This column originally ran in the San Marcos Daily Record on Mar. 3, 2021.
A rising tide lifts all boats, and on Wednesday, a massive tide arrived.
Amazon, the largest employer in the Greater San Marcos region, announced plans for what will be the largest industrial facility in our two-county region — Hays and Caldwell counties.
The facility, an Amazon SAT-6 facility that will handle receiving and delivery of large equipment like furniture and televisions, is being constructed on 70 acres at the Whisper development (1346 Fortuna Road, located near Yarrington Road). Once completed, it will exceed one million total square feet in size. Construction on the site has already begun and Amazon anticipates operations to begin at the site by the end of 2021.
Why is this announcement so important? First, a significant number of construction jobs will be created from the tens of millions of dollars spent by Amazon in capital investment during the construction phase of the facility.
Second, this new Amazon facility will elevate the tax base for the City of San Marcos and Hays County. The new additional revenue will translate into improved city and county services, and new capital improvement projects that will benefit us all.
Third, hundreds of good-paying jobs, starting at $15 an hour with comprehensive benefits, will be created by Amazon at the facility. In my opinion, the job numbers will grow over time and far exceed our expectations. These new jobs, like many of the jobs the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) works hard to bring to our region, will be secured by residents across our two-county community providing an improved quality of life.
Clearly, this is not the first time Amazon has chosen the Greater San Marcos region for an expansion. In 2015, Amazon announced an 855,000 square foot SAT-2 facility in San Marcos, creating thousands of new jobs. In the last 12 months, Amazon added a sorting facility in Kyle and a distribution facility in Buda, turning them into our region’s largest employer with more than 5,000 total employees.
Amazon is not alone in establishing a distribution or supply chain-related business in the Greater San Marcos region. There is a significant number of regional distribution employers growing in the area, as more than 250 supply chain-related businesses are in out two-county footprint. These companies employing thousands of our residents, with major local employers in this industry sector including H-E-B, Berry Aviation, and UPS.
There is a trend emerging in Greater San Marcos for new distribution facility expansions. In Kyle, Lowes will open a 120,000 square foot distribution facility in Kyle Crossing, a project built by Majestic Realty Company. Another company (soon to be announced) will move into another large facility in the Hays Commerce Center. These two new operations will employ hundreds more in the distribution industry sector.
It is important to note that none of this is by accident. As you have seen from my previous columns, Vision 2025 – our region’s economic development strategic plan – guides the work done by GSMP and other economic development stakeholders throughout Hays and Caldwell counties.
Within Vision 2025, there are seven industry targets that GSMP focuses on for economic development growth in our region: Aerospace, Aviation, Security, & Defense; Business Services & Support; Materials Science; Information Technology; Life Sciences; Regional Distribution; and Destination Attraction. While this most recent announcement from Amazon is a major win for Regional Distribution, our economic pipeline includes many more prospects from throughout the seven sectors.
The announcement of Amazon’s plans to create a new facility that represents the largest industrial development our region has ever seen is news worth celebrating. It continues a trend of industry sector growth critical to our growing economy, and it represents the hope of a good-paying job for those who are unemployed or have a low-paying job and no benefits. The positive momentum our region is experience is unprecedented and exceeding our expectations. The number of potential company locations and capital investment in our pipeline is at an all-time high.
There is no doubt it’s an exciting time to be in Greater San Marcos.
Vision 2025 is available for your review at greatersanmarcostx.com/vision2025.