The sprawling Singing Hills development in Bulverde has won two awards from an area publication, County Judge Sherman Krause said.

“We’ve got a lot of development going on in Comal County,” the judge said during Thursday’s weekly meeting of county commissioners court. “Some people want development, some people don’t. But it’s great to see the kind of responsible development that Singing Hills is putting-in in this county being recognized by an organization like the San Antonio Business Journal.”

The journal has named Singing Hills its “Best New Development” and well as its “Best Retail Development.” The honors are among a dozen “Best in Commercial Real Estate Awards” announced by the publication on Tuesday. The winners will be recognized at an awards luncheon on April 30 and will be profiled in a coming issue.

Tax generator

Retail analysts Buxton and Retail Coach have reported that Comal’s booming Bulverde/Spring Branch area has “major retail leakage” of local shoppers to out-of-area stores totaling more than $486 million each year, which equates to an annual sales tax loss of more than $9.7 million dollars to local taxing jurisdictions, including Comal County. The report states most of the dollars lost from the area are being spent in San Antonio. Tax revenue generated from Singing Hills is projected to help stabilize ad valorem property taxes in Comal, according to the report.

In 2014, Comal commissioners OK’d tax breaks as an economic incentive to entice the developer, Singing Hills-DJL Development LLC (SH-DJL), to build in western Comal. The agreement provides sales tax rebates to the developer capped at $3.3 million. The rebate period extends for as many as 8 years, fewer if the $3.3 million limit is reached earlier. Abatements are 70 percent in years one through three; 55 percent in years four through six; and in years seven and eight, 30 percent.

The tax incentives, along with additional incentives offered by the City of Bulverde, will help SH-DJL recoup infrastructure improvements it is making, including the construction of a 13-acre, 240,000-gallon-per-day wastewater and reuse water treatment facility to be owned and operated by Bulverde.

Homes, retail

San Antonio’s Tom Hackleman of SH-DJL offered an update on the project to Comal commissioners earlier this year.

Hackleman said at that time that construction was under way on the 250-acre development at the northwest corner of state Highway 46 and U.S. 281. “It’s going to have 350 single-family unit homes and 300 to 350 multi-family unit dwellings,” he said.

Singing Hills will also have over 500,000 square-feet of retail space. “The largest store is Walmart. They’re 185,000 square feet,” he said. Walmart is expected to open in late August or early September.

Work to prepare the Hill Country site for development included moving 500,000 cubic yards of material and removing several hundred trees. “In the final stage, we’ll be planting back 600 trees,” Hackleman said. “Most of those will be six-inch trees that will scattered about the project.”

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