Developers of Wolf Lakes Village—the proposed mixed-use project at I-35 and Hwy. 29 that could eventually add more than 5 million square feet of new development in Georgetown—are seeking a tax-funding arrangement with the city and Williamson County that would help pay for up to $130 million in infrastructure additions on the property as it builds out over the next several decades.
Georgetown City Council voted 5-0 on Nov. 27 to give initial approval for a tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, at Wolf Lakes Village. The council also unanimously approved an initial vote to turn the 164-acre Wolf Lakes Village property into a planned unit development. Council members John Hesser and Valerie Nicholson were absent.
Both matters will need second council votes before they become official.
A TIRZ designation lets private developers and local governments take advantage of tax increment financing, a funding model spelled out in Chapter 311 of the Texas Tax Code that allows cities to use property tax revenue to reimburse developers for building public infrastructure improvements such as roads, water lines, parks and trails. The mechanism is meant to help cities add infrastructure in less-developed areas and reduce the cost of private development, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Wolf Lakes Village would become the city’s fifth TIRZ, joining the Downtown Georgetown, Rivery Park, South Georgetown and Williams Drive Gateway zones.
Iva Wolf McLachlan and Donald McLachlan of Wolf Lakes LP plan for Wolf Lakes Village to include a mix of commercial and residential projects, combining homes, shops, restaurants and offices in a single community linked by stone streets, three lakes, a central plaza and arched bridges. The property, which is part of the Wolf family’s original 1,000 acres of land in the Georgetown area, could eventually include up to 2,500 residential units as well as space for several corporate campuses.
“Our objective and vision for the Wolf Lakes land is to do something extraordinary.” Iva Wolf McLachlan told council members Nov. 27. “We believe Wolf Lakes Village will be a tremendous economic engine for this already extraordinary city.”
An initial phase of the project is anticipated to start in 2019, although there is no timeframe for the start of commercial development on the property, Georgetown Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said.
According to the proposed TIRZ agreement, Georgetown would cover an estimated $110 million in property tax reimbursement for infrastructure additions paid by Wolf Lakes LP over the course of 30 years. Williamson County would chip in about $19 million in reimbursement over 20 years.
Reimbursements would not start until at least 150,000 square feet of commercial development in Wolf Lakes Village receives building permits, Brewer said.
The county’s involvement would need approval from its Commissioners Court, which Brewer said would consider an interlocal agreement with the city on the arrangement in December.
Wolf Lakes LP estimates Wolf Lakes Village's property value could reach $1.7 billion by 2050, compared to an estimated $460 million in value if the property was built up as a more traditional development.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported Wolf Lakes Village's estimated future property value as estimated future property revenue the development could generate.