San Antonio officials announced this month that TJX Companies, operator of four major apparel and home fashion retailers, is considering building a distribution center in South Bexar County. TJX, a Fortune 100 firm that oversees T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, HomeGoods and Sierra Trading Post, is thinking of securing a 200-acre tract near Mission Espada.
The City Council was scheduled to meet May 18 to act on a 15-year non-annexation partnership for the distribution center site and other related development pacts on 1,000 acres west of Mission Espada that would also be owned by the company. The center site is just outside Loop 410. Officials with the city and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation say the project could create 1,000 jobs in the coming years and provide for a development buffer around Mission Espada.
Espada is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site meant to protect San Antonio’s Spanish colonial missions from encroaching development, and preserve the history and heritage of the missions and surrounding neighborhoods. Espada is the state’s oldest Spanish Colonial mission, dating back to the 1700s.
The project could also further enable the connection of more than 30 miles of hike and bike trail and provide land for a new Southside Independent School District (SISD) facility. “We are continuing to build on our momentum of connecting more San Antonians to prosperity,” Mayor Ivy Taylor said in a news release. “Now, TJX, a global, Fortune 100 company, has chosen to significantly invest in South San Antonio through partnerships that promote balanced growth and availability of employment opportunities in the city, while protecting our missions and connecting our greenbelt and creekway system.”
The 15-year non-annexation agreement is based on the city’s pact to forgo annexation of the 200-acre property in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). TJX would be required to invest $150 million and, over the years, develop 1,000 jobs with full health and 401(k) benefits to eligible full-time employees and their dependents. The company would also build workforce partnerships with Workforce Solutions Alamo and Goodwill Industries to focus on hiring from populations with high levels of unemployment as they ramp up to full employment over five years. This would be particularly beneficial to communities in West and South San Antonio where there are concentrations of low- to moderate-income families.
According to the city and SAEDF, this partnership has potential to support additional agreements on the 1,000-acre Espada tract, aside from a possible future SISD facility. Southside ISD voters recently passed a bond meant to address area population growth. There could be a donation of more than three linear miles of land to the city for a bike and pedestrian route, Espada Trail Connection, which will link 13 miles on the Medina River Greenway to 14 miles along the San Antonio River. This would result in a seamless trail 31 miles in length, as San Antonio strives to connect its greenways and trails citywide.
The city also would look to have TJX work with local organizations to preserve 300 acres of flood plain to potentially serve as a natural buffer for any future development south of Mission Espada.
“The prospect of 1,000 new jobs that provide eligible full-time employees access to benefits is critical to raising strong, healthy families in San Antonio,” said District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran in a news release. “I am pleased that a global company with the financial strength and corporate brand of TJX is investing in our communities and creating opportunities for our workforce. Through their partnership with Workforce Solutions Alamo, Goodwill Industries, and Southside ISD, TJX is showing a commitment to building a workforce that is skilled and ready to work on the City’s South Side.” Viagran praised the company for listening to her request to incorporate aspects to improve the surrounding community and preserve environmentally sensitive land.
“TJX has shown a commitment to growth that will positively impact Southside ISD, our students and their families,” said SISD Superintendent Mark Eads in the release. “Southside ISD and our board were so impressed with the company’s commitment to partnership, we provided the Freeport tax exemption to help bring their company and others to the Southside ISD and the community.” “San Antonio is proud to welcome TJX, a Fortune 100 company, into our community,” said SAEDF Chairman Wayne Peacock in the release. “We are already seeing through the partnerships TJX is establishing in our community that the significant capital investment will spur additional growth for our city’s South Side.”
The distribution center would bolster the economic portfolio of South San Antonio. Air Force bases-turned-business parks Port San Antonio and Brooks City-Base are booming with activity, and institutions and corporations such as Toyota and Texas A&M-San Antonio continue to lure more commerce and residents to the area.