SALTILLO • Fans of small, square burgers on the north end of Lee County are in luck. By the end of the year, a Krystal restaurant will be open in Saltillo.

The dirtwork has already started on the lot near the intersection of highways 45 and 145. The restaurant will be located on Tuner Industrial Park Road, just south of the truck stop and across from the medical clinic.

“We’ve been working on this for a while,” said Saltillo building and zoning administrator Brian Grissom. “They are looking at an opening date of six months, probably less.

“There is going to be a green space between the truck stop and the restaurant. That will allow more room for the drive-thru.”

When it opens, Krystal will join five other restaurants in Saltillo’s most concentrated commercial district, a busy one-third mile stretch of Highway 145. While the Krystal will not be directly on the main drag, it’s opening could spawn further development along Turner Park Road.

Saltillo Mayor Rex Smith is currently talking with the developer about a tax abatement to help finance sewer improvements for the site. Officials want to enlarge the sewer line and add a lift station to handle increased demand.

Instead of just replacing the 2-inch sewer line with a 4-inch line running straight to Highway 145, officials want to run the larger sewer line south along Turner Park Road and add lift station there.

“It would be to our advantage,” Smith said. “What they are doing will allow us to add more (future commercial businesses) along that section. We are looking at an abatement for that extra amount.”

As an incentive for economic development, cities can reduce or eliminate the property taxes on new construction and major improvements. The owner will pay ad valorem taxes for a fixed period of time based on the value of the property before it was improved. The money not spent on increased taxes is then used to pay construction/infrastructure costs.

In this case, the developer would pay property taxes based on a vacant lot. Taxes on the improvements, which could run around $1 million, would not have to be paid until 2025.

“We’ll have to sit down and discuss everything, but I don’t think it will take more than five years (of abatement),” Smith said. “And this will only apply to ad valorem (property) taxes. We would still get the sales tax.”

The Saltillo Board of Aldermen voted last week to proceed with abatement discussions. Twitter:@WilliamMoore_DJ

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