Leander Council reviews proposed marketing for TOD

Leander City Council on May 1 offered feedback for proposed logos and slogans meant to market the transit-oriented development district surrounding the city's Capital Metro train station.

The materials were designed by M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, a marketing firm hired by City Council in December to promote the TOD to developers. In January, Gensler marketing representatives joined City Council, city staffers and developers in a workshop to discuss the marketing angle. In March City Council directed Gensler to move forward with its efforts without specifically naming the TOD.

Leander Development Services Director Tom Yantis said the firm emphasized the phrase "Destination Leander" and the city's public schools, transportation features and growing population. City leaders have said they hope the area can become a new downtown district where visitors can walk to restaurants and shops.

"The tagline they've come up with for it is, 'Connection, convenience, community,'" he said.

One logo resembles railroad signage with a circle and railroad tracks. A different option shows waving prairie grass blended with a railroad pattern. "A Blank Canvas" headlines one of the brochures.

Mayor Chris Fielder and other City Council members said they preferred to avoid a green logo that could easily resemble the city of Cedar Park's marketing. Councilwoman Andrea Navarrette said a dark blue image that matches Leander's existing marketing materials could distinguish the TOD's brand from Cedar Park.

Fielder suggested the TOD logo could integrate the city's rising-star image. A Leander resident recently suggested using "Leander Central," to brand the area, Fielder said. He recommended Gensler integrate the name into the proposed logo designs to see how it looks.

"In the heart of Central Texas, one of the fastest growing regions in the country, sits 2,300 acres of prime real estate surrounding Leander Station, the northern terminus of Austin's MetroRail system," the proposed brochure reads. "What awaits here is the rare opportunity to create not only a true Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) from the ground up, but to shape the identity of an entirely new place with an innovative vision."

Councilman Jason Dishongh said developers might prefer to read shorter lists of features instead of longer paragraphs. He also recommended changing some of the wording in the brochure.

"I get that it's open to development, and that's what they're trying to get to, but I think there could be a better choice of [headline] words besides 'blank,'" Dishongh said.

Councilman David Siebold said the marketing should stress the TOD's uniqueness.

"I think we've gone too far out of the way of not showing what we're trying to market with this," Siebold said. "This is more about the walkability, more of an urban core."

Yantis said he would forward City Council's feedback on the marketing materials to Gensler.

By Stephen Burnett
Stephen Burnett has been a community journalist since 2005. He joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in November 2013. For the cities of Cedar Park, Leander and northwest Austin, he covers city and county government, business, development, events, transportation, utilities and more.


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