Development Springing Up
Austin's first crystal lagoon makes waves as part of $1 billion mixed-use development
A massive new development is underway in the Austin area, promising retail, restaurants, entertainment, a hotel, office and residential space, and 4-acre crystalline lagoon.
Leander Springs will be located on the southwest corner of FM 2243 and 183A, about 25 miles north of downtown Austin. Once fully developed, the 78-acre mixed-use development is expected to be valued at $1 billion, according to the City of Leander.
Central to this new neighborhood is the lagoon by Crystal Lagoons, which made waves earlier this year when it opened a similar water feature near Houston. The Leander lagoon will feature 10 acres of boardwalk and related amenities, and serve as the "centerpiece" for more than 1 million square feet of commercial development.
Along with office space, the development promises a hotel and conference center, an increasingly common trend around Austin and the Texas Hill Country. In recent years, similar all-inclusive resort/conference center projects have sprung up in places like Round Rock and Fredericksburg.
“This dynamic mixed-use development is a game changer for our community,” said Leander Mayor Troy Hill in a city release. “Leander Springs has a phased approach that will bring in much needed commercial development at the beginning of the project while incorporating residential uses in a proportional manner.”
Along with commercial development and attractions, up to 1,600 multifamily residential units are proposed for the project, adding more housing to a region struggling with affordability issues.
City officials approved a $22 million tax incentive for Leander Springs on October 15 — the project's first major hurdle. As part of the city's tax incentives, developer Leander Springs LLC is "eligible to receive rebates from the city on property taxes, sales taxes, and hotel occupancy taxes."
“Our conservative approach in the Leander Springs agreement helps make this project feasible for the developers while serving as a low risk opportunity for the city,” said Leander City Manager Rick Beverlin. “The deal allows us to immediately share in the economic benefits on a property that should provide excellent returns if developed to its best and highest use.”
On October 22, the plans go before the city's planning and zoning commission and, if approved, will then be subject to a Leander City Council vote on November 9 and December 3. If approved, the lagoon and the first 35,000 square feet of commercial development and should be completed by December 31, 2023.