Bass Pro Shops coming to Round Rock

The city of Round Rock has hooked its next big-box retailer.

The city announced Aug. 16 that it plans to finalize an incentive agreement with outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops to build a 104,000-square-foot Outdoor World retail and entertainment location. The new store is expected to be open by 2015 and will be located adjacent to the Round Rock Premium Outlets near the intersection of I-35 and University Avenue.

Plans for the store include an Uncle Buck's Fishbowl and Grill restaurant and bowling alley, a boat showroom and numerous aquarium and animal exhibits. The Round Rock location will represent the seventh Bass Pro Shops location in Texas and the first in the Austin region.

"We are excited to announce our seventh store in Texas at this premier site and for the opportunity to be a part of this great community," Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said.

According to the incentive agreement, which City Council could approve Aug. 22, Bass Pro Shops has agreed to invest $20,000,000 in the facility and hire at least 175 full- and part-time employees. In exchange for building the store in Round Rock, the city has offered Bass Pro Shops a rebate on sales taxes equaling 1 percent of its total sales. The rebates will last for 10 years or until the total reaches $4 million. The city has also agreed to invest $500,000 in infrastructure improvements to the roads and utilities surrounding the store.

"We are thrilled to bring another destination retailer to Round Rock," Mayor Alan McGraw said. "Bass Pro Shops is an internationally recognized brand that will draw outdoor enthusiasts from across the region and state to shop in our community."

The addition of Bass Pro Shops is the latest in a series of new developments to the University Avenue corridor in North Round Rock. In addition to IKEA and the Round Rock Premium Outlets, a new 120,000-square-foot H-E-B and the first In-N-Out Burgers are expected to open in the area before the end of 2013.

"Round Rock has always been a destination retail hub, and Bass Pro just adds to that," said Ben White, vice president of economic development for the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership. "With IKEA and REI, the outlet mall and the In-N-Out burger that is coming in, Bass Pro just adds to that strong retail corridor."

White said the deal with Bass Pro Shops has been in the works for more than a year. The company formally agreed to commit to building in the city in May at a conference in Las Vegas.

Bass Pro Shops was founded in 1971 in Springfield, Mo. The company presently includes 77 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada. The stores specialize in selling hunting, fishing and outdoor equipment. The company also produces its own line of fishing boats and has expanded its operations to include resorts and restaurants.