It's been five years since the announcement of a planned outlet shopping center in Robstown, but then the economy went south and the deal screeched to a halt.
Now there has been a major step forward, with news that developers have paid for the 74-acre track of the land, clearing the way for construction.
First of all, $2.4 million is now in Nueces County coffers. Second, there are jobs; lots of them poised to open up in an area that desperately needs them. And third, ancillary businesses that are expected to crop up as a result of the new outlets.
"It's really a win-win for Nueces County, and we're so glad that we were patient to allow them to do this, so it's good," Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal said.
Neal said that, with the wait finally over and the $2..4 million paid to Nueces County taxpayers, Lockard Companies along with partners Dolphin Ventures and EWB Development can now plan on a groundbreaking. Construction on the 300,000 square-foot retail complex is slated to begin this summer, with plans to open its doors to shoppers next fall.
The sale of the land, though, was only one part of this complex development. The City of Robstown and several other entities are putting up the bulk of the investment, more than $28 million in incentives.
"The quality of life in Robstown will be changing very dramatically, and we hope that brings the self esteem and the image of Robstown to where it should be," Robstown City Secretary Paula Wakefield said. "It's a great place to live. It's the biggest little town in Texas, so we want to live up to that landmark, and I think the outlet project is the one that will land us with that landmark."
"I think you're going to see additional investment and new construction in the areas around there now that this has become a reality, and that's a win-win, too, for everyone," Neal said.
Phase one of the outlet development includes 300,000 square feet of retail space, with another 30 acres for further development. Even Robstown's iconic restaurant, Joe Cotten's Barbecue, is looking to relocate to the area around the outlets. That deal is still in the works.
If they do, the barbecue eatery will be in good company, near stores such as Guess, Puma and Brooks Brothers.
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