The Smith County Commissioners Court approved a three-year tax abatement for an engineering firm that plans to renovate and relocate to the long-vacant The Forum Building in downtown Tyler.
Estes, McClure & Associates, Inc., plans to invest $3.5 million in renovations and equipment.
“For us, this is a really exciting project,” Tyler Economic Development CEO/President Tom Mullins told the Commissioners Court, adding that the firm will be bringing high-paying, technology jobs to downtown Tyler in a building that has been vacant for years.
The firm provides mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering and consulting services and specializes in school district projects. The company started in Tyler 41 years ago, and does most of its work in larger cities, such as Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, Mullins said. Their staff of 69 employees includes 20 professional engineers, as well as technical staff.
On Tuesday, November 14, 2017, the Commissioners Court voted unanimously to approve a 100 percent, three-year abatement for the project. Mullins said the company plans to invest $3 million in renovating The Forum building and $500,000 in equipment. They also plan to add eight new jobs.
Michael Clendenin, president/CEO of Estes, McClure & Associates, said they plan to completely gut the building for a total renovation. He expects construction to begin in February and take about a year.
Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said the tax abatement allows for the local business to stay in Tyler when they could relocate to a larger city. He said the project will help revitalize the corner of Front Street and Broadway Avenue, which is a gateway to downtown Tyler.
Estes, McClure & Associates has worked on more than 3,700 projects for Texas schools, colleges and universities, including more than 596 Texas independent school districts and 47 colleges.
The business is currently located at 3608 West Way, off of U.S. Highway 155, in Tyler. It also has locations in Austin and Houston.
Clendenin said the company recruits a lot of employees from the University of Texas at Tyler and has an active intern program.