtown Development Manager Kim Mcauliffe said.

The Georgetown Main Street Program is a preservation-driven, economic development organization. In just the past 10 years, Georgetown has seen a total reinvestment of $53.5 million in private and public projects, which has resulted in a net gain of 40 businesses and 320 new jobs created in the community.

“Main Streets are the heart of our communities, and the work they do to create quality public spaces, catalyze local entrepreneurship, and support downtown housing is more important than ever. Across the county, Main Street America programs truly strengthen the economic, social, and cultural fabric of their entire communities,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center.

Evaluation criteria determine the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing an operating budget, tracking programmatic progress and actively preserving historic buildings.

Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

 

Breakfast Bites on downtown strategy

Downtown retail and development will be the focus of the next Breakfast Bites Wednesday, June 14. The quarterly event is sponsored by the Georgetown Economic Development Department and features current downtown topics and trends.

Jason Claunch, principal and CEO of Catalyst, will present on the retail merchandising strategy for downtown. The downtown strategy goes beyond retail and touches on other areas of development for downtown.

The City of Georgetown Economic Development Department worked with Catalyst to complete the Retail Strategy and Recruitment Plan last year. The Plan includes analysis of the retail environment in Georgetown, including the downtown district, and an implementation plan. To read the plan or find out more about it, go to invest.georgetown.org/retail-strategy-and-recruitment-plan.

The event on June 14 is from 8:30 to 9:50 a.m. at Grace Heritage Center, 811 S. Main St. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and drinks will be provided. Networking begins at 8 a.m. The event is free and open to all.

Attendees should register by contacting Kim McAuliffe, downtown development manager for the City of Georgetown, at Kim.Mcauliffe@georgetown.org or (512) 930-2027.

Georgetown wins 2017 Workforce Excellence Award

The Georgetown Workforce Development Alliance, which includes the City of Georgetown, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, and Georgetown Independent School District, was awarded the Texas Economic Development Council’s 2017 Workforce Excellence Award for population 40,001 to 100,000 today.

The alliance is a collaborative community effort to align quality education with workforce development needs and was started as the Education Committee of the Chamber, which has its roots in the GTSet4Success; Aligning Education and Economic Development initiative, which began in 2009.

“We are excited that the hard work the Workforce Development Alliance has put into our community is being recognized at a state level,” Georgetown Economic Development Director Michaela Dollar said. “This collaborative group is an extraordinary asset to have in Georgetown as we grow and develop the city. It is also a testament to the cooperative business environment that makes us so unique.”

The WDA’s efforts in 2016 resulted in programs such as the Georgetown Career Fair and the first Manufacturing Day. The career fair was hosted for GISD juniors and seniors and included job openings with local employers as well as sessions on interviewing skills and resume writing. Manufacturing Day included several local manufacturers hosting more than 60 high school students to spur interest for future training and employment opportunities.

“The WDA is invested in addressing the workforce needs of our growing City and implementing successful workforce initiatives to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community,” Chamber President Karen Sheldon said.

The Workforce Excellence Award program recognizes exceptional contributions by a Texas community or region that has implemented successful workforce initiatives. Nominees were judged on five criteria: innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives, and secondary benefits.

“Our TEDC’s Workforce Excellence Award is one of the ways in which our organization honors the outstanding work done by our communities and regions, their leaders, and their economic development professionals in the area of workforce development,” TEDC President/CEO Carlton Schwab said.

UDC Amendments take effect April 1

Changes to the Unified Development Code that were approved by City Council on February 28, 2017, will take effect on April 1, 2017.  After numerous public meetings over the past year, Council approved several amendments to the code.  Most of these changes were based on previous updates to the City’s Comprehensive (2030) Plan and Elements in prior years.

The newly amended code is now published and available for download. The Development Manual will be updated to reflect those changes.  The red-lined chapters, as part of the Ordinance, will remain on the website so the changes can be seen. The primary changes made to the Unified Development Code from the existing regulations include:

  • Chapter 3 – Development Applications
    • Development Application Order
    • Plat Extensions
    • Establishing a Subdivision Variance process
  • Chapters 6 and 7 – Development Standards
    • Clarified setback requirements
    • Applicability of Chapters
  • Chapter 12 – Pedestrian and Vehicle Circulation
    • Pedestrian and Bicycle mobility
    • Streets
    • Driveways and Easement
    • Road Adequacy Standards
    • Established a formula for existing and future connectivity
    • Intersection spacing
    • Cul-de-sac- protection
  • Chapter 13 – Public Improvements
    • Codification of current practice for requesting voluntary annexation
  • Chapter 16 – Definitions
    • Modified definitions for transportation related items

To view the new UDC in its entirety, please go to the website: https://udc.georgetown.org/unified-development-code/ .

Questions can be directed to planning@georgetown.org.

Holt Cat to open facility in Georgetown

Holt Cat, a Caterpillar equipment and engine sales, rental, parts and service dealer, will build a regional Caterpillar facility at 2101 Airport Road near the intersection of Lakeway Drive and I-35.

The business is expected to create 129 new jobs and a net benefit to the City of more than $13 million over 10 years.

City Council approved an economic development agreement with the construction equipment company during its Jan. 24 meeting. Under the agreement, if the company meets its expectations, the City will rebate up to $1.5 million in sales taxes generated by the company over five years.

The City is also moving forward with infrastructure improvements in the area, including expanding Airport Road and extending a wastewater line along I-35 that will allow for future commercial development as well as the Holt Cat facility.

The council also approved a $185,000 Georgetown Economic Development Corp. grant to connect to the wastewater line extension.

“We’re excited that Holt Cat has chosen Georgetown to locate its newest regional sales hub. This facility will bring investment and jobs to a previously undeveloped area and initiate additional growth around it,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “This economic development agreement is another excellent example of what can get done when City departments work together. This is the direct result of various departments, such as economic development, utility services, planning and others, coming together to help bring another outstanding employer to Georgetown.”

The company expects to build an approximately 60,000-square-foot facility by the end of 2018, invest a minimum of $20 million in infrastructure and improvements by the end of 2018 and have a minimum of $27.5 million in sales per year for the first five full calendar years of operation.

“We appreciate the City of Georgetown’s decision, and are excited for Holt Cat to be a bigger part of the community,” said Tony Shedrock, Holt Cat vice president of general services. “Recognizing the growing need to support our customers and employees along the I-35 corridor, our new location in Georgetown will provide a great work environment that will assist in better serving our customers and will provide for a substantial positive economic impact for Georgetown and their citizens.”

The location will be the company’s largest retail location built in more than 30 years and will be a state-of-the-art facility, Shedrock said.

“We very much appreciate the way the staff and City Council made us feel welcome and worked with us to make this venture possible,” Shedrock said.

Holt Cat expects to hire specialized heavy-equipment mechanics as well as administrative, sales and marketing positions with an average salary of $48,500.

The San Antonio-based company sells, rents and services Caterpillar machines, engines, generator sets and trucks throughout a 118-county region in Texas.

Unified Development Code Amendments Office Hours

The City of Georgetown Planning Department will be hosting office visiting hours for anybody interested in learning more about the amendments, running through specific development examples, and addressing any questions you may have. Dedicated office hours will be held Wednesday, January 4 from  4 to 6 p.m.

To sign up for a specific appointment please email planning@georgetown.org. If a different time or day works better for you please do not hesitate to email us so we can arrange a separate time. UDC proposed changes can be found at udc.georgetown.org/udc-amendments.

Solar Power Deal Finalized with NRG Energy

The sale of a 154-megawatt photovoltaic solar project to NRG Energy last week moves the City of Georgetown electric utility a step closer to a 100 percent renewable energy supply. The PV solar electricity plant near Fort Stockton will supply energy to Georgetown through a 25-year purchased-power agreement that starts in July 2018.

solar-panels-in-ca-webThe solar project, formerly known as Buckthorn, was acquired by NRG Energy from SunEdison, who owned the plant through a subsidiary corporation. The solar plant is one asset being sold by SunEdison under chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The acquisition of the solar plant by NRG Energy was completed last week after approvals by the Georgetown City Council and the respective boards of NRG Energy and SunEdison.

“The sale of this solar project to NRG Energy marks an important milestone in our plan to provide fixed, competitive costs to our utility customers for the next 20 years,” says Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross. “Securing this agreement for solar power and allowing Georgetown to become one of the first cities in the nation with 100 percent clean renewable energy is good for our customers, good for economic development, and good for the planet.”

Under the agreement with NRG Energy, Georgetown’s fixed cost for electricity from the solar plant is less than the cost under the original agreement with SunEdison.

Georgetown Utility Systems will be the sole wholesale customer for energy from the solar project under the agreement with NRG Energy. Electricity output from the solar plant that exceeds demand from Georgetown will be cleared to ERCOT for sale to other utilities. Construction on the solar farm, which began last year, will resume next year.

The NRG Energy solar project will be the second renewable energy plant to power Georgetown when it comes online. The Spinning Spur 3 wind project owned by EDF Renewable Energy has been supplying the city with energy from 97 wind turbines since it began operations in October 2015. The wind farm located 50 miles west of Amarillo is under a 20-year contract to supply 144 megawatts of energy to Georgetown.

While Spinning Spur 3 was projected to meet 90 percent of Georgetown’s energy needs, over the last 12 months, the electricity output from the wind plant has exceeded Georgetown’s consumption, making Georgetown 100 percent renewable for that period. The excess energy has been cleared into the ERCOT market.

To learn more about Georgetown Utility Systems and the move to 100 percent renewable energy, go to gus.georgetown.org/renewable-energy.

What’s Next in Downtown? Breakfast Bites on November 16

breakfast-bites-flyer-11-16-16-webWhat’s Next in Downtown? is the topic for the next Breakfast Bites quarterly meeting on November 16. Breakfast Bites is a quarterly business development event sponsored by the Georgetown Main Street Program.

The November 16 event features Michaela Dollar and Andreina Davila-Quintero, two City of Georgetown employees, who will talk about the City’s plan for development and retail recruitment.

Michaela Dollar is the director of economic development for the City of Georgetown. Before coming to Georgetown this summer, Dollar led business recruitment efforts for the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and helped in the formation of the Williamson County Economic Development Partnership. Dollar previously worked for economic development organizations in Dallas, Cedar Hill, and Panama City, Florida where she focused on business recruitment, retention, marketing, and incentive negotiations.

Andreina Davila-Quintero has been a project coordinator with the City of Georgetown since 2013. Davila-Quintero worked for seven years as a municipal planner in cities in Texas, Florida and Venezuela before coming to Georgetown. In her current position, Davila-Quintero has played a key role in coordinating projects such as Georgetown’s Retail Strategy and Recruitment Plan and the Williams Drive Corridor Study.

The event on Wednesday, November 16 is from 8:30 to 9:50 a.m. in the Friends Room at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W. Eighth Street. Breakfast snacks, coffee, and drinks will be provided. Networking starts at 8 a.m.

Attendees should pre-register by contacting Shelly Hargrove, Main Street manager, by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 14 at shelly.hargrove@georgetown.org or (512) 930-2027. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown.