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Corner car wash no more; Marble Falls EDC buys spot for $2M

Tidal Wave Auto Spa site in Marble Falls

A proposed Tidal Wave Auto Spa car wash for the northeast corner of U.S. 281 and RR 1431 has dried up. The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors voted to purchase the property for $2 million at its Nov. 1 meeting. The Marble Falls City Council will reaffirm the purchase on Nov. 7. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The Marble Falls Economic Development Corp. recently purchased land to fend off a proposed car wash at the northeast corner of RR 1431 and U.S. 281. The decision came after an onslaught of online dissent from residents when they read about the plan to build a Tidal Wave Auto Spa at the busy intersection.

“We will enter into a partnership with the city,” EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher told

The EDC Board of Directors approved the $2 million purchase on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Parcels located at 1001, 1003, and 1008 Main St., along with a creek that runs behind them, are included in the sale. Also included in the price is reimbursement to Creed Development, the company that had planned to build the car wash. 

“We are on the hook to pay the full amount,” Fletcher said.

Marble Falls Mayor Dave Rhodes said the city will work to be as fiscally responsible as possible with the purchase to ensure residents are protected.

“We’re not going to raise water rates to buy property,” he said. “Until we do flip (the lots to a developer), whatever is in our budget for that equal number, we can’t spend. It’s got to balance out. No new spending, no debt, no reserves, none of that.”

City officials pinpointed the corner for purchase with future intersection improvements coming from the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT plans to buy and tear down several buildings on the other side of the intersection to widen the righthand turn onto 1431 from 281.

“We also know there needs to be a 50-foot set-aside on the 1431 section of it because TxDOT is going to want it one of these days,” Rhodes said. “We decided we might as well get it in there now and do something pretty with it until then.”

The city didn’t want a car wash at that location but also didn’t have the power to prevent it from being built.

“The city was in an awkward position,” said the EDC’s Fletcher. “Recognizing we didn’t want a car wash, our only alternative was to purchase. If (the developers) had checked all the boxes, the city would have been obligated to issue a building permit.”

Mayor Rhodes said multiple ideas exist for the best use of the corner.

“There are some ideas for what it might look like, but at the end of the day, it’s not a car wash in a signature place,” he said. “It could be anything. Once you open Pandora’s Box, you get all these ideas and thoughts.”

One option is to have a developer look at the site for potential improvements, Rhodes said.

“We intend to get a developer in and flip it so it’s the right thing for that picturesque spot in our city,” he said. “We want it to be more emblematic of a small town.”

Fletcher envisions the creek at the site being beautified in a “tasteful” way.

“Obviously, there’s an opportunity there, but it’s going to need some work,” he said.

The Marble Falls City Council will reaffirm the EDC purchase during its Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 800 Third St.

2 thoughts on “Corner car wash no more; Marble Falls EDC buys spot for $2M

  1. Thank you EDC. It is unfortunate that the EDC had to spend that kind of money to stop this project; but, I’m certainly glad they did. A car wash at that intersection was just asking for trouble.

  2. It’s just a hard location on which to place any sort of a busy business. Offices or something would be about it without causing traffic problems for everyone. A car wash would have been a disaster, for drivers and the business.

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