One controversial part of the proposed Ainbinder-WalMart development is the 380. The 380 calls for the developer to pay for infrastructure improvements, but then provides a reimbursement from the city to the developer based on sales tax revenue.
As Mayor Parker explained last night, the developer is not obligated to participate in a 380.
Ainbinder indicated he would move ahead with the development whether or not an agreement is in place. His business partner confirmed that. In essence, and barring any flagrant violations of city codes, we’ll be getting either nice trees, wide sidewalks, and painted bridges as part of a development we don’t want OR just the development we don’t want.
Here’s what I propose. The executive from WalMart who spoke touted the company’s philanthropic largesse. I’ve been raising money in Houston since 1993, and have yet to secure a gift from WalMart. I’ve known about others who’ve gotten $200 or $300 gift cards, or a box of some supply or another, but nothing on a grand scale.
Time for WalMart to go big and acknowledge that they don’t need corporate welfare to turn a profit.
I’d like to see WalMart donate the cost of the infrastructure improvements back to the city. In essence, the city would not have to pay for the reimbursement to Ainbinder. The city actually has mechanisms in place to accept a financial donation like this. It could then be earmarked for donations to various projects and nonprofits directly affected by development in the central city.
Just a thought.
I also want a commitment that they’ll use native trees and plants and as low-impact/xeriscape-style landscaping as possible. The less pesticide run-off and air and noise pollution from blowers and mowers the better.