Over the next six months, residents living between Oak Hill and Dripping Springs will experience an influx of amenities with the opening of the new mixed-use commercial development Belterra Village.
Since mid-January a slew of businesses have opened their doors, including Sky Cinemas, Hat Creek Burger Co., Breed & Co., Mattress Firm, Jersey Mike’s Subs and Great Clips. Between January and May, another 30 tenants are slated to join the development, according to Daniel Campbell, a principal with Endeavor Real Estate Group, the team behind the development of Belterra Village.
Endeavor first announced the project in May 2015. A growing population along the Hwy. 290 corridor—brought on in part by the 1,600-acre master-planned community Belterra, which since its inception in 2003 has introduced 5,000 new residents to the area—is what ultimately led the firm to choose the eastern edge of Dripping Springs as home for the development.
But the aim of Belterra Village is not exclusively focused on the residents of Belterra, Campbell said. Instead Endeavor hopes to attract residents from west of Oak Hill to RR 12 in Dripping Springs.
“For this trade area there have been fragments of development, but not really anything that had this village concept,” he said. “Our goal was to create a place where people feel like they can gather.”
BUSINESSES CHIME IN
When Endeavor first announced its intentions to include a movie theater in Belterra Village, veteran of the film distribution and exhibition industry Bill Banowsky said he leaped on the opportunity to secure the location for his latest venture, Sky Cinemas.
“I have been working to find a site in Dripping Springs for more than six years now,” he said. “With everything Daniel and his partners are doing in the center, it’s just beautiful. It was clear this was the winning site.”
Widely known for his theater Violet Crown Austin, Banowsky said with Sky Cinemas he hoped to appeal to the suburban retail environment by existing in a space somewhere between the mall and arthouse theater concepts.
“Sky Cinemas is a 14-screen theater that will show all of the movies released from Hollywood every week—your blockbusters—but we will also show a number of films similar to what we show downtown at the Violet Crown,” he said. “With 14 screens, we have the capacity and flexibility to do that.”
Banowsky borrowed successful features from Violet Crown to form the Sky Cinemas model. Amenities such as leather reclining seats and fast-casual farm-to-table fare have contributed to his success of offering an elevated movie-watching experience.
“Beyond the seating and the best sound and projection technology the industry has to offer, we also have put a whole lot of energy and effort into creating a different type of food and beverage opportunity for the person who comes to the cinema,” he said.
Sky Cinemas opened Jan. 26. Next door, local homeware and hardware store Breed & Co. is also an inaugural tenant. The development’s placement next to a thriving residential community is what owner Dave Barker said drove him to open the company’s third location in Belterra Village.
A store within a store, as Barker calls it, Breed & Co. is intended to appeal to two disparate demographics—the home improver and the homemaker. Inside, visitors can find power tools as well as fine china. Opening a Breed & Co. is a “unique opportunity,” Barker explained, and one that only comes along once every few years. In Belterra Village, where household incomes of nearby residents tend to err on the higher side, Barker said the concept fit seamlessly.
“There are not a lot of people who do this [concept]; this is unique,” Barker said. “I call it Ace Hardware meets Neiman Marcus.”
IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD
Remaining mindful of the nearby community is something Endeavor has prioritized since the genesis of Belterra Village, Campbell said.
“Our intention when we go into a project in a new market is to figure out what is important to the community and then make sure we respect those things,” he said. “We feel like if we can do that, then we can make the process easier for ourselves in the short run, and in the long run, we really develop a project that becomes important to the community.”
Luke Keznik, community manager at CCMC, the management company that oversees Belterra, said Endeavor approached the community’s board of directors in the very preliminary phases of the project’s development.
“They didn’t want this to look like a huge industrial park,” he said. “They really accommodated a lot of the requests and have been great partners.”
Diverting incoming traffic away from Belterra was a priority among residents, Keznik said. Access into the development for non-residents will be exclusively by way of Hwy. 290, he said, while Belterra homeowners will be able to enter through community entrances.
As Austin and Dripping Springs continue to grow and traffic builds along Hwy. 290, Keznik said it has become increasingly difficult for Belterra homeowners to access nearby amenities. The wealth of options for food, leisure and convenience brought on by Belterra Village is a welcomed relief, he said.
“Recently we have seen Dripping Springs really start to grow and the Austin area is exploding, so traffic on Hwy. 290 is getting worse,” he said. “The anticipation for Belterra Village has been extremely high as of late—people can’t wait for it to open.”
This story is one update from The January Issue. View the full list of Top 10 stories to follow in 2018 here.