Possible downtown development presented to Leander City Council increases in size, seeks to use $15 million in public funds

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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.

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COMMENT
  1. Jacqueline Gross

    Glad to see Leander develop plans for a future downtown, I live in Leander but enjoy Georgetown Square and Round Rock downtown more than areas in my own town. We need to plan for the future, when this location will be central Leander.

  2. Leander has a downtown? I didn’t think there was much more than two old ladies and a goat.

  3. Please put thought into the project to truly be pedestrian and family and Eco friendly. Have several scattered open spaces, gathering spaces and parks for everyday use and also for small town events, music, Farmers Market, etc.. Have Enough green and trees to prevent that area from becoming a heat island and thus requiring huge energy expenses. Have enough perimeter parking to keep the streets walkable and pleasant.
    **PLAN a Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge OVER Hwy183 to make it safe for the residents and kids of nearby neighborhoods to cross to the other side safely to enjoy Downtown and also to prevent impeding of all that traffic on Hwy 183. A Pedestrian Bridge would be an innovative and unique addition to the Downtown Development.**

  4. If this happens, please for the love of this community, can we have a development that has beauty and character and doesn’t look like all the other developments that other communications have built? Build something that hearkens to a bygone era that is nostalgic, pre-1950s architecture, beautiful, and aesthetically pleasing. Give people a reason to want to ride the Metrorail to Leander, or make the drive because what we have is something special. The ACC campus is not the least appealing. Ugh! Just more of the same boring architecture. So, please, character and beauty. When will developers understand that if they offer that, people will come in droves and bring their money here!

  5. I have lived in Leander my entire life. I recall the time of dirt roads and no grocery stores. I enjoyed growing up on a ranch in a small community. If construction starts on this project I hope it won’t be a large concrete area. I would like to see a new development with as many natural trees as possible and sticking with the small town charm Leander has lost in the past 10 years. I encourage the growth but responsible and planned growth is key.

  6. I strongly believe what will make this project a success is on how family and eco-friendly the land will be utilized. I love the idea of having a place where the town can meet daily for small-town events, Farmers Market, local restaurants/ bistro and etc, a true “town square”.
    Incorporating natural green space and fully taking advantage of the hill country to provide the touch of Leander is whats going to drive visitors from Austin and neighboring towns to see just how beautiful Leander is. More restaurants and shops are great but we must keep that small town feel and differentiate Leander from the rest of the other towns. We need to leave the shopping centers for other locations in the town, make this place unique and not more of the same or else there will be nothing special to see or do.
    Right now there is not much of a downtown presence, so the opportunity to recreate that presence is golden.
    Hopefully are architects and developers can exceed our expectations and create a spectacular setting.

    Love Leander and Live Leander!

Caitlin covers Cedar Park and Leander city councils and reports on education, transportation, government and business news. She is an alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, Caitlin produced a large-scale investigative project with The Dallas Morning News and led education coverage in the Brazos Valley at The Bryan-College Station Eagle. After interning with Community Impact Newspaper for two summers, she joined the staff as a reporter in 2015.
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