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.


Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter. (Courtesy Adobe Stock Images)
President Joe Biden's inauguration spurs reactions from elected officials around Texas

As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, elected officials from around Texas took to Twitter.

In addition to vaccine hubs, there are also smaller community vaccine providers throughout Texas, such as pharmacies, that may also have the vaccine available. (Eva Vigh/Community Impact Newspaper)
EXPLAINED: When, where and how Texans can receive the COVID-19 vaccine

As Texas is still in the early stages of rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, many Texans are still unsure about where, when and how they can get inoculated.

Feeding Texas hosted a Jan. 19 webinar to discuss legislative highlights for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Screenshot courtesy Feeding Texas)
Food insecurity in Texas' 87th Legislature: Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas to propose legislation addressing hunger

Hunger relief organization Feeding Texas hosted a webinar Jan. 19 to discuss increasing funding and accessibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the 87th legislative session.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

H-E-B is preparing to accept coronavirus vaccine appointments through an online portal. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B launches vaccine portal; Whipped Bakery opens in Leander and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar shared a new revenue estimate for the 2022-23 biennium Jan. 11. (Courtesy Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts)
Comptroller projects drop in state revenue, potential for economic uptick for next biennium

Despite the slight reduction in expected revenue for the state's 2022-23 budget, recovery could be on the horizon.

See how COVID-19 is impacting Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds more than 900 new cases Jan. 9-11

See how COVID-19 is impacting Williamson County.

After every decennial census, states and local jurisdictions must go through a process known as redistricting: redrawing the boundaries for representation. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
More congressional seats, equal populations: What redistricting means for Texas in 2021

Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Jeff Archer, executive director of the Texas Legislative Council, in January about the redistricting process that will be carried out by the Texas Legislature this year.

The acquisition of the Texas franchise by Peak Rock Capital was completed in early January. (Courtesy Shipley Do-Nuts)
Shipley Do-Nuts acquired by Austin-based private investment firm affiliate

The Texas franchise known for kolaches and doughnuts has been in business for more than 80 years.