Katy, TX News (April 14, 2015) – Information and photos courtesy of the City of Katy – The Katy Development Authority continues to pursue its goal of launching a convention center/hotel development next to Katy Mills Mall. Center plans include a two-mile boardwalk that will surround the mall’s 80-acre retention pond.
“We hope it will be a nice attraction to the area in addition to the mall,” says former Katy mayor Skip Conner, chairman of the Katy Development Authority.
The authority, which acts on behalf of the city to develop Katy Mills, is in final negotiations with Simpkins Group – developer of the Katy Boardwalk – to purchase 10 to 15 acres for the project.
The Katy Boardwalk is a mixed-use development intended for office, research and development, medical, high tech and light industrial uses, along with retail and entertainment venues. It will be to the southeast of Katy Mills Mall.
If all progresses smoothly with the City’s land purchase there, construction of the convention center could get under way in the next 1½ to 2 years. Construction on the boardwalk probably would begin sooner, according to Conner.
Katy City Council voted Jan. 26 on an extension to the tax increment reinvestment zone formed for Katy Mills mall.
City documents show that the participation of the City of Katy and Fort Bend County in the zone was set to end Dec. 31, 2018. “With action Monday, the life of the zone is extended to Dec. 31, 2038 for the city. Katy Mills mall was paid off in 2013”, says Kayce Reina, The City of Katy’s director of tourism, marketing & public relations, “and so officials wanted to extend the TIRZ to help fund the boardwalk and convention center.”
“In approving the extension of the TIRZ, we don’t have to do the boardwalk,” she said, though that is the plan. “But it provides the funding mechanism for the KDA board to move forward with the project if they choose to do so.”
Reina states that many other steps need to be taken and notes that Fort Bend County also is involved.
“Once the TIRZ is extended”, Reina says,”the next step would be to purchase the land.”
The convention center, estimated at approximately $10 million, and the boardwalk, estimated at $1.75 million, would be covered by tax revenue from the mall – approximately $3½ million a year – and hotel taxes.
“Katy’s boardwalk will not resemble the tourist attraction in Kemah,” Conner notes.
“It will be like a park area. It won’t be a bird sanctuary, but it will attract more birds. The land has been in a raw state for 18 years, so it has been home to wildlife.”
“The mall already is a major destination for Katy and attracts about 11 million visitors each year,” says Lance LaCour, CEO/chairman of the Katy Area Economic Development Council, “The city’s growth and the additions to the mall area only will enhance visitors’ interest.”