A $22 million economic development agreement for the Leander Springs project expired in December, which has left community members questioning the likelihood of the highly anticipated project.

Valued at $1 billion, Leander Springs is a 78-acre mixed-use project—located at the southwest corner of RM 2243 and 183A—that features a 4-acre crystal lagoon directly at its center and will offer restaurant, retail, entertainment, hospitality, residential and office elements.

As stated in a 2020 development agreement with the city, Leander Springs LLC was required to complete construction on 35,000 square feet of commercial property as well as the lagoon portion by December 2023.

Because that deadline was not met, developers and city officials are now back at the drawing board to re-evaluate the project’s future.

A closer look

The city of Leander is allowing the developers to submit an amended proposal in order to continue with the project. However, as of Feb. 22, an amended project proposal has yet to go before council.

“Legally, on paper, [the development agreement] is expired,” Leander Mayor Christine DeLisle said. “We can’t do anything until they file some kind of update.”

If submitted, the amended proposal would still need to go to a public hearing before it can be approved.

Even then, DeLisle said she’s not sure the same project that came before council in 2020 would be approved again today.

“We are a different city than we were the first time they came around ... council priorities, city priorities have changed,” she said. “It just remains to be seen if they want to update the project and continue on in parameters that make sense for where Leander is now.”

The developers, however, are still invested in the project and are working with the city to reach an agreement.

Andrey Derevianko—CEO of iLand Development Group, the company behind Leander Springs—said the reason the initial development deadline was not met was primarily due to permitting delays during the height of the pandemic.

“Ultimately, we couldn’t start construction because we didn’t have permits,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”

In a statement provided by the city, DeLisle said, “city staff completed each of the developer’s reviews in a timely manner."

Another detail

From the beginning, Leander leaders have been concerned about the crystal lagoon’s water usage.

DeLisle said the city’s vigilance has increased over the years, and the initial decisions regarding the project were done at a time when officials didn’t realize “that water was so precious.”

The lagoon’s primary water source was and still is a private well, Derevianko said. He said the well is already installed on the site and has been readied for use.

In their own words

“The project is not necessarily ‘over,’ but we are just at a crossroads right now,” DeLisle said. “We’ll see what, if anything, the Leander Springs team is able to bring back to the city.”

Despite continued negotiations, the developers have confirmed the project is still happening in Leander.

“Leander is where we want to be. There’s been so much invested here, [and] we want to continue,” said John West, chief operations officer of iLand Development Group.

The takeaway

Discussions and meetings between Leander Springs LLC and the city are ongoing, officials said.

Derevianko said there is no specific timeline for construction because it is contingent on the permitting process. As far as the amended proposal, he said it depends on how fast Leander Springs LLC and the city can reach an agreement.