The southeast portion of Georgetown, loosely defined by city planners as east of I-35 and south of the San Gabriel River, has historically been less developed than other areas of town.
But according to planners, southeast Georgetown is set to be the fastest-growing area of the city over the next several years. With seven developments consisting of more than 2,600 residential units just over the horizon, the future homes of many residents may lie in southeast Georgetown.
“That’s the exciting part,” Planning Director Sofia Nelson said. “What you see now as countryside will be homes soon.”
Why there? Why now?
Georgetown Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said the southeast portion of the city has always had the potential for rapid development.
I-35 and SH 130 connect southeast Georgetown to surrounding communities, and the relative lack of limestone makes the area less expensive to develop than the west section of the city, Brewer said. Developers are beginning to take notice of the southeast’s accessibility and affordability.
“For them, Georgetown is a good investment because we do have higher development standards. That means their project is going to last and stand the test of time. That makes it a good investment for us and a good investment for them,” she said.
So far, seven developments in and near the southeast part of the city have been entitled, Nelson said. Saddle Creek is a development with plans to have 640 units, with home prices to start in the $220,000s.
Six more developments are still in the works, Nelson said. La Conterra is a subdivision with 136 units completed and will continue to build out 217 more. A development called West Haven has agreed to build in the southeast part of the city, and Fairhaven has been approved to build up to 775 units. Two phases of the Mansions at Georgetown will provide 438 multifamily housing units; Teravista has proposed to eventually feature 154 units; and Vista Pointe will provide an additional 247 homes.
A variety of housing
City officials said they are glad to see Georgetown become home to more diverse housing, made up of both single-family and multifamily units at varying prices.
“[These developers] are going to provide a little bit more affordable options,” Brewer said. “So we’re really excited about that, to be able to provide that range of home availability that we’re not seeing as much on the west side.”
Diverse housing is important from an economic development standpoint, she said.
“I think you need a mix [of homes available],” she said. “When you have economic development opportunities, many employers are going to want to make sure that there’s an availability of a range of skill sets. Having a range of home prices also indicates that you’ll have a range of available employees as well.”
Brewer said Georgetown will become a more attractive city for business with the arrival of less expensive housing options. The city will have executive-level homes available as well as those for lower-level employees.
Preparing for the boom
With the population expected to grow, multiple groups that operate in the southeast part of Georgetown are getting ready for the new homes and businesses expected to
In July the Georgetown ISD board of trustees voted unanimously to purchase nearly 80 acres of land for new schools throughout the district’s existing boundaries. Although the specific locations of the land buys have not been released by the district, nearly 23 acres lie in the southeast quadrant of town, according to district officials.
Although there are no plans right now for a new city park in the southeast part of town, additional development could make that a possibility in the future, said Kimberly Garrett, director of the Georgetown Parks and Recreation Department.
“I think [a park will be] a need with the growth,” she said.
A parkland dedication city ordinance requires most new multifamily developments to set aside land for public parks. City code requires multifamily developers to set aside one acre for parkland for each 50 new dwelling units.
The growth will provide for additional enhancements to accommodate for the new residents and development, Brewer said.
“While property values are going up, which causes taxes to go up, we’re trying to limit the increases to the tax rate and let the growth pay for some of those additional bonds,” she said. “The voters voted for those with the understanding that there would be an amount of limited tax increases. But growth allows us to lessen the impact on everyone because it lessens the burden and (taxpayers) have less cost.”
City Council has been diligent about maintaining Georgetown’s charm without discouraging development, Brewer said. By investing in parks, right of way and facility maintenance, Georgetown will accommodate new residents and development without the growing pains nearby cities have experienced, she said.
“It’s visionary and fiscally conservative,” Brewer said. “It’s more economical to maintain the assets you have now than to wait for it to fail 15 years from now and have to rebuild.”