Garrett grew up in Northwest Austin and thought the growing area had been overlooked by local media in terms of coverage. Georgetown was the fourth market for Community Impact Newspaper, which began in September 2005 in Round Rock and Pflugerville. One hundred issues later, we look back at some of the topics from this edition’s first year and how they have evolved.
Mayor Dale Ross (center) helps break ground on the Sheraton Hotel at The Summit at Rivery Park during a Feb. 19 ceremony.[/caption]
The Summit at Rivery Park
At a June 2007 City Council workshop, Ledgestone, then the developers of The Summit at Rivery Park, presented plans to develop the business-entertainment center on the approximately 32-acre site between Williams Drive and Rivery Boulevard.
The proposed development was expected to included a conference center, hotel and Class A office space as well as high-end restaurants.
After the economic downturn, developer Jeff Novak and his brother Jack took over the project.
The Novaks kept the plans for the hotel and conference center and added 114 single-family townhomes as well as more than 220 multifamily units. The development will also include retail and restaurant space.
In 2012, Novak Brothers broke ground on the townhome development known as The Brownstones at The Summit, and in November 2012, Jeff Novak announced an agreement with hotel developer Hines to build a four-star Sheraton Hotel.
Construction on the Rivery Park Apartment Homes began in April 2014. The apartments hosted a grand opening move-in day April 1, 2015.
A tax increment reinvestment zone, or TIRZ, covering the development was created in partnership with the city and Williamson County and will reinvest revenue generated by the project to help fund a parking garage as well as improvements in Rivery Park, public roads and utility infrastructure, according to the news release.
On Feb. 19, Novak Brothers and Hines broke ground on the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center.
The hotel is expected to open in 2016 and will be operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The project will also include a multilevel parking garage.
“This is a game-changing project,” Mayor Dale Ross said at the ground-breaking event Feb. 19. “A lot of people behind the scenes made this happen. It’s a great day to be in Georgetown.”
Jane Neill began her career with Molecular Templates as an intern in January 2013 and now works for the company full-time at TLCC.[/caption]
Texas Life-sciences Collaboration Center
The Texas Life-sciences Collaboration Center launched in 2007 to further scientific research, create jobs and diversify the city’s tax base.
In 2011, TLCC signed an agreement with Austin Community College to provide internships and other opportunities for ACC staff and students, and in June 2013 the center broke ground on its second 15,000-square-foot building, which opened in 2015.
The center was also awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in 2014 to expand recruitment to foreign companies.
In February, ACC and TLCC announced they had received a $4.9 million grant to fund wet lab and teaching space at TLCC. Through the grant, TLCC will also be able to provide additional internship opportunities.
This fall, ACC students began using the facilities during their biotechnology classes, and the center is being used to provide training for Georgetown ISD teachers.
Ron Swain, who had previously served as a senior adviser to the president at Southwestern University, joined the center’s staff in April as director of education.
The historic Light and Waterworks Building could be redeveloped as part of Downtown West.[/caption]
For years city officials have considered relocating and consolidating city offices currently spread throughout downtown and other parts of the city into a centralized area. The plan was first mentioned in the 2003 Downtown Master Plan and again in the 2013 update.
In 2010 a plan to use the former Albertsons building at Williams Drive and Austin Avenue as City Hall was presented but never came to fruition.
In 2014, Winter & Co., which worked with the city to develop the 2003 and 2013 plans, developed plans to create a civic center, known as Downtown West, near the Georgetown Public Library.
City Council approved a contract with Lawrence Group Architects in June for architecture and engineering services for the civic center plan.
If approved the plan could redevelop the former library building, Georgetown Communication and Technology building and historic Light and Waterworks Building for city offices, Georgetown Assistant City Manager Laurie Brewer said.
At a Sept. 22 City Council workshop the council heard the results of several months of planning and public meetings.
Traffic and parking studies will be presented to City Council on Nov. 24 schematic design plans could be completed in early 2016 with construction plans ready this summer.
In 2009 the city of Georgetown completed a pilot program with a single fixed-route bus.[/caption]
Proposed fixed-route bus system
In 2008 the results of a transit system feasibility study were adopted by City Council; however, a transit plan was not included in the city’s budget at the time.
Over the years, the city has completed additional planning, and in November 2008 a pilot program began and was completed in February 2009.
The first phase of the pilot program included one bus route.
On Feb. 7, 2009, City Council voted to not continue the Sun City route or begin the second phase of the pilot program.
In 2012 the city was labeled as part of the Austin urbanized area by the U.S. Census Bureau. The label changed the way the city receives federal transit dollars.
The city signed an agreement with Capital Metro—the Austin urbanized area designated recipient of federal transit funding—in 2014 to complete a Transit Development Plan Study that could outline how to implement a possible fixed-route bus system.
This summer City Council was presented with the results of the study, which outlined four proposed routes as well as a future special events route.
During an Oct. 27 City Council workshop, city and Capital Metro staff members presented options for implementing the plan’s routes, including phasing the plan to introduce new routes over time as well as the cost for implementing the plan.
City Council is expected to consider adopting the plan at a later date.