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The Garland Foundation for Development is a local government corporation that was created in 2010 under the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act. Local government corporations may be used to fund and/or manage transportation, water and sewer infrastructure, economic development ventures, and other projects that benefit the public. Foundations are common in Texas cities that do not have the ability to create an Economic Development Corporation (EDC). EDCs, commonly referred to as a 4(b) corporations, are funded by a 1% optional 4(b) sales tax that can be used for various economic development activities. Garland’s 1% optional sales tax goes to fund DART for regional transportation. State law allows cities to form Foundations to perform many of the same functions of 4(b) corporations but have no taxing authority.
The Garland Foundation for Development was initially created to assist with downtown revitalization, in particular the area around Fifth Street Crossing. Like an affiliate or subsidiary of a private corporation, the Foundation has been used to control risks and liabilities that could otherwise fall on the City and taxpayers. The Foundation has also been used to acquire property where it was believed that buying in the City’s name would have resulted in paying a higher price.
The Foundation’s board of directors consists of the nine members of the City Council, as allowed by law. The Foundation is subject to the same transparency requirements that are imposed on the City such as open meeting and open record requests.
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Walmart vacated the Walmart Supercenter (originally Hypermart) in May 2008. In December 2009, Walmart sold the property to a Limited Partnership in a conveyance that included 25-year deed restrictions. The property was then sold to a developer who unsuccessfully sought to have the property zoned to allow for mini-warehouse storage. That developer eventually offered the property to the City, which purchased it for below its market-appraised value in 2017.
After the City acquired the site in November 2017, a market and concept study was conducted by Gateway Planning. The study found four possible development alternatives for exploration that included: (1) Distribution/Industrial, (2) Showroom Industrial, (3) Regional Entertainment, and (4) temporary uses.
The City was approached by several developers interested in developing the site for warehouse distribution uses, none of which were appropriate for a sustainable development within the area. In late 2018, an exclusive agreement was entered into with a developer to explore potential developments for the property that would serve as a regional draw to catalyze the redevelopment of Garland Avenue. The developer’s concept and economic feasibility research focused on a variety of potential uses anchored by water and/or sporting facilities, with supporting entertainment uses. None of the concepts proved economically viable or self -sustaining and would have required the City to take on exceptional additional risk.
The developer saw significant project risk given the state of the development cycle; the current, limited access to the region from I-635; and, that future access would be further dampened by I-635 East construction. With these major impediments, the City Manager recommended to the Council that the redevelopment timeline be delayed until the completion of I-635 East.
The deed restrictions exclude Walmart-like businesses from being built on the site, such as:
These restrictions are in place until 2034.
The City of Garland originally acquired the Hypermart site in its own name. The title was transferred to the Foundation as the City began it efforts at researching redevelopment possibilities for the property. Having the title in the Foundation was thought to provide greater flexibility and marketability to the development community.
Please contact the City of Garland Economic Development Office.