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San Antonio Small Business Outlook for 2015

  • 17 December 2014
  • Author: Cari Holbrook
  • Number of views: 3539
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San Antonio Small Business Outlook for 2015

Around this time every year, we like to take a look at some fascinating scenarios playing out in and around San Antonio that could affect your business, your taxes and your livelihood. And certainly, in 2015, it all comes down to location, location, location. Whether home base for you is in the city, in a suburb or nearby unincorporated area, or even further outside the metro area, there are some big changes ahead.

According to the Dallas Federal Reserve, the San Antonio Business-Cycle Index (which can help gauge the state of the current economy) grew quickly in 2014, increasing an annualized 6.6 percent over the six months through October. This is the fastest rate of growth since 2005. Of course, increased production on the Eagle Ford Shale helped (employment in construction and mining grew 11.5 percent), but so did growth in professional and business services (with employment growth of 10 percent).

Of special note is growth in retail, which is expected to continue into 2015. The Dallas Fed reports that retail trade employment in San Antonio saw a sharp increase from August to November 2014, growing 10.7 percent and accounting for nearly a third of the 8,700 total jobs created over this time period. While this sector typically grows 1.6 percent annually, during this time period in 2014 it nearly tripled to 4.4 percent.

The agency sees this surge in retail employment, along with continued growth in retail sales, as an indication of strong local consumer demand: Great news for San Antonio small and family-owned businesses. That being said, let’s look at three specific areas in and around San Antonio and how developments in those areas may affect local businesses.   

Inner-city incentives

The City of San Antonio’s Center City Development and Operations Department continues to be highly focused on urban revitalization in 2015, and they want the help of businesses to do it. Specifically, the department has its sights set on eight “Targeted Growth Areas” identified by the Downtown Strategic Framework Plan: Midtown/River North, Downtown Core, Cesar Chavez/Hemisfair Corridor, Near River South, Medical District, Civic Core, Near East Side and Near West Side. If you’re already in these neighborhoods—or open to setting up shop in them—be sure to take advantage of the incentives and potential tax breaks the city is offering.

For those located around the city core, be aware that revitalization may be coming your way in the form of special taxing districts. Just this month, the city council unanimously voted to create a special taxing district on the Northeast Side to help revitalize the Perrin Beitel and Nacogdoches road corridors. San Antonio Express-News reports the district, which is called a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, could yield $6 million over its 20-year term. The money is expected to be used for street and landscaping improvements as well as to foster public-private partnerships in the area – strategically a potential win for businesses in the area.

Growing concerns

Consistently ranked one of the U.S.’s fastest growing cities, San Antonio is about to finally grow in size and not just in population. The city plans to annex 66.47 acres of unincorporated land within its extraterritorial jurisdiction, according to the San Antonio Business Journal. The San Antonio Express-News points out, “physically the city has barely grown in the past 15 years after changes in state law prompted it to scale back a once-healthy appetite for annexations.”

The newly approved  process will take about three years to complete. Once the areas are fully annexed, they’ll develop quickly, with city property taxes to boot. The 66-square-mile total expansion could add more than 200,000 people to the city's population, making it the nation’s fifth largest city.

The outliers

Of course, any business outlook for San Antonio would be incomplete without mentioning the surrounding region.  There’s no doubt the Eagle Ford Shale is helping businesses of all shapes and sizes thrive throughout the region and will continue to do so in 2015. According to Robert McKinley, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) associate vice president of economic development, “The immense economic development is providing the wherewithal to address needs that are important to both industry and communities. Investments in infrastructure--roads, water, wastewater, education, medical facilities and other things--are the key foundational components needed to ensure the long-term viability of many…communities in the region.”

And then there are some of the nation’s fastest growing towns like Seguin and New Braunfels (named the nation’s 23rd fastest growing city), located just outside our front door. Small improvements like new frontage roads on I-10 in Seguin can make a big difference for small businesses in 2015. “This opens the door to tax support and employment opportunities,” says Mayor Don Keil.

As you can see, where you live and work in San Antonio in 2015 can have a big impact on your livelihood. Contact us to plan for the potential opportunities and risks.

Image Copyright: joannsnover / 123RF Stock Photo


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