Feature Illustration: A concept rendering (above) of the planned Leander Springs mixed-use development. Courtesy: iLand Development Group and STG Design.
by Art Benavidez
Leander (Williamson County) — The 78-acre mixed use development known as Leander Springs hit a snag towards gaining full city approval as they took their first step in the zoning process.
The Leander Planning and Zoning Commission was scheduled to vote to amend zoning of the property to planned unit development, with a base zoning district of multi-family, general commercial zoning at a meeting last week.
However, during the public hearing, several residents wrote or called in stating their opposition, and citing traffic, water and noise concerns, as well as opposition to its effect on vista views.
Commissioners voted to postpone the rezoning vote to their Nov. 12 meeting so that the project could address those concerns, of which safeguarding groundwater usage was a chief priority.
The Leander City Council will make a final determination during the first and second readings of the zoning request on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3, respectively.
Earlier this month, VBX reported that the city had entered into a partnership to develop Leander Springs, a project with retail, restaurants, entertainment, hospitality, office and residential components located at the southwest corner of FM 2243 and 183A in the northeast portion of the city, that upon completion could be worth $1 billion. This is also at the confluence of Mason Creek and Brushy Creek, which is within the boundaries of the master plan.
Leander approved up to $22 million in performance-based tax incentives for the project, as part of an economic development agreement with iLand Development Group, through its proxy, Leander Springs LLC. The developer promises to construct a 4-acre crystalline lagoon powered by Crystal Lagoons technology and surrounded by 10 acres of boardwalk and related amenities.
Crystal Lagoon amenities:
- 2.57-acre waterfront open access area for restaurants, retail
- 1.2-acre waterfront exclusive hotel access area
- 1.25-acre family beach area with ticketed access
- 1.17-acre entertainment beach area with ticketed access
- 1.3-acre activity beach area with ticketed access
Overall project elements:
- $700 million in construction
- 1,500 apartment units and 75 townhomes
- 253,000 SF of retail, 856,000 SF office space
- 275 guest rooms for a 90,000 SF five story hotel/20,000 SF conference center
Andrey Derevianko, chief financial officer of iLand Development Group, said that they expect ground breaking to commence next year.
“The plan is to start in June,” Derevianko said. “The worst case scenario would be December. The complete project is going to be six phases and 12 years — it may take longer — but that’s the plan.”
iLand Development Group will first build the infrastructure needed to support the property, such as roads and utilities. Construction on buildings and the crystalline lagoon is anticipated to start in 2022.
Leander Springs LLC will qualify for tax rebate payments on the project once certain commercial development milestones are achieved, and only tax dollars generated from new commercial properties qualify.
Existing public funds will not be used to finance the project because rebates are restricted to new development
Leander Springs LLC is eligible to receive rebates from the city on property taxes, sales taxes, and hotel occupancy taxes collected as Leander Springs develops. Some examples include:
- Phase 1 property and sales tax rebates – Leander Springs must have 35,000 square feet of commercial development and the crystalline lagoon completed by Dec. 31, 2023. No more than 400 multi-family residential units may be developed during Phase 1.
- Phase 2 property and sales tax rebates – Leander Springs must have 100,000 square feet of commercial development within five years of receiving the first certificate of occupancy for developments under Phase 1. No more than 250 multi-family residential units may be developed during Phase 2.
- Additional property and sales tax rebates – Leander Springs must have 100,000 square feet of commercial development for every additional 250 multi-family residential units developed.
STG Design of Austin is the planning and design architect for the master plan. Other master plan projects that have been prepared by STG Design include Austin’s Parmer business park, the Seaholm Power Plant redevelopment, and the Oracle waterfront campus.
VBX Project ID: 2020-7518