ALTON—Alton is receiving multiple inquiries about development opportunities, according to City Manager Jorge Arcaute. So much so that Assistant City Manager Steve Peña has been promoted to handle development for the city full time.
Peña has been named the CEO for the City of Alton Development Corporation. For the last seven years, Peña has worked as the general manager for the CADC.
“The city manager is creating a very sustainable team to move forward to the next level for Alton,” Peña said. “Part of that was to put me into the economic development realm, full time. So far, this is what we’ve gotten on a part time basis.”
Alton, over the last two years, has added a Golden Chick and the Las Fuentes Plaza, which is home to McDonald’s and Junior’s Supermarket. Peña said now that he has the capability to keep both eyes on infrastructure and growth, more businesses would be seen adding variety to Alton’s open pad sites.
“There is a lot of stuff rolling in … We have some food franchises, some retail and some housing components that are coming on board,” Peña said.
Three housing developers are competing to build on an open property on the east side of Stuart Road between 5 Mile Line and 4 Mile Line. Peña said 80-120 units would be built to create a gated apartment community, complete with a swimming pool, workout area and playground for children.
Peña admits there is pressure in being named the first CEO for the CADC, but added he is ready to excel in the new position and plans to work hard to set the bar for members after him.
Over the next 18 months, after the city begins to generate sales tax revenues, Peña said the city would be able to hire staff for the development corporation and possibly find a permanent home for that department.
The CADC currently has a tight budget but hopes to begin adding staff members over the next two years. Peña added the main goal of a slow transition is to make sure all staff is comfortable with new responsibilities.
Currently, the CEO will stay in the same office to carry out his duties.
Replacing Peña as assistant city manager is Jeff Underwood, who will also take on the hat of planning director for Alton.
Underwood recently resigned his position at the planning department with the City of Weslaco. Underwood has been the planning director for San Juan for six years and has been the project manager for the Hunt Development group in their Sharyland Plantation project.
The CADC uses two different types of corporations, 4A corporation and a 4B corporation, which maintain development in Alton. Both corporations were established in 1996. Community members are able to access the CADC page on the city’s website for information on up and coming businesses as well as completed projects.
Developers interested in creating projects with the city can also visit the website to access maps, ordinances and traffic counts.