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BEE CAVE, TX-The owner of the Foley’s and Lord & Taylor department stores has ruled out joining the retail lineup at the proposed Hill Country Galleria shopping center in Bee Cave. May Department Stores Co., based in St. Louis, publicly disclosed its decision in a letter to the Save Our Springs Alliance, an environmental group opposed to the shopping center.

The SOS Alliance planned a boycott Nov. 29 of Foley’s in Austin, but canceled after receiving the letter two days earlier. SOS opposes construction of the 2.3-million-sf, open-air shopping center because the 114-acre site is in the Barton Creek watershed and adjacent to a preserve for endangered species.

Milam International Development Management Corp., based in Austin, and Dallas-based Lincoln Property Group are partnering on the Hill Country Galleria. The project is one of the highest-profile retail proposals being floated in the US.

If completed, the project would be in the only Austin mall not owned by Simon Property Group, based in Indianapolis. May has Foley’s stores in Austin’s three malls; it has no Lord & Taylor stores in Austin.

Under the terms of the mall’s zoning agreement with the Village of Bee Cave, the project will get up to $25 million in sales tax abatements over 20 years if it signs two high-end stores. If Neiman Marcus is one of those retailers, the tax break goes up to $30 million. Those breaks are in effect only if development occurs, says elected officials.

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