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Denton Paid $8.1 Million In Tax incentives To Get A Buc-ee’s

A steal at twice the price?

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samariablankoh, flickr // creative commons

We’ve written plenty about Buc-ee’s, because why wouldn’t we? From the magnificent bathrooms to the homegrown success of the company, Buc-ee’s is neat. Ask anybody who’s accidentally spent an hour inside what’s nominally a convenience store—it’s a sight to behold.

If you’re a town—or even a small-to-mid-sized city—along the interstate, there’s plenty of reasons to want a Buc-ee’s in the area. Anybody planning on stopping anyway is likely to be taken in by the bucktoothed visage of Buc-ee’s grimacing beaver logo, knowing that it signals a staggering array of jerkies, gas station barbecue, and fudge. Even for locals, a trip to the store is a fine way to kick off a Friday night.

It may seem impossible to put a dollar value on having a Buc-ee’s move into your community, but the Denton City Council managed to do it to the tune of $8.1 million. That’s the amount in sales tax reimbursements that the city approved for the company’s plan to develop 38 acres along I-35 East into yet another massive project. As the Denton Record-Chronicle reports, though, it wasn’t a unanimous decision:

Marc Moffitt, a resident of Wind River Estates, said he doesn’t see a public benefit to the project, so the developer shouldn’t be able to get public funds through grants and sales tax rebates from the city.

“There is no public benefit for this property and this development,” he said. “Buc-ee’s is a good business, a good business model, it’s very, very successful, big store sales, all that kind of stuff. It shouldn’t need public funding to be successful. It is un-prudent, unwise public policy.”

Another concern was the project’s proximity to the Southridge and Wind River neighborhoods, with more than 100 residents attending a community meeting Nov. 11. Right now, 27 homeowners share property lines with the project, and on average, they are about 400 feet from the proposed building.

Nobody had a bad word to say about Buc-ee’s, but not everybody thought that they should be paying to put one in their neighbors’ backyards. That’s a fair point (though if those homes have crowded bathrooms, the residents could benefit from the increased availability that is, in all likelihood, cleaner than your toilet at home), but it appears that Buc-ee’s went on a press-the-flesh campaign to convince homeowners of the value of the space being close to their properties. Arch Aplin, the company’s founder, personally took a neighbor whose property is less than 220 feet from the building out for pizza to make his case, according to the Record-Chronicle.

“I’m one of those unrealistic people who would love to see [landowner John] Sparky [Pearson] leave that field empty, but I don’t suspect he’s that crazy to do it, and if I were him, I wouldn’t either,” neighbor Jeremy Moon told the paper, having been swayed that a backyard Buc-ee’s would beat some of the potential alternatives. Better the bucktoothed devil you know than the potential Walmart is a fair, if narrow, bit of advice to take through life, and we’ll hope that things turn out well for Moon, his neighbors, the people of Denton, and their $8.1 million investment in claiming the newest massive (52,000 square foot, 92 gas pump) Buc-ee’s in Texas.

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  • Jed

    why is buc-ees better than walmart? they look the same from the freeway.

  • Scott Whitt

    Glad Denton is so flush why money they can give $8 million away. Hope citizens enjoy the potholes the city won’t be able to fix because they don’t have enough money.

    • Jed

      i think they’re more worried about the seismic activity they aren’t allowed to fix.