Industrial, commercial and mixed-use developments along the SH 130 toll road are transforming cities such as Pflugerville, Hutto and Round Rock into thriving communities where residents can live and work without having to commute to Austin.

In recent years, companies such as Tesla and Samsung Austin Semiconductor have announced or opened operations in Central Texas. While industrial manufacturing has taken off, other industries—from life sciences to information technology—have also moved in.

Much of the growth, industry experts say, is due to access provided by SH 130.

A closer look

The creation of SH 130 has galvanized the various industries now in the area, as it’s given companies easy access to bring goods to other communities along the corridor. Amy Madison, executive director of Pflugerville Community and Development Corp., said the toll road has attracted technology and manufacturing jobs to Pflugerville.

While the road does not run directly through Round Rock, companies like Link Logistics—developer of industrial park Round Rock 45—utilize the city’s proximity to other highways such as SH 45 that connect to SH 130.

“Prominent companies are strategically choosing the Round Rock area for their operations since it is close to SH 130,” said Brian Strohl, senior vice president of Link Logistics’ Central Region Development.
How we got here

According to Madison, growth along the SH 130 corridor began in Pflugerville.

“The corridor was totally empty,” Madison said. “The very first projects came out of the ground in Pflugerville. The very first hotel, conference center, data center [along SH 130]—everything started here. We continue to grow as part of it, and then it grew beyond us into other communities.”

Madison said that as other neighboring communities began to grow, they helped bring in the necessary infrastructure to connect the “ribbon of highway.”

“You’ve got to have roads [and] utilities to do anything,” Madison said. “... That’s what SH 130 brought for all of us, the entire region.”

Put in perspective

Tesla and Samsung in particular have drawn tenants to SH 130, said Leigh Ellis, a principal with Austin-based real estate firm Aquila Commercial. The corridor’s vicinity to roadways like RM 1431, which has an eastern terminus off I-35 in Round Rock, provides further connectivity to communities such as Cedar Park and Leander.

“It’s very strategic to get to that northwest side that has never really been set up for industrial,” Ellis said.

One of the largest appeals to the area, Round Rock Chamber President and CEO Jordan Robinson said, is the connection SH 130 provides to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

“Having quick access to an international airport is extremely important for many of these businesses to make sure they can get around, especially as there are global companies that are growing and moving here,” she said.

The growing road network also improves labor pools and the overall quality of life, added Bryan Baynton of Titan Development, an area developer of projects such as Hutto’s MegaTech Center and Innovation Business Park.

In their own words

“The foresight for SH 130 has led to massive economic benefits. As Austin has continued to expand, the corridor has allowed for a viable alternative of growth outside of the north-south pattern along I-35 ... providing further connectivity between the cities along Austin’s perimeter,” said Bryan Baynton, Titan Development senior development manager.

“The growing population in Round Rock is a valuable labor pool for companies moving to the area, making it a key growth market for Austin. ... Such balanced growth is crucial, offering both tenants and the community access to vital amenities,” said Brian Strohl, Link Logistics Central Region Development senior vice president.

The impact

A December 2023 report from economic organization Opportunity Austin showed the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area had the best performing economy among the 50 largest metros in the U.S. in 2022.

The professional services sector had the most impact on the metro’s gross domestic product growth, with hospitality and retail business contributing.

As developers continue to seek space along SH 130, Robinson said Round Rock might be able to annex land along the roadway into its city limits.

“With any major development, there are power and utility needs, so the city of Round Rock has been planning for the future to ensure when that development does come to our community, we are well prepared to service those residents and businesses in the form of utilities,” she said.