Leander’s developing downtown could gain offices, a parking garage, apartment complexes, townhomes, retail shops, and a hotel with conference rooms if the city of Leander and a developer partner on a mixed-use district.
Alex Tynberg, principal developer for Tynberg LLC, is working with the city of Leander to create an economic development agreement for a new mixed-use project in the city’s transit-oriented development, or TOD, district, Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis said.
The TOD district was created in 2005 to encourage pedestrian-friendly residential and commercial development in central Leander, according to the city’s website. The economic recession in 2008 put a hold on TOD projects until Austin Community College bought land in the district for its San Gabriel campus in 2010, Yantis said.
“There was sort of this hope that if we get a catalyst project, it will help to spur wider development in the TOD,” Yantis said. “Once [ACC] is actually up and open, then you’ve got all that traffic that’s coming to the campus; that’s going to be a driver for other development.”
Tynberg presented his ideas for the walkable development to Leander City Council during a council workshop Aug. 3. He called the project, which features parks, streetscapes and plazas, a “vibrant, mixed-use town center” in the presentation.
“Properly executed retail development will drive success in the other developments,” Tynberg said.
Tynberg made the case for a partnership between his private company and the city in order for the development to come to fruition. Yantis said in the past, the city—through the fund established by the tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, board formed to help finance development in the TOD district—has reimbursed developers who created public infrastructure improvements through tax revenue incrementally over time.
“I view this project as a true partnership with the city,” Tynberg said.
Tynberg asked to be given the lump sum of the reimbursement up front, which would allow for the city to keep tax revenue generated by the development, but doing so would be a greater risk for the city than what has been done previously, Yantis said.
The first phase of the project would focus on construction and updates to the northeast portion of the lot, Tynberg said. This phase could include water lines, a park, traffic infrastructure, and streetscaping and may cost approximately $15 million, with portions of the price potentially reimbursed by the city, he said.
Yantis said the economic development agreement may be put before City Council by the end of the calendar year.