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What is a TIRZ?

A TIRZ is a district that allows investments in public improvements to be made and the resulting incremental tax increases (“increments”) are used to pay for the improvements within the district. WGI’s land use experts break it down for you:
Houston TIRZ

TIRZ is an acronym for Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. The TIRZ concept is currently unique to the State of Texas.

On its most basic level, a TIRZ is its own political subdivision. A TIRZ may be set up by a City, County, or group of land owners. The TIRZ district allows investments in public improvements to be made and the resulting incremental tax increases (“increments”) are used to pay for the improvements within the district.

The City of Houston has been a leader in utilizing TIRZ districts in order to encourage redevelopment and investment in areas of the City that would otherwise not attract sufficient market demand to encourage such spending.

TIRZ Map Houston
TIRZ Districts Map, Courtesy of the City of Houston

A TIRZ must have a justification founded on improving the economic situation of the body that creates the district. According to state law: “The area subject to the TIRZ must substantially arrest or impair the sound growth of the municipality or county creating the zone, retard the provision of housing accommodations, or constitute an economic or social liability and be a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare in its present condition and use.”

While areas that lack sufficient roadway, utility, and housing infrastructure might naturally be a great fit for a TIRZ district, improvements like increased way finding and signage, sidewalks, bikeways, parks, and other items which might be expected to improve the economic future of an area. An example of the latter case occurs with the Uptown Houston TIRZ District, an area that includes the Galleria.

The City of Houston allows TIRZ districts to be established based on: the presence of substandard, slum, deteriorated, or deteriorating structures; the predominance of defective or inadequate sidewalk or street layout; faulty lot layout in relation to size, adequacy, accessibility, or usefulness; unsanitary or unsafe conditions; the deterioration of site or other improvements; defective or unusual conditions of title; or conditions that endanger life or property by fire or other cause.

Learn more about Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones on the City of Houston’s website .

Do you have questions about TIRZ districts in Houston? Contact our Houston office directly at (832) 730-1901 for immediate assistance.

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