The Bealls department store will leave Heartland Mall in Early and relocate to Brownwood, officials announced Tuesday as the Brownwood City Council approved a $267,000 financial incentive for the store’s parent company.
Bealls will open a store in mid-2010 in the building formerly occupied by the Goody’s Clothing Store in Commerce Square, Bealls representatives told council members.
The council approved a sales tax refund to Specialty Retailers Inc., doing business as Bealls, over a 10-year period, capped at $267,000. Council members unanimously approved the incentive based on a request from Bealls representatives.
The refund could total $25,000 to $30,000 annually, depending on Bealls sales. If the cap is reached before 10 years, the incentive contract will expire.
Bealls will invest about $1 million in remodeling the Goody’s building and another $1.3 million in merchandise inventory, furniture and fixtures, council members were told.
The projected city revenue from property and sales tax during construction and the first 10 years of store operation is $990,000, and based on those projections, city city’s portion totals $725,000.
City officials did not initiate contact with Bealls, but the owners of Commerce Square contacted the company, Bealls representatives said.
The Bealls development at Commerce Square has the potential for attracting additional retailers to Commerce Square, which would mean additional sales and property taxes to the city and Brownwood school district, City Manager Bobby Rountree said.
Heartland Mall manager Charlotte Parrack said she’s disappointed in Bealls’ decision to leave the mall. “I don’t understand or agree with that decision,” Parrack said, but added she’s confident the mall can fill the space that Bealls vacates.
“We do have some contacts we’re visiting with at this time,” Parrack said.
Bealls, which was at one time located in downtown Brownwood, opened at the mall as an anchor store in 1978, Parrack said. She said Bealls has a year and a half left on its current lease so the company would have to buy out the lease if it leaves early.
“It’s one of those things,” Early City Administrator Ken Thomas said. “Businesses come and go across the bayou. We’ve never offered any of Brownwood’s businesses anything to come here.”