City of Balcones Heights looks to bring in more revenue with proposed business partnership

The city is exploring a plan to buy part of Wonderland Mall of the Americas

BALCONES HEIGHTS, Texas – The City of Balcones Heights is landlocked and limited in how it can bring in tax revenue, but city leaders are exploring a plan that would help bring stability and secure its independence in the future.

Mayor Suzanne De Leon says the city is exploring options to find a profitable way to increase the city’s revenue.

“We’re a small city, but we got big plans,” she said.

Balcones Heights is looking to buy about 45% of the mall for $5 million from Crossroads Mall Partners Ltd. The city would have a community center on the property, and more importantly, a say in the future plans for its revitalization.

“This way, we will have a stake at the table and can be able to participate in the redevelopment of the city,” De Leon said.

The partnership would bring in about $350,000 annually in new revenue, she said. It’s a plan that’s been in the works for some time, but this time, the city is taking steps to make it a reality.

The property managing co-general Sid Weiss issued the following statement:

“The Partnership which acquired the property over 10 years ago, now Wonderland of the Americas, is a long term investor group, and we are pleased that the City of Balcones Heights is considering a major investment in the property which will provide long term stability and a mutually beneficial redevelopment plan for the property.”

The property provides spaces for value retail merchants, medical services, and entertainment. It will continue as a mixed-use project, with the probable addition of a market-rate apartments project on a portion of the site at some time “in the near future.”

De Leon says the city needs money for its emergency services and street upgrades, but it doesn’t want to raise taxes. This is the best way to ensure that it secures an independent future.

“We do not want to be annexed by San Antonio. We want to be our own city,” she said.

The mayor would not give specifics on the redevelopment plans until the partnership is approved, which she hopes will get a city council vote approval by this summer.

Balcones Heights is also looking to create an economic development corporation to help manage the property.

A community meeting to discuss the proposal will be held on May 19 at 6 p.m. at the Bijou Theater inside the mall.


About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.