San Marcos City Council approves Economic Development Agreement to support Film Production Studio Project

Sierra Martin | Managing Editor

SAN MARCOS — Hill Country Group, a San Marcos-based production studio management company, will invest an initial $267 million on an 820,000 square foot facility in the La Cima development and bring more than 1,500 industry jobs to the region.

Photo of Hill Country Studios plan.

A vote by the San Marcos City Council on Tuesday, June 7, 2022, approved a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement with Hill Country Group, LLC. The agreement provides a tax rebate incentive to support construction of a film production studio in San Marcos.

“San Marcos was the clear-cut choice of where we wanted to be doing business,” said Zach Price, co-founder and COO of Hill Country Studios. “The natural beauty of the Hill Country, as well as the local workforce and close proximity to the talent pools of Austin and San Antonio, made perfect sense for us to locate our film production studio in the Texas Innovation Corridor.”

Construction on the project is expected to begin in April 2023 and will be conducted in three phases, with an anticipated completion date set for August 2025. The 820,000-square foot facility, to be built near Wonder World Drive and West Center Point Road in the La Cima development, will include stages, workshops, offices, and support spaces.

“We have a great opportunity to diversify our economy and have high quality jobs in film and television,” said Jude Prather, Place 6 councilmember for the City of San Marcos. “This film production studio is a testament to the creative culture we have here and another example of the quality businesses we aim to attract here in San Marcos.” 

The film production studio is expected to bring 44 full-time employees to San Marcos upon full project completion and employ up to 1,400 additional contract workers. It will also support local vendors providing services and supplies needed for on-site production projects including but not limited to caterers, dry cleaners, tailors, lumber suppliers, digital equipment suppliers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, and commercial real estate agents.

“As a top-end film production studio, Hill Country Studios will be one of the premiere destinations for video creation in Texas,” said Jason Giulietti, president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP). “Like the several other companies that have been able to prove over and over again that they’ve found success here in the Texas Innovation Corridor, Hill Country Group will succeed because of our region’s workforce and location assets. This will serve as a catalyst for economic growth, including new small business opportunities and indirect job creation.”

The Texas Film Commission maintains a database of businesses available to offer support services to production companies. Local businesses interested in creating a listing can register for free at

“We’re excited to see the opportunities this project brings to San Marcos,” said Assistant City Manager Joe Pantalion. “We’re excited Hill Country Group, LLC has chosen to invest in San Marcos for this project and we’re confident the film production studio will positively impact our local businesses and our City’s overall economy.”

The Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement with Hill Country Group, LLC was recommended by the City’s Economic Development Board in November 2021. It provides tax rebates for five years, beginning once construction is complete in 2025. The City’s 10-year economic impact analysis projects a 249% return on investment, not including additional income generated through permitting, applications, or construction activity.

“The film and television industry has had a positive economic impact in other states and its growth in Texas brings a lot of potential to San Marcos,” said Economic & Business Development Manager Kelsee Jordan Lee. “An average of $250,000 is contributed to the local economy each day a major motion picture films on location. The industry also provides quality jobs, with salaries higher than the national average.”

The development also brings environmental benefits. Hill Country Studios will be built at 48% impervious cover, which is less than the 80% that would have been allowed for a commercial project at this location in La Cima. The La Cima development must meet an overall impervious cover limit of 19% which is below the 20% limit contained in current City Code.

Hill Country Group, LLC will also develop a Water Pollution Abatement Plan to address stormwater quality and aquifer protection, and construct water quality controls that meet the City’s current requirements which are more stringent than the base La Cima agreement. The project will also protect trees and plant native landscaping, and is expected to include onsite vehicle charging stations and a community bicycle program.

This location is the seventh announcement in the Texas Innovation Corridor for fiscal year 2022 (which began October 1, 2021), joining notable projects such as Redbird Flight Simulations in Kyle, CED Greentech in Buda and a one-million square foot expansion at Iron Ox in Lockhart. Since 2020, projects facilitated by GSMP have brought more than 25 company investments and a conservative estimate of 2,500 new jobs to Hays and Caldwell Counties.

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One Comment

  1. Well I know a group of council members that have permanently lost my vote. I love that the article says that it “brings environmental benefit.” I’m sorry but cutting down trees and paving the area, whether it’s impervious or not, is not my definition of environmentally beneficial.

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