Lakeway officials have been working with Bill Hayes of the development company Legend Communities since late 2018 to shore up ideas and specs for a second try at a multiuse development project in the heart of the city—this time all involved want to get it right.
The project’s working title has been the Square on Lohmans, a shift from the City Center, which was the handle for a larger project on more acreage in the same area on Lohmans Crossing Road. That project ultimately fell by the wayside for lack of public support in mid 2018.
For the Square on Lohmans, Lakeway City Council and staff have been getting updates from Hayes on various iterations of the project since December. On June 5, almost 300 people attended the first of two town halls to provide feedback for project leaders on the directions they hope the project will take.
Early versions of the Square on Lohmans presented in December and February shifted various aspects of the project— some examples include increasing retail and dining square footage from 85,000 to more than 100,000 square feet, reducing residences from 250 to 239 and tinkering with infrastructure—but throughout the process Mayor Sandy Cox has always stressed the versions were simply ideas, not permanent plans.
During the town hall Wednesday night at the packed Lakeway Activity Center, Hayes oriented attendees to two options: A and B.
Option A is a medium-density standard zoning development containing a 1.5-acre park, 82,000 square feet of commercial space, 152 residential units, a two-lane main street. Hayes explained the medium density moniker fits because there would be less than five residential units per acre.
“If this is what everybody wants, we’re happy to build it,” Hayes said prior to presenting option B.
Option B has roughly the same commercial square footage at 81,200, a four-lane divided main street, including Lohmans Spur as a four-lane undivided road, a 3-acre park and 227 residential units that include townhomes and cottages with alley-loaded garages.
The second option requires variances because Lakeway no longer has R-5, or condominium zoning, Hayes said before discussing other advantages.
“The idea behind the three-acre park is to create a gathering space for the people of Lakeway,” Hayes said. “Right now, there is no space.”
Hayes also emphasized the 10-foot-wide public walkway that would run through the center of the main street of option B as well as a possible roundabout.
Housing affordability was another talking point, and Hayes said option B was far more affordable with price points between $350,000-$600,000. Option A carries price points between $500,000 and $800,000 depending on the zoning, Hayes said.
Some of the benefits to the city for additional density within option B include more money for amenities, roads and park land, bringing an additional $1.95 million in value to the city not included in option A, Hayes said.
The last 20 minutes of the town hall was earmarked for questions from attendees. Most concerns centered on parking availability, what variances would be required for option B (front-loaded garages, different setbacks, smaller lot, etc.), if the added traffic could be accommodated and whether the nearby Lakeway Elementary School would surpass capacity because of the development, to which Hayes responded he did not anticipate that being an issue.
Cox said after the presentation the combination of comments from both town halls combined with online feedback would help Hayes move forward with the project residents seem to want most.
Hayes will bring the latest version of the development to Lakeway Building and Development Services, she said, and then it will ultimately go to the Lakeway Planning & Zoning Commission.
“So, I would anticipate sometime this summer, but I can’t really say honestly [when the development will be ready to move forward]right now,” Cox said. “We’re trying to understand what people want, and if there are some more iterations we want to go through I want to leave us open for that.”
The next town hall event for the Square on Lohmans will be June 11 at 2 p.m. at the Lakeway Activity Center, located at 105 Cross Creek, Lakeway.