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Buc-ee’s approved to build in San Marcos

Madeline Carpenter

San Marcos City Council and Hays County Commissioner’s Court approved the construction incentives of a new Buc-ee’s store in San Marcos.

According to a city of San Marcos presentation, the proposed store, located on the Southside of I-35 and Yarrington Road, will span approximately 74,000 square feet and will have 120 fueling stations.

According to Christian Smith, economic and business development manager for San Marcos, Buc-ee’s will be required to invest a minimum of $50 million into the project. In addition, the company will have to donate $100,000 to a city community fund which, according to Smith, will be spent with the city council’s direction for different city projects.

Smith said the process started in October 2023 with Buc-ee’s approaching the city with an application for incentives to build the store through a Chapter 3 agreement. The agreement provides incentives through cash grants or tax rebates, which is a refund of a portion of taxes.

“Typically, what San Marcos does is we don’t usually engage with large cash grants but mostly rebates where upon meeting a certain set of conditions, we’ll rebate a portion of the taxes they paid to us,” Smith said.

Buc-ee’s will receive a 50% sales tax rebate for 15 years on all non-fuel sales, according to Smith. The city will keep the other half of the sales taxes as well as all property taxes. The rebate is performance-based, meaning as more products sell, the value of the rebates increase.

In addition to the monetary requirements, Buc-ee’s will be required to provide at least 175 full-time jobs starting at $18 an hour with health insurance, a 401K match up to 6%, three weeks of paid time off per year and an additional $2 an hour for overnight shifts.

“If you take the value of those starting wages that shakes out to about $7 million a year that’s getting spent in the local economy,” Smith said.

According to Smith, per the agreement, Buc-ee’s is required to make an effort to hire locals by advertising positions in community channels. This includes the city, Texas State and local job boards.

Even though Buc-ee’s will advertise to students, part-time employees are not prioritized for the San Marcos location.

“[Bu-cee’s] tends to not focus on part-time employees especially when we’re talking about our benefits for the community,” Stan Beard, director of real estate and development for Bu-cee’s, said in a Feb. 20 city council meeting. “Our whole philosophy is to maximize the full-time employees that we have.”

While the job description in the agreement may be acceptable to some residents, others are concerned with the work quality.

Will Moore, a regional planning sophomore, said in a March 5 city council meeting the average employee rating of Buc-ee’s on Glassdoor, a website where employees can review companies, is 2.9 stars, which can be seen as low when compared to other companies in San Marcos like H-E-B or McDonald’s.

“Subjecting San Marcos residents to these abysmal working conditions would be a disservice to them,” Moore said at the meeting.

Smith said after the city completed a traffic analysis of the area, he believes the Buc-ee’s will not increase traffic.

“There are instances where when you have something of that size that has a lot of commercial activity, you’re gonna see some impact there,” Smith said. “But, it’s not something that’s going to substantially impact existing traffic more than what already exists because it’s pulling traffic that’s already on [I-35].”

There are also environmental terms in the agreement. Buc-ee’s cannot build on any aquifer recharge zones and it must install oil water separators and a rainwater harvesting system.

“What we put in the agreement is the company is required to install oil water separators throughout the site which acts as a pretreatment for any stormwater runoff before it gets out of site,” Smith said. “In addition, [Bu-cee’s] will be installing a rainwater harvesting system which they’ve never done at any other location in the country.”

According to the agreement, Buc-ee’s will have until June 1 to submit a building permit. If approved, Buc-ee’s will have until March 31, 2025 to start construction.

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