TIP Strategies is a privately held Austin-based economic development consulting firm committed to providing quality solutions for public and private‑sector clients.
This blog is dedicated to exploring new data and trends in economic development.
by Caroline Alexander, Senior Consultant, TIP Strategies
TIP, in partnership with Bob Wernersbach, recently completed a market study for the San Marcos Regional Airport (HYI). Communities often face the challenge of how to leverage an airport as an economic development asset. San Marcos provides a useful example of how to approach this challenge for general aviation airports, in particular.
The San Marcos Regional Airport is owned by the city of San Marcos and managed by Texas Aviation Partners. It is situated between Austin and San Antonio between IH-35 and the new SH-130 with access to rail and a workforce of over 1.9 million people within a 50-mile radius of the airport. It is also a short drive away from one of Texas’ most popular tourist destinations – the San Marcos Outlet Malls.
The San Marcos Regional Airport competes not only with the general aviation facilities of Austin-Bergstrom and San Antonio International Airports but also with the airports located in New Braunfels and Georgetown. To understand how the San Marcos airport fits into the regional competitive landscape, we conducted a detailed analysis to score the competing facilities based on 27 criteria across 4 topic areas. The 4 topic areas were value, location, growth potential, and airport facilities.
With the understanding of how San Marcos fits into the competitive landscape, we identified market opportunities and niches for the San Marcos Regional Airport. We proposed a vision for the airport and the surrounding land that will guide investments and development at the airport. Finally, we made specific recommendations on site preparation and infrastructure development that should made and devised a marketing strategy. These recommendations outline the steps the City of San Marcos, Texas Aviation Partners, and the Greater San Marcos Partnership must take to realize the ambitious vision for the airport.
The result of the study is a more coordinated effort to promote the airport as a growth center in the region. Through the planning process, San Marcos was able to engage its stakeholders and build support for the airport vision. Texas Aviation Partners has embraced the study and is building its business plan around it. The Greater San Marcos Partnership, too, will incorporate this study into its over-all economic development strategy. Through this coordinated effort, the community is likely to see strongly positive results.