Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
City Council on Thursday unanimously approved a $5.9 million tax incentive package for the construction of Credit Human's new 10-story headquarters, to be located at the Pearl. The project has now received a total of $8.8 million in County and City tax breaks.
Credit Human, formerly the San Antonio Federal Credit Union, began negotiating the package in March after it considered relocating its headquarters out of San Antonio, where it was founded in 1935. The City's deal will give the company a 100% tax abatement over 10 years with a 5-year tax rebate. The incentives are capped at $5,923,882.
"The taxes that are being incentivized here are rebated for the purposes of building public infrastructure the entire community will benefit from," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. "That is a clear-cut way of finding a win-win for this community."
The LEED-certified building, to be located at 1803 Broadway St., will consolidate the credit union's three San Antonio operation centers, bringing its local workforce of 435 employees into the urban core. Credit Human has agreed create an additional 50 jobs as part of the deal. The average annual salary for Credit Human employees is $61,024.
"When our organization takes on a building, we're taking this building on with a 50- to 100-year life [span]," Credit Human President and CEO Stephen Hennigan said, "which means we're planning this building with a multi-generational view."
Nine Council members voted in favor of the package, with Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran (D3) absent at the time of the vote. The development will be in Councilman Roberto Treviño's (D1) district.
"We're setting an incredible example," Treviño said. "In short, incentivizing good projects with good actors is good business."
Despite voting in support of the package, some Council members expressed concern about incentivizing an area that has already seen significant investment. Councilman Greg Brockhouse (D6) knocked the City's incentive programs.
Credit Human's current headquarters are located in District 1, so the company is relocating within the district to the popular Pearl and Broadway area, "which I feel has probably reached its peak period of incentivizing," Brockhouse told the Rivard Report in a Thursday phone interview. "This one project kind of was a catalyst for me to create a CCR [to] start ... this conversation. We really need to look at how we're incentivizing."
Council members Treviño, Ana Sandoval (D7), John Courage (D9), and Clayton Perry (D10) also signed Brockhouse's council consideration request.
During the meeting Thursday, Brockhouse said the incentive package not only further invests in the already successful Pearl area, but is also a direct benefit to Pearl developer Silver Ventures, the company that will sell the site to Credit Human.
Significant investment in downtown housing attracts more workers to the area, Councilman Rey Saldaña (D4) said. "It is time to turn the spigot off for housing in that particular area" and redirect it to other parts of the city in need of housing incentives, he added.
The City estimates that the development will result in $7.7 million in net benefit over the next 20 years. In addition to Credit Human's 10-story office building, a six-story mixed-use building and parking garage will also be built on the plot. Those two projects are not receiving tax abatements.
Credit Human's 696-person workforce serves more than 250,000 members nationwide with nearly $3 billion in assets.