Heavy equipment, trucking centers bring new growth near Georgetown Municipal Airport

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Two heavy equipment dealers and one trucking service company are separately planning to open sales and service centers near the Georgetown Municipal Airport in the city’s northwest corner.

First up will be a new 13,500-square-foot Ewald Kubota dealership that will open this fall at 2650 N. I-35, Georgetown, company owner John Ewald said. Georgetown’s demographics and fast growth were attractive aspects in his company’s decision to open a new location in the city, Ewald said.

“It’s a good market for us,” he said.

Ewald Kubota will be joined next fall by an 85,000-square-foot Holt Cat sales and service center near the Georgetown Municipal Airport at 2101 Airport Road. The Holt Cat facility broke ground in January on property east of Airport Road and north of the Lakeway Drive and I-35 intersection.

In June, Georgetown City Council approved an initial reading of an ordinance granting a special-use permit for a future Vanguard Truck Centers facility at 2150 N. I-35, Georgetown. Council members will need to approve a second vote before a permit is issued. A construction timeline is still to be determined.

With development around the airport expected to continue, the city is expanding Airport Road from two lanes to five and adding a new intersection at Airport and Lakeway. Patin Construction broke ground on the project in June and should finish by next summer.

All total, the new facilites could eventually add 175-179 new jobs as well as an estimated 116,500 square feet of commercial sales and service space.

What’s ahead

Holt Cat serves a variety of customers, including landscapers, quarries and commercial developers. The company sells and services Caterpillar equipment and engines and has locations in Austin and Pflugerville.

The San Antonio-based company’s future Georgetown sales, rental and service center will be the largest retail location the company has built in more than 25 years, said Tony Shedrock, Holt Cat’s vice president of general services.

“The area north of Austin is growing like crazy,” Shedrock said. “We have a lot of our customers working up there.”

Shedrock said the Georgetown facility is on schedule to open in September 2019. The future location will have entrances on Airport Road and on the southbound I-35 frontage road to the east of Holt Cat’s property.

Attracting Holt Cat to the city was part of the Georgetown economic development staff’s goal of diversifying the city’s tax base, particularly in areas around the airport, according to Georgetown Economic Development Director Michaela Dollar.

Holt Cat expects to employ up to 130 people in its Georgetown facility over its first decade in operation, including heavy-equipment mechanics along with administrative, sales, and marketing professionals.

Ewald Kubota dealerships are known for its focus on tractor sales and service, but the company’s offerings also include construction and utility-related vehicles, Ewald said.

Ewald said his company sees Holt Cat as a competitor but added that having both companies opening facilities in Georgetown should increase business opportunities for both.

The Georgetown Ewald Kubota should employ between 20-25 workers, including equipment-mechanic positions in the dealership’s service department as well as sales professionals, Ewald said.

The Seguin, Texas-based company has eight locations in Texas, not including the future facility in Georgetown. The list includes dealerships in Austin and Taylor. Ewald Kubota serves customers in the farming, ranching and construction industries. It also rents equipment and sells parts out of its facilities.

Vanguard Truck Centers plans to build and operate a dealership for Volvo and Mack commercial freight trucks. The company’s Georgetown facility would sell new and used trucks and parts. It would also offer truck repair service.

Vanguard expects to employ about 24 workers in its proposed 18,000-square-foot facility, which would be built north of Ewald Kubota.

The Vanguard company has six locations  in Texas, including one in Austin.

Infrastructure upgrades

Widening Airport Road from two to five lanes was part of an economic agreement between the city and Holt Cat. The company received several incentives through its deal with Georgetown, including a possible sales tax rebate of up to $2 million over five years if the company meets benchmarks on new jobs and sales.

Holt Cat is the only company out of the three planning facilities near the airport that negotiated an economic development agreement with the city.

The $2.4 million project includes moving the intersection of Airport and Lakeway several hundred feet to the east. It also includes traffic signal improvements at the intersection of Airport and Lakeway as well as a sidewalk crossing of a drainage way in the project area.

The city’s expansion of Airport Road was a prime key for Holt Cat, Shedrock said. Many of the larger trucks and equipment the future service center will handle require wider roads to make the facility feasible, Shedrock said.

Along with roadwork, Georgetown officials plan to extend a wastewater line along I-35 to service Holt Cat and allow for future commercial development.

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Evan Marczynski
Evan Marczynski is editor of the Georgetown edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He joined Community Impact in 2016 as a reporter in Northwest Austin and previously covered Austin-area health care and Round Rock ISD. Evan is a native of the Pacific Northwest, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University in 2012 and worked as a newspaper reporter until he moved to Texas.
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