Council rezones for retail at Ronald Reagan Blvd., Hwy. 29

The proposed Bar W Ranch project could bring big-box retail and restaurants to about 50 acres located southeast of the intersection of Ronald Reagan Boulevard and SH 29.

The proposed Bar W Ranch project could bring big-box retail and restaurants to about 50 acres located southeast of the intersection of Ronald Reagan Boulevard and SH 29.

On Dec. 17, Leander City Council approved a concept plan and rezoning for a proposed retail center located southeast of the intersection of Ronald Reagan Boulevard and Hwy. 29.

The project, called Bar W Ranch, could bring big-box retailers, restaurants, a car wash and a gas station to the 50 undeveloped acres at the intersection. Council’s vote requires the developer, RR 29 Retail, to file a final development application with the city by April 30, 2017.

Tenants have not yet been announced for the project and no site plans have been drawn, said Milo Burdette, vice president of Barshop & Oles, a development partner for the project.

“We didn’t want to buy [the property] until we knew we could get it zoned,” Burdette said.

However, attorney David Armbrust, speaking for the developers, said the project would be top-tier.

“They’re proposing to develop this site as a high-quality destination retail center,” he said.

Barshop & Oles is the developer behind several other shopping centers in Central Texas, including University Commons in Round Rock and Lakeline Market in northwest Austin. Many of the developer’s other shopping centers include retail locations for Bed Bath & Beyond, H-E-B, Stein Mart, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s as well as restaurants such as Freebirds World Burrito.

Assistant City Manager Tom Yantis told council the development would fill the city’s stated goal to have a large retail center built at an intersection that is significant to Leander and the region.

“You may not think of it now, but it really is a major gateway into Leander,” Yantis said.

Council approved zoning for a planned unit development at the Leander site, based on the city’s general commercial zoning. A planned unit development means that a developer must adhere to certain cohesive building standards, such as keeping a single architectural theme.

However, the council’s vote allowed for some exceptions, such as classifying a fuel station and a carwash as “primary buildings” as well as allowing taller pylon signs for businesses.