DRONE FOOTAGE: Kalahari construction one year in

Kalahari owner Todd Nelson said despite a rainy year, the project is on track for a November 2020 completion.

Kalahari owner Todd Nelson said despite a rainy year, the project is on track for a November 2020 completion.

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.”
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


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