AUSTIN — Wal-Mart Corp. recently repurchased the 4 million-square-foot distribution center in Baytown that the retail giant had been leasing from the state's Permanent School Fund since 2005.
"With this deal, the Permanent School Fund earned more than $40 million for Texas schools without raising anyone's taxes," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. "And while the state of Texas may no longer own this facility, Wal-Mart's biggest distribution center is still located in Baytown, along with the jobs it provides and the additional taxes it earns the city, county and schools."
Patterson is chairman of the School Land Board, which oversees real assets investments on behalf of the state's $25 billion Permanent School Fund, which helps pay for the state's share of K-12 public education. Patterson led the School Land Board in 2004 to purchase the newly constructed facility from Wal-Mart for $100 million and simultaneously enter into a long-term lease with the retailer. The terms of the lease included an option that allowed Wal-Mart to repurchase the facility after two years.
The distribution center is located about 14 miles from the Houston Ship Channel, and approximately one-quarter mile from the southeast city limits of Baytown. Before the Wal-Mart facility was built, the 473-acre parcel on which it sits was ag-exempt pasture land, earning Chambers County only a small amount in taxes per year.