District 2243, a proposed planned-unit development, was presented to City Council at its July 2 meeting. The project would be located at the southwest corner of Hero Way and Ronald Reagan Boulevard, which is between the old and new RR 2243 to the north and south, respectively.
In discussion, council members learned they could not immediately approve the 289.9-acre rezoning, so the zoning change request was postponed to the July 16 council meeting.
Four districts make up the proposed project, including an urban core, a neighborhood district, a highway district, and a health and wellness district, according to Barry Hand, a principal at Gensler Dallas who presented the project to council.
The urban core would be a mixed-use community with retail, dining and amenities along Ronald Reagan Boulevard. The neighborhood district would be single-family houses and a possible self-storage facility. The health and wellness district would center on a hospital, medical offices and a hotel. The highway district would span the north border with Hero Way with 1.75 million square feet of office space.
The proposed project includes a total of 3 million square feet of office space, which exceeds the amount of office space in The Domain, Northline and other similar developments in Texas, according to the proposed plan.
The proposed master plan features outdoor entertainment, an upscale grocery, urban gardens, diverse housing options, intimate gathering spaces and an active retail street, according to the project presentation.
Instead of a large, central park, the project will feature a trail network into the Brushy Creek Trail. A greenbelt stitches the four noncontiguous districts together, Hand said.
The project was revised after the June 25 Leander Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to remove multifamily use in the neighborhood district, reduce multifamily use in the highway and health and wellness districts, add required activated retail fronts in the urban core and reduce the permitted height in the urban core.
Council members had split views on the details of the proposed project. Some council members expressed excitement over what could be the city's largest mixed-use development. Council members were concerned about the necessity of a 140,000-square-foot self-storage facility, planned phases, retail space and multifamily units.
Mayor Troy Hill was concerned about the number of multifamily units. He said there should be a cap on the number of units in District 2243.
“It’s not exciting to see a request for 1,800 units,” Hill said.
Council Member Jason Shaw said he believed this is the area where multifamily units should be built. Shaw said he did not think 1,800 units were too many considering other apartments approved across the city.
“I want to go put a shovel in a ground today," Shaw said.
Hill requested more specificity on the project's phases, and Hand said the market itself will phase the project.
Council Member Kathryn Pantalion-Parker said the four separated lots made her nervous. Pantalion-Parker said she would rather see the major lot be the development focus. Hand said the western parcels would be developed later on in the plan.
Council Member Michelle Stephenson said the project is well thought out and will attract younger people to Leander.
Council Member Marci Cannon was also concerned about the possibility of "unlimited" apartments in the project. She said the city has experienced problems with buying into the pictures.
"We love all these pictures. We just want to see these pictures reflected in the legal document," Cannon said.
The 87-page presentation is available below.