DRONE FOOTAGE: Kalahari construction one year in


One year after breaking ground on Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, the project is on schedule for a November 2020 opening date.

“The progress is incredible,” Kalahari owner Todd Nelson said. “I’m so proud of our guys.”

Plans for the resort—located at Kenney Fort Boulevard and Hwy. 79 in Round Rock—include 1,000 hotel rooms, a 200,000-square-foot convention center and the largest indoor water park in the country.

Since the project started last May, the site has weathered 158 million gallons of rainfall, according to Kalahari staff.

“The biggest challenge has been the weather,” Nelson said. “But our general contractor has kept us on schedule. They’ve fought through it all.”

Austin-based Hensel Phelps is the general contractor on the project. An average of 700 construction workers are on-site per day, Nelson said. This number is expected to increase to 1,300 over the summer.

To date, more than 600,000 hours of construction work have been invested into the project, according to Kalahari staff. More than 400,000 cubic yards of dirt have been moved—enough to fill 123 Olympic sized swimming pools. Over 47,000 cubic yards of concrete has been placed—enough to fill 35 Boeing 747 airplanes.

Round Rock’s Kalahari is the company’s fourth resort, and its first in Texas.

“This is the largest project we have ever done,” Nelson said. “The old saying, ‘everything’s bigger in Texas?’ It’s true.”

The resort will include six full service restaurants: Double Cut Charcoal Grill, Mondo Sortino’s Italian Kitchen, 5 Niños Tex-Mex restaurant, B-Lux Grill & Bar, Great Karoo Marketplace Buffet and Marrakesh Market Eatery. A piano lounge, coffee shop, spa and salon and other on-site attractions are also in the works.

Kalahari’s Round Rock location will feature Tom Foolery’s Adventure Park, which includes 80,000 square feet of thrill rides, a ropes course, climbing walls, an indoor zip line, bowling, laser tag and more than 250 arcade games.

“Everything here will be the nicest we have,” Nelson said. “We try to get better every time we build a new one.”

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  1. You have to drive by this place to really appreciate its immense size. I hate to imagine the continuous marketing effort that will be required to keep 1,000 hotel rooms mostly occupied, as well as that water park and all that convention space busy. I wonder where in the world they got the idea that there was that volume of business available in Round Rock? I could be wrong, but I suspect it will take them a few years to grow into all of this space. I wish them luck!

  2. I’m not an expert but it is my understanding that hotels rooms don’t need to be at full capacity to be profitable,
    plus isn’t Round Rock the Sports Capital of Texas?
    Ive seen busloads of sports teams around that area , hope they do well, they hire lots of locals and thrive, City will receive lots of sales tax revenue

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Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Jackson Buchanan is the editor for the Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition of Community Impact Newspaper. She has a bachelor's and master's degree from The University of Texas.
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