Hutto officials spent years working toward an announcement that took only a few minutes but changed the landscape forever in the city of 25,000 people, according to Tim Chase, Hutto Economic Development Corp. president.
A new business and industrial park will be built beginning this year on the city’s northwest side, on land known as the Schneider property, which comprises 72 acres on the east side of Innovation Boulevard south of Limmer Loop. It is part of the city of Hutto’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, or ETJ, and will be soon annexed.
The eastern boundary of the property is the Emory Farms subdivision, and the southern access will be via an extension of Emory Farms Avenue.
The announcement came April 13 that Hutto Innovation Business Park will include spec space of approximately 100,000 square feet initially, with six buildings and 800,000-1 million square feet of space for the first phase.
The total build-out with a second phase should increase the project to 2.5 million square feet. The goal is to have 15 occupied buildings by the end of the project, Hutto City Manager Odis Jones said.
“We’ve committed to building the infrastructure,” Jones said. “The city had $3 million already in the budget and will add $2 million to get this going.”
Partners in the deal include landowners Chris and Clay Schneider and Veronica Bolander, the city, the HEDC and Titan Innovation Business Park LLC. Jones said he has worked with leaders of Titan in past projects at former jobs, but not the company.
Titan, the builder of nearly 50 projects of this type in New Mexico, Texas and Florida, will construct a 100,000-square-foot building simultaneously with infrastructure improvements. The agreement between Titan and the city calls for a total of six buildings. The project timeline for the six buildings is 15 years, and the developer’s capital investment is estimated at
“What impressed us the most in working with the municipality of Hutto was its foresight and ability to create their own economic development through creating a business park like this,” Titan board Chairman Kevin Reed said. “We’ve done economic development around the country, but it’s rare to find a public-private partnership that can see into the future and control their own destiny. This will benefit the future of Hutto.”
Titan is a multifaceted, large-scale developer with manufacturing and warehouse projects in Schertz, New Braunfels and Selma, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Titan will work with the HEDC to add tenants.
“Hutto is an ideal location for a business park of this size,” Titan Director of Development Darin Manning said. “The connectivity to the Austin marketplace is ideal for business; the air traffic space, rail system and highway locations are key to economic development and growth not only for the city, but for the business that decide to call Hutto home.”
John Darby, Hutto Area Chamber of Commerce president, said this deal is a new beginning for the city.
“Today the partnerships come to fruition and will be splashed across the newspapers,” Darby said. “This [project]generates more opportunity. We are excited in the business community.”
The city’s commitment
Jones said this project brings Hutto into a new marketplace with the appropriate space to compete for new businesses and diversifies the city’s economy by allowing for a variety of industries.
“I want to focus on incubating local businesses and contractors,” Jones said. “Hutto is becoming a pro-business town, and it’s important for the community to know that we are not only focused on bringing new businesses in. We want to help our own businesses grow and flourish right here in Hutto.”
The $5 million city contribution to the infrastructure and capital improvements of the project will go toward rights of way acquisitions; construction of public roads, including the westward extension of Emory Farms Avenue; and development of New Technology Boulevard north and south, utilities, regional drainage and a landscaped buffer of the property from the roads.
Part of a partnership
Mayor Doug Gaul said Jones’ economic development experience won him the job late last year.
“When council first hired the city manager, they wanted someone with experience growing economies,” Gaul said. “And we believe it is development like this that will bring the needed growth to Hutto to begin stabilizing the economy.”
Jones thanked the partners involved, including Hutto ISD, the HEDC, the chamber and Williamson County Emergency Services District No. 3.
Williamson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Larry Madsen said during the announcement he has known the Schneider family perhaps longer than anyone in the room.
“It’s just exciting to see a team come together like this,” Madsen said. “Let’s keep these partnerships going.”
Jones said he is working with the Commissioners Court to have a ramp built from SH 130 to Limmer to ease future transportation issues in north Hutto. Jones also acknowledged Hutto City Council Member Lucio Valdez’s concerns from constituents about traffic issues in the Emory Farms area.
Once the project is built out and occupied, Jones said it will bring millions in tax revenue to the city, a diversification he said will lift the heavy tax burden currently felt by residents. Jones said the project will attract new jobs and help decrease the tax burden on residents.
“I believe in this project,” Jones said.
As does Chase, who said this project enables companies to come to Hutto.
“It gives them options we have never been able to offer,” Chase said. “It’s an exciting day in Hutto.”
The first building could bring as many as 400 jobs, and the city’s return on investment after 15 years is approximately $40 million.
Just up Innovation is the East Williamson County Higher Education Center. Edgar Padilla, Texas State Technical College provost, said the college is proud to contribute to the economic development of Texas by training highly skilled workers in a number of disciplines.
“TSTC maintains a proud and close relationship with the city of Hutto and the Hutto Economic Development Corp. and is eager to participate in its recruitment of primary employers and developers who can potentially bring quality employment opportunities and growth to the city of Hutto,” Padilla said.
City statistics show the HEDC has received 110 inquiries in the past 18 months, with 62 of those requests for build-to-suit totaling 11 million square feet of space and 48 inquiries for existing buildings totaling 2.5 million square feet of space.
“This changes the game,” Jones said. “Now we can compete.”