North Lakeline Boulevard expansion helps bring new business to Leander

Some Leander residents may find services and stores closer to home after The Shops at Crystal Falls shopping center opens in the fall at the southeast corner of Crystal Falls Parkway and the newly expanded North Lakeline Boulevard.

The shopping center sits on about 5 acres and includes two buildings. Property broker Evan Dyer with developer Hunington Properties Inc. said the corner's main strip center will include Crystal Falls Vision Center, Jack Brown Cleaners, The UPS Store, On Q Day Spa, On the Rocks Wine & Spirits, Crystal Lake Dental, and Freedom Orthodontics. Two spaces are vacant; Dyer said he hopes at least one restaurant will join the plaza.

Completion of the 19,240-square-foot strip center was postponed because rain delayed landscape work, and in early August, Hunington obtained its certificate of occupancy for the suites, Dyer said. In an adjacent standalone building, Driver's Edge Auto Repair opened in early July.

"You've got higher-end homes [in Crystal Falls] than what would be traditional in Leander," he said. "We want to bring a higher level of service to Leander in that area."

The developer also owns a 3.4-acre site northeast of the Crystal Falls and Lakeline intersection. Dyer said several businesses have expressed interest in that property that is zoned for general retail, which can include restaurants or shops. Dyer said the developer may build another shopping center on the site.

Hunington is also planning shopping centers on Parmer Lane in Austin and on Greenlawn Boulevard in Round Rock. The Shops at Crystal Falls is the developer's first project in Leander, Dyer said.

Dyer said Hunington bought the two Leander properties in spring 2012 after Randalls announced its interest in building a store southwest of the new intersection. The new grocery store is expected to open in time for holiday shopping in 2015.

The store will include at least 59,000 square feet and anchor a shopping center of buildings that total about 23,000 more square feet, according to a development agreement signed by Randalls and the city of Leander on Sept. 27, 2012.

According to the agreement, Randalls must open the shopping center within two years of the completion of Lakeline Boulevard's extension to the Mason Hills subdivision. That portion of North Lakeline Boulevard—funded by Williamson County and homebuilder KB Home—opened in February.

The Lakeline extension to Old FM 2243 will be completed by December. The new road and Randalls should encourage more traffic on the west side of Leander, Leander City Manager Kent Cagle said.

"Randalls will be submitting [construction] plans in the next two or three months," Cagle said.

On July 17, Leander City Council approved Randalls' request to transfer the property development agreement to the retailer's site developer, Property Development Centers LLC. That means Randalls is preparing to start construction soon, Leander Mayor Chris Fielder said.

"It's something we've been waiting on for a long time," Fielder said.

Cagle said Randalls and other new shops will be convenient for nearby residents.

"It's going to be a great amenity for those neighborhoods in that area [whose residents] have been traveling a pretty good distance for those services," Cagle said. "But since we're predominantly residential, we definitely welcome high-end commercial development."