A possible project in Leander’s downtown that is proposed to hold offices, retail, restaurants, a hotel, a grocery store and possible residential options recently increased in size to about 115 acres.
On March 1, Leander City Council received a presentation by Tynberg LLC about a possible new development in the city’s transit-oriented development district during a council workshop. The TOD district was created to encourage pedestrian-friendly residential and commercial development, according to the city.
Alex Tynberg, principal developer for Tynberg LLC, previously presented on a roughly 70-acre mixed-use project known as Northline in northern Leander to the City Council twice in 2017. During the March 1 meeting, Tynberg said he had purchased an additional 45 acres on the west side of Mel Mathis Boulevard.
“We’re now looking at 115 acres in the core of the city, the city’s new downtown area, between St. David’s to the north and [Austin Community College] and the [Capital] Metro rail station to the south,” he said.
Michael Swartz, a principal with David M. Schwarz Architects, said the additional acreage allows the project’s architects to design the project around Mel Mathis Boulevard.
The additional land “has allowed us to change our focus and to now really think about Mel Mathis as the heart and center of this project,”Swartz said.
He said the architects are envisioning Mel Mathis to function as a local street and as an entrance into the Northline project, and he said purchasing the additional acreage also now directly links the site to Capital Metro’s Leander Station Park and Ride along US 183 and Metro Drive. The additional acreage also allows for a town square along Mel Mathis.
Swartz said the ground floor of the buildings surrounding the square could feature shops, restaurants and retail, and the second floor would have a variety of different uses.
Tynberg said he plans to develop Northline in phases and requested to use public funds through a public-private partnership. He estimated the first phase would cost $21 million total and requested the city fund $15 million of that amount to build infrastructure.
“We’re focusing the public investment into the core area of the TOD, which helps ensure that the TOD will be developed in the manner envisioned by the city,” he said.
According to presentation documents, the $15 million in infrastructure, such as roads and water lines, would later be owned by the city, and the costs could be recouped by payments through the city’s tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ.
Out of the $21 million, Tynberg said he would pay for $3 million in infrastructure that he would donate to the city and $3 million in private infrastructure for the development. He would also donate all right of way for streets and sidewalks and civic spaces, which represent about 25 percent of the 115-acre property.
The meeting was held for the developer to update the City Council and receive feedback on the concept. No actions will be taken until a formal request is brought before the council.