Randalls grocery store one step closer to building in Leander

Plans to build a Randalls grocery store in Leander inched forward March 8 when the planning and zoning commission approved rezoning 55 acres to allow for the development.

City leaders previously alluded to the grocery chain's interest in building a store in Leander, but were not authorized to release the name. Bill Hinckley, president of Crystal Falls developer The Lookout Group, said he has worked hard to bring Randalls to Leander.

"Randalls is a giant corporation, and we have been working for years to pull this off," he said.

The property slated for the Randalls, located southwest of the intersection of Lakeline Boulevard and Crystal Falls Parkway, is zoned for single-family dwellings. The Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved rezoning it to various mixed uses, including commercial, local office space and townhomes. The Leander City Council must approve the commission's recommendation to rezone the property before the zoning changes are official.

However, the Planning and Zoning Commission did not approve The Lookout Group's rezoning application as submitted. After hearing from 24 interested parties, including many residents hoping to halt or postpone the rezoning, the commission upgraded all five parcels of land that comprise the 55 acres to the highest possible architectural standard—Type A.

Leander City Planner Robin Griffin said those standards require 85 percent masonry building exteriors and textured architecture features like pillars and windows.

"With Type A, you have to have more design features. We don't want a flat wall, so we're talking windows, columns, porches. I know Randalls probably won't have a porch, but stuff like that on the outside," she said. "It has to be 85 percent—both stories and all four walls—masonry, which requires rock, brick or stone and not hardy plank."

The zoning changes proposed in the Lookout Group's original application requested Type B zoning with the less stringent design standards, but Hinckley said amendments will not negatively affect Randalls' interest in Leander.

"It will go forward," he said. "[The amendments] just sort of took away some of our flexibility, but we probably would have done it anyway."

Many residents whose homesteads abut the development said they were told the surrounding property would be used for single-family developments, not a grocery store. Some asked the commission for more time to discuss plans with Hinckley before rezoning.

"I'm not opposed to the progress or development of parcels up there, but I am opposed to doing harm," resident Jerry Parker said. "I'm not asking you to stop this development, I'm just asking to slow it down and give us all a chance to meet with the developer and revise it in such a way that does no harm."

After hearing from residents, commissioners also eliminated the possibility of an apartment complex on the property and enlarged the green landscaped buffer that separates existing homes from the planned commercial, office and town home parcels.

Hinckley said he is willing to collaborate with residents throughout the upcoming platting and planning process, especially since maintaining high property values is in his best interest.

"This has been the plan all along, and we've told anyone that would listen that this is a mixed-use site. We are not hiding our intentions. We are proud of them," Hinckley said. "My record over the last 16 years has been to enhance property values. Whatever we build, it's going to be first-class."

Leander Economic Development Director Kirk Clennan said the city modestly estimates Randalls will employ about 400 people and pay more than $500,000 in sales taxes per year.

"If this development were in place today, it would contribute 25 percent of the taxes of the city of Leander," Clennan said. "With an estimated employment of 400 people, and an average annual salary of $30,000 a year, that's almost $12 million in payroll coming from one corner of Leander."

By Emilie Lutostanski
Emilie reported on education, business, city and county news starting in 2009. After a stint as a radio reporter and writing for the Temple Daily Telegram, she joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in 2011. In 2013 she was promoted to editor of the Cedar Park | Leander edition, covering transportation, development, city and education news. In February 2015 she advanced her passion for online media and was promoted to manage digital content, metrics analytics, and quality assurance as well as branding and social networks in various inaugural roles at the company, including community manager and digital managing editor. Most recently in 2017, Emilie expanded her responsibilities to include sales support as Community Impact's first digital product manager. She oversees digital product development, enhancement, and monetization strategies; online content innovation, processes and efficiencies; and company-wide training for Community Impact's digital offerings.


MOST RECENT

Free COVID-19 testing is taking place in Leander on Sept. 26. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Free COVID-19 testing taking place in Leander Sept. 26

The testing will take place Sept. 26 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Gov. Greg Abbott on July 27 issued an executive order extending the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Lawsuit takes aim at start date for early voting as some Texas Republicans challenge Gov. Greg Abbott's order

A group of prominent Texas Republicans has embarked on a legal effort to undo the governor's executive order that extended the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election.

A photo of Elong Musk
After filing Travis County site plans, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks to new gigafactory’s place in the company

Tesla has filed the intial site plans for a massive manufacturing plant in southeastern Travis County.

The current rolling seven-day positivity rate, or the rate at which tests return positive, is 4.09%, a slight drop from the Sept. 22 reported rate. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds 18 confirmed cases of coronavirus Sept. 23

The current rolling seven-day positivity rate, or the rate at which tests return positive, is 4.09%, a slight drop from the Sept. 22 reported rate.

Straying from traditionals like cheese and pepperoni, Tony C's serves specialty pies such as eggplant, prosciutto and goat cheese, and the Truffle Shuffle. (Courtesy Tony C's Pizza & Beer Garden)
Restaurant Tony C's to open Sept. 24 in Round Rock and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Capital improvement money can be used for capital projects, facilities maintenance and equipment purchases. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County commissioners allocate $8.85M for capital improvements for fiscal year 2020-21

Capital improvement money can be used for capital projects, facilities maintenance and equipment purchases.

(Graphic illustration by Rachal Russel/Community Impact Newspaper)
From New Braunfels to Cedar Park, Central Texas outdoor recreation shops scrambling to keep inventory

When combined with temporary state restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many local shop owners are speculating a perfect storm of low supply and high demand is the main reason for changes in an industry that has of late been turned on its head.

Early voting runs from Oct. 13-30. Election Day is Nov. 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Find a polling location where you can vote early in Travis County

Voters can cast their ballots at any of the 37 early voting locations from Oct. 13-30.

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County coronavirus positivity rate returns to 4.32%

As of Sept. 22, there are 18 patients hospitalized, seven in intensive care units and six on a ventilator.

The deadline to register to vote in Williamson County is approaching. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here is how to register to vote in Williamson County

Sept. 22 is National Voter Registration Day. Are you registered to vote?

water
Leander lessens water restrictions to Stage 2

The reduced restrictions are a result of lower water usage and lower temperatures since the summer.

Here is what you need to know today about coronavirus in Williamson County. (Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County dashboard adds COVID-19 deaths by city

Between Sept. 19-21, Williamson County added 73 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths to its count.