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Above, an artist rendering of a new 820,000 square-foot film development studio facility in the La Cima development. Rendering courtesy of Greater San Marcos Partnership

City council to reconsider film studio deal

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The San Marcos City Council will reconsider an economic incentive agreement for a film production studio.

The city council, which approved a Chapter 380 economic development incentive agreement with Hill Country Group LLC., during its June 7 meeting, will reconsider or amend the deal during Tuesday’s meeting.

The move to reconsider the economic incentive agreement comes after San Marcos residents voiced their concerns about the film production studio’s location over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. A protest was recently held outside San Marcos City Hall where approximately 200 concerned citizens contested the decision made by city council.

Councilmember Maxfield Baker, who was the only one to vote no to the incentive, announced that councilmembers Saul Gonzales and Alyssa Garza chose to bring the discussion back to council during the upcoming meeting.

“What I want to share with you is the great news. There’s a funky provision in politics where we can reconsider the item. That can only be brought forward by councilmembers that voted in the affirmative,” Baker said at the protest held on July 28. “So, you all were a part of that — writing in, reaching out to your friends, reaching out to news outlets, all of that was impactful to bring us here to this moment.”

The approved agreement entails providing incentives in the form of refunds of a percentage of real and personal property taxes over five years for the construction of a minimum 820,000 square feet of space for the studio facility.

The studio facility would have 22 full-time employees at $100k average salary and up to 1,400 contract workers with an average of 1,200 on production projects at $80k average salary, according to a city presentation presented to council on June 7.

There would be a total capital investment of $267 million and the facility would include 820,000 square feet in production stages, workshops, offices and support spaces. Construction would be split into three phases and would begin in April 2023.

The agreement would see San Marcos collect an estimated $161K in property taxes in 2025 following the complete buildout and $11.4 million in total over a 10 year period. There would also be a rebating property tax at a 90% rate in the first year that would decrease overtime.

Despite concerns raised, the city cannot prevent the development of private land, meaning the land can already be used for development because of the original agreement it made with La Cima. In the agreement, the location where the film studio would be at has been zoned for community commercial use with impervious cover site set at 80%.

In an email shared with the Daily Record, Assistant City Manager Joe Pantalion stated that the film studio will be built at less than 48% impervious cover.

“The developer will be required to develop a Water Pollution Abatement Plan to address stormwater quality and impacts to the aquifer,” Pantalion wrote. “They will also be required to construct water quality and flood detention controls, protect trees and provide native landscaping as part of the development. The project will also provide for 100-foot building buffers from W. Centerpoint Road and Ranch Road 12 — when they are only required to provide a 10-foot buffer. It should also be noted again that, as part of the overall development, La Cima has preserved large areas of land for natural areas and parks.

“In short, while the studio project will have a significant economic benefit for the citizens of San Marcos, it is also a better environmental alternative than the development that was approved in 2013 for this location,” Pantalion added.

In other business, the city council will consider approval authorizing the issuance and sale of an amount not to exceed $1.2 million of combination tax and surplus revenue certificates of obligation, Series 2022A, for certain drainage and flood control improvements, acquisition of land, and payment of professional services in connection with legal, fiscal and engineering fees. Councilmembers will also consider the authorization of an issuance and sale of an amount not to exceed $26,135,000 of combination tax and revenue certificates of obligation series 2022, for the city’s water and wastewater lines, streets, airport, public safety facilities, stormwater management and flood control facilities and electric utility system.

The city council will consider awarding a construction contract to Tegrity Contractors, Inc. for construction of a new fire training facility authorized by the city’s voters during the 2017 bond election in the amount of $2.7 million.

Councilmembers will also consider approving the allocation of $5,401,600 in funds received by the city in June 2022 under the American Rescue Plan for projects determined to support the community’s recovery from COVID-19.

The city council will consider two items regarding the Nov. 8 elections. Up for approval is an agreement for election services with the Hays County Elections Administrator. The council will also consider approving a joint election on Nov. 8 between the city and Hays County Residents will vote for mayor, city council place 1 and city council place 2 in November.

Those looking to participate in the meeting can send comments via email to prior to 12 p.m. on Tuesday.

Residents looking to watch Tuesday’s regular meeting can do so online beginning at 6 p.m. at or on Grande channel 16 or Spectrum channel 10.

To view the full meeting and agenda, visit

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666