New Shops and Restaurants on the Way to Loop 338 and Highway 191

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--The City of Odessa is shelling out big bucks to bring in more business and keep more money at home.   Council members voted to give developers,  $5.1 million in incentives to get The Chimney Rock project off the ground.  It's an investment officials say will come back and benefit the whole city.

According to Odessa City Manager Richard Morton, "They identified some possible stores, that we've all heard about, Best Buy and Academy."

For their $5.1 million investment, the City of Odessa will enjoy a 50/50 split of generated sales taxes with project developers, LeeCo Properties and Fort Worth based, Woodmont Company.

"Chimney Rock, the developers, will build some infrastructure, some streets over there, put water and sewer in the ground, put pavement on the ground.  All that comes at a cost.  The agreement will re-emburse Chimney Rock, the developers, up to $5.1 million of those infrastructure requirements," Morton explained.

Morton says, the council had several options for incentives, including nothing at all.   Although they were split on the amount, they all agreed on one thing, "2 of the council members wanted to do 4.5, the other three wanted to do 5.1. But they were all willing to do the project."

Aside from the new places to eat and shop, there's another big boost to the local economy.

"You're looking at 340,000 square feet of gross leasable area.  It's estimated this will create some, 620 fulltime jobs.  That's another benefit," Morton added.

With the financial incentives in place LeeCo and Woodmont are ready to get the party started.   According to the city manager, this is a party where everyone can get a piece of the pie, "This is great for our local economy.  It's great for our citizens.  There's no impact on the taxpayers of Odessa.  It's really a win-win situation."

Larry Lee from LeeCo Properties was unavailable for a comment, but Morton says, if everything goes according to plan, the first stores should be up and running by Summer of 2010.