Real estate group presents plan for San Marcos’ Springtown center

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The city of San Marcos' comprehensive plan calls for Springtown shopping center to be redeveloped into a dense area featuring mixed uses and many transportation options. Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group has plans to redevelop the 18–acre site, which is mostly vacant.

Brett Thorne

A shopping center that San Marcos City Council members called one of the prime properties in the city could be getting a massive facelift in the coming months.

Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group presented the generalities of its plan to redevelop the 18-acre Springtown shopping center near the intersection of Hopkins Street and Thorpe Lane, which has sat mostly vacant since 2009.

Buck Cody, a principal with Endeavor, said the firm envisions a “meaningful aesthetic overhaul” from the time when the center was last occupied by the likes of Target, Best Buy, Bealls and Blockbuster stores.

Cody said the company is planning a more modern look than what he called the “Hill Country–style” that is prevalent in Central Texas.

“What we envision doing in Springtown, is that restaurants—and especially cool, unique local restaurants—really drive traffic,” Cody said. “If you look at Endeavor’s shopping centers in and around Austin, while we do have some of the more typical national chain restaurants, we do take pride and make great effort in going in and trying to get some of the local folks to get outside of their comfort zone a little bit and go in the larger shopping centers.”

Cody said the company is currently courting leading restaurants to lease space at the center.

“This project will cater to the young professional, the family here in San Marcos and the surrounding community and the students,” he said. “We see a significant entertainment component.”

Before Springtown consolidated ownership of the property, Cody said there were four groups that owned about five different parcels. This fractured ownership prevented the property from being redeveloped.

“We’re going to bring it in as one entire project as opposed to four or five different projects,” Cody said. 

The Springtown shopping center is also included in the city’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2013. The plan calls for the area including Springtown—known as Midtown—to be developed densely, with retail and residential development.

“Springtown Mall is primarily unoccupied, providing an ideal opportunity for redevelopment,” the plan states.

Council members Jude Prather, Lisa Prewitt and John Thomaides said they support high-density development in the area as well.

“We see this long-term as a site that will demand density,” Cody said. “It’s the gateway to downtown, it’s immediately adjacent to the university... so this is a site for us that we see ultimately having density. … We’ve taken a fair amount of time and underwritten and looked at scraping part of the buildings and adding multifamily and mixed used, but at this juncture as it stands today, we don’t see a scenario where it underwrites to add a tremendous amount of density.”

Cody said the company planned to retrofit the existing buildings for new uses.

On March 3, City Council will discuss the possibility of offering an incentive to Endeavor for its redevelopment efforts. If there is interest in providing incentives, council may offer the firm a deal at the second meeting in March.

Prather, Prewitt and Thomaides said they would be willing to consider more generous incentives if the company will consider adding density to the project.

“There has been a lot of citizen input, and it’s nearly unanimous that this is an area in our town that we all agree upon that we would love to see a high-density, mixed-use residential development,” Prather said.

Thomaides said he hopes the company will continue a dialogue with the city about the potential redevelopment of the property and the inclusion of high-density, mixed uses.

“My aggressiveness in incentives would be far greater if we could try to go beyond what the market would allow in San Marcos at this time—but still following good market principles—and trying to realize what the community’s vision is for this location,” Thomaides said. “We could get very creative [with development incentives].”