Ever-growing Southwest Austin has caught the attention of the developer of Southpark Meadows and The Domain, and work is underway to bring a similar development to the Belterra master-planned residential community near Dripping Springs.
Endeavor Real Estate Group, along with Crescent Communities, the developer of Belterra, announced May 18 that the duo plans to develop 90 acres of commercial and residential property off of Hwy. 290 near the Nutty Brown Road and Belterra Drive intersections.
Slated within the development is more than 275,000 square feet of shops, restaurants, office space, a hotel, senior housing and high-density single-family homes.
Construction of the mixed-use development will begin in early 2016 and will be built in phases. Construction may take five to seven years and may be influenced by demand, Endeavor Principal Daniel Campbell said.
“It’s no secret that Austin is growing at a pretty big rate,” Campbell said. “And what’s going to be the driver of a mixed-use project like this is households.”
Campbell said Endeavor had discovered, through its own research, that people wanting to build homes are finding out that space is becoming scarce in Northwest Austin, so they are coming to Hwy. 290.
“The 290 corridor as a whole, from Southwest Austin to Dripping Springs, will really be the growth engine for Austin over the next five years,” Campbell said.
Tommy Tucker, Crescent Communities residential vice president for Central Texas, said mixed-use developments are not meant for all suburban communities. But what makes Belterra a good fit for a mixed-use project is the number of homes in the neighborhood.
“There are a lot of homes in Southwest Austin, in the Dripping Springs area,” Tucker said. “But what you haven’t had is the services to support the growing population.”
Belterra, when complete, will have 2,000 homes, Tucker said.
A community gathering spot
Campbell said Endeavor had discussions with retailers and restaurants that are “excited” about the progress of the development. The company could announce tenants sometime in late June or early July.
Comparing the Belterra mixed-use development to The Domain and Southpark Meadows, two large commercial properties on which Endeavor has also worked, Campbell said the Belterra project will emphasize a sense of place.
“We found in other projects, whether it’s Southpark Meadows or The Domain, creating a real identity and a community gathering spot has become very important,” Campbell said.
Also discussing that idea, Tucker said when people buy a home in a nice community, they are buying a lifestyle, not just the home.
Mixed-use properties, along with the lifestyle concept, as he called it, have grown in popularity within the past 10 to 15 years, he said.
Residents and others on Hwy. 290
Endeavor is not the only company that has its sights on the Belterra community and Hwy. 290. San Antonio-based grocery chain H-E-B bought 65 acres of property east of Endeavor and Crescent Community’s mixed-use project on which businesses such as The Nutty Brown Café and Austin Shoe Hospital operate.
In a statement H-E-B said it purchased the land as a long-term strategy for growth options along the Hwy. 290 corridor and that The Nutty Brown Café will continue to operate.
Austin Shoe Hospital Manager Emilio Carrizales said he, too, was given the option by H-E-B to continue operating his store.
Carrizales said Endeavor’s mixed-use development will be nothing but good for the area.
“This is great for me because I’m in the business of people wearing good shoes and dressing up,” Carrizales said. “So it’s a blessing for me as well as all this traffic.”
Belterra resident Michael Donnelly is a member of the Belterra Neighborhood Association. Speaking as a resident, he said he welcomes having an H-E-B and more restaurants at Belterra instead of having to drive to Dripping Springs or closer to Austin for the amenities.
“Anything that comes [to Belterra] is an improvement,” Donnelly said.
BNA secretary John Sone said, speaking just for himself, that he does not know much about the commercial development, but it is no surprise that one is being built.