After standing in line overnight, over 150 Hutto area residents waited for the grand opening of Academy Sports + Outdoors on Nov. 17.

The sports outfitter is one of several businesses to recently move into Hutto, as area developers have been constructing new spaces in an effort to attract potential tenants. The available land, in addition to a growing economy and population, has drawn interest from both regional and national brands.

Two centers along Hwy. 79, TownWest Commons and The Co-Op District, have garnered much of this attention and are expected to serve as retail hubs for the community.

Two-minute impact

Two areas of Hutto have seen growth in retail options and other business in the last couple of years, as developers for Townwest Commons and The Co-Op District—both located off Hwy. 79—have been busy turning dirt and constructing new buildings.

Between the two shopping centers, dozens of businesses are now open and serving residents, with more expected to open in the coming year. Once finished, the centers will offer residents and guests entertainment options, places to dine and stores to shop.

NewQuest Properties has made deals to bring national retailers and venues, such as Academy, Lowe’s and EVO Entertainment, into the Townwest Commons center. Meanwhile, MA Partners has focused on creating a walkable mixed-use development. MA Partners Vice President Bob Wunsch said the group wanted to bring in “Austin-iconic” businesses, such as Top Notch Hamburgers and Jack Allen’s Kitchen.

“We are trying to essentially build villages within villages ... so that everything is pretty much walkable,” said Ashley Bailey, Hutto Development Services Department director.

What it means

Hutto’s growing business landscape impacts the city in more ways than one, officials say.

With large retailers coming into the area, along with the addition of Samsung’s $17 billion semiconductor plant going up in Taylor, more job opportunities are expected to open up.

City documents indicate build-out and occupancy of Townwest Commons is expected to generate $40 million in taxable revenue and 200 jobs.

Heather Hopwood Mack, who has lived in Hutto since 2014, said residents now have shorter drives to get to the services they need. However, it has also increased traffic around Hwy. 79—something officials have their eyes on as more guests from out of town make their way to Hutto.

Cheney Gamboa, director of the Hutto Economic Development Corporation, said the impact on traffic flow is something the organization is mindful of as it tries to attract new companies into the area.

“We’re moving past a self-sustaining process, and we’re able to bring people over and have them spend their time and their money here, too, and the city benefits from that,” Gamboa said.
Why it’s special

After news broke of Samsung’s new location just outside the east edge of Hutto, the city has seen an explosion of growth in recent years, both commercial and residential.

“We just waited until there were enough rooftops, enough mouths to feed there to build,” said Jay Sears, a managing partner for the Townwest Commons development, in reference to the final building phase of the NewQuest retail center.

As the chip manufacturer provided a catalyst for development in the area, the city of Hutto jumped at the opportunity, making the governing entity readily available to accommodate new businesses.

Through the efforts of Hutto’s Economic Development Corporation, the city has been able to provide incentives for retail growth and streamline permitting processes for these businesses to open more quickly.

City officials helped fast-track the opening of Academy, meeting weekly to resolve roadblocks and push the project forward, Sears said.

Hutto is also a prime location for new business, Top Notch owner Kelly Chappell said.

“Geographically, it makes a lot of sense for my business. It is basically the border of Taylor, Pflugerville, Round Rock and Georgetown,” Chappell said.

Retailers and developers point to several reasons why Hutto is an attractive city for new business, including:
  • Population increase: Expected to reach 50,000 by 2025, 10,000 new rooftops by 2025
  • Median income: $107,000
  • Economic grants: $4M agreement with NewQuest
  • Tax incentives: $5M sales tax incentive agreement with NewQuest
  • Proximity to Samsung: $13.6B investment in 2022 to the local economy
  • Samsung job creation: 4,500 direct employees, 4,600 construction workers
What they’re saying

“I think it starts back to when Samsung announced their factory, but I've just seen that the demand and the number of calls that I received [for available property] have escalated tremendously in the last couple of years,” said Josh Friedlaner, NewQuest Properties senior vice president.

“I think Hutto just grew faster than what anybody had anticipated. So we’ve gotta play catch-up, but I don’t think we should stop,” said Heather Hopwood Mack, Hutto resident.

Stay tuned

The Hutto Economic Development Corporation works closely with developers to create the appropriate incentives for specific areas, ultimately bringing in the types of businesses sought by the community, Gamboa said. Meanwhile, Townwest Commons brokers have been negotiating a lease with Petco, a national pet supply store. They also said there is potential for a national bank, a pizzeria and two dessert places. EVO Entertainment is expected to open in summer 2024. Construction of Chuy’s is expected to wrap up sometime in 2024. Townwest Commons has four retail spaces still available for lease.

Construction of a new six-story parking garage is underway in The Co-Op, with an office building anticipated. Original plans for the area indicate multifamily housing; however, no new plans have been released for any residential projects.