AUSTIN-A community group is protesting tax breaks for a chain store that is scheduled to join Whole Foods Market Inc. in an office-retail development at Sixth Street and Lamar Boulevard. And the group says it has numbers to back its objections.

The group, Liveable City, said that the presence of a Borders Inc. store would do more to harm Austin’s economy than help it, especially if it takes sales away from locally owned BookPeople and Waterloo Records stores near the planned development. Liveable City is a non-profit group seeking to improve Austin’s quality of life.

The Schlosser Development project is to be anchored by an 88,000-sf Whole Foods store and an adjacent seven-story office building Whole Foods will use as its headquarters. The City of Austin has granted $2.1 million in development incentives for the project. The incentives include fee waivers, water and wastewater reimbursements and drainage improvements.

Liveable City said the Borders store, whose development is aided by the city incentives, will take sales away from BookPeople and Waterloo and therefore from the local economy. Borders is based in Ann Arbor, MI.

The annual economic impact of Waterloo is $4.1 million and BookPeople, $2.8, according to a study compiled for Liveable City by Dan Houston of the Civic Economics firm. The return from a Borders store would be $800,000. The difference comes from the local stores keeping more money in the local community. The study estimates that Borders will divert $11 million to $14 million BookPeople and Waterloo over five years.

“The proposed Borders at 6th and Lamar will yield a net loss to the local economy,” said Houston. “Moreover, previous decisions have placed the city in the position of subsidizing such an outcome.”

Liveable City suggests that more study be given to incentives for the Sixth and Lamar project and for others in Austin that could have a similar impact on local businesses.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Dig Deeper


GlobeSt. NET LEASE Fall 2023Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.