By Moses Leos III
After seven years of focusing on retail development, Kyle may be preparing to transition its view on the types of businesses it draws to town.
It’s part of Kyle’s plan to revamp the city’s Strategic Plan and Target Market Study, originally crafted in 2007.
“It probably won’t focus on retail, but retail is going to remain a piece of it, because it’s still catching up to the population,” Kyle Economic Development Director Diana Blank-Torres said. “The city is at the point where we can focus on target markets and primary jobs.”
Kyle Mayor Todd Webster introduced the idea of revamping the strategic plan during his first few weeks in office.
According to Webster, updating the plan is necessary. He said the economic development department tried updating the plan in the past, but couldn’t get the support needed to move forward.
“I personally received feedback that our plan was stale and old and didn’t send the message to the community for our future economic development,” Webster said.
In June, city council allowed economic development to advertise for Requests For Proposals (RFP) for the new plan, despite not having a budget at the time.
During the 2015 Budget session, council allocated $65,000 toward the new plan — the same amount originally budgeted in 2007.
However, four RFPs submitted in September ranged from $80,000 to $90,000.
Blank-Torres said the improved economy, along with natural inflation since 2007, were reasons for the RFPs increase.
An additional three proposals were submitted when Economic Development extended their deadline in early October.
A sub-committee of the Kyle Economic and Tourism Committee will review the seven RFPs and will select the top three on Oct. 28. The top three will present their findings to the committee on Nov. 19, with the committee making a recommendation to council on Dec. 2.
Kyle hopes to renew its strategic plan, which Blank-Torres said helped significantly raise sales tax receipts since 2007. That version originally focused on attracting destination retail development.
However, with the plan a “living, flexible document,” according to Blank-Torres, the focus shifted toward retail in general.
Kyle soon took the “shotgun approach” and vied for as many retail developers as were interested.
Since 2007, Kyle brought in a variety of retail businesses, including many of the businesses in the shopping center along Kyle Parkway.
“Destination [retail] wasn’t where we needed to start,” Blank-Torres said. “We had to focus on retail in general. We had nothing in Kyle at the time.”
The city also gained insight into the science behind retail development. Blank-Torres said many developers adhere to a growth matrix; consideration factors include a city’s population and the age of its residents.
That is one reason Kyle saw an influx of fast food chains.
“When it comes down to it, it’s free trade,” Blank-Torres said. “If [an area] is zoned properly, and [developers] make the investment, they do the feasibility [study] and they think they’ll be successful, we can’t stop them.”
So what’s next for Kyle?
Webster believes focusing on job creators such as Seton is the next step. He hopes the city follows the state’s lead in attracting high-tech data centers and manufacturers to Kyle.
“We need those top tier employers that have large numbers of jobs to where we have more people staying in Kyle to work,” Webster said. “I think we have a city council and a staff that wants to recruit jobs. Those things are happening.”