Commercial real estate’s local scene continues to grow

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By Rachel Madison

Whether you’re driving down Highway 29 or Highway 183, it’s not hard to notice the commercial growth. From retail shopping centers that are under construction to existing spaces that have been remodeled for office and professional use, the amount of square footage available in Liberty Hill and north Leander continues to grow.

Highway 29 Office Park, which was formerly the Liberty Hill Independent School District’s offices, is a 10,000-square-foot building that has been completely renovated inside and out. It was purchased by private, local investor Youngquist Investments earlier this year.

“It was purchased by a private investor who owns a ranch in Liberty Hill and spends a lot of time personally invested in the community,” said Ryan Perry, broker and vice president at leasing agent Asterra. “He and his family bought it for the purpose of remodeling it and leasing it out. They’ve done all the renovating and now we’re leasing it. It looks really nice now—much nicer than it did before—and it’ll be a great asset to the community.”

Perry said Asterra is leasing the building in sections ranging from 500 to 7,500 square feet. Currently, 1,500 square feet are leased to two different home builders: Goertz and Iselt Construction, LLC and KLM Design Build. No other tenants are lined up at the moment, but Perry said it won’t be long before the building is full.

“My goal is to be half full by the end of this year and completely full by the end of next spring,” he said. “This building has more parking spaces than most office buildings have, so we are able to lease to call centers, medical offices, retail or professional offices.”

Highway 29 Office Park is located at 14001 W. SH 29 in Liberty Hill.

Panther Plaza, located at the northeast corner of SH 29 and County Road 200, is expected to be finished in about a month, said Kim Nordquelle, commercial adviser for leasing agent Retail Solutions.

“There are just a few more things to do finishing up the parking lot and a little left of the roofing and the brick work,” she said. “We are looking for salons, dry cleaners, food users, dental and ortho—things of that nature to add to the ever-growing Liberty Hill. My feeling is that the right tenants to go in there would be businesses that would be easy for folks living in those developments behind the project to be able to swing by easily on their way home from work or school.”

Panther Plaza did not have any pre-signed tenants, but Nordquelle said the center is receiving a lot of attention from potential tenants now that the project is almost done.

“We are close to signing a lease with a nail salon, but I can’t say much more than that,” she said. “The timing for that is in about three to four months from now.”

The building has options from 1,200-square-foot spaces to 10,000-square-foot spaces.

“Because we haven’t divided it up yet, it’ll depend on the tenants and how much space they need,” Nordquelle said. “This center has some great visibility because it sits up on a hill, so it won’t take long to fill it up. It also helps that Bill Miller Bar-B-Q recently bought the site across [SH 29] from the plaza.”

Another new center along SH 29, the Water Tower Center, consists of two different strip centers. The first contains four units at 1,500-square-feet each and the second contains six units at 1,725-square-feet each. There are also plans to eventually add an additional 4,900-square-foot building in a future phase.

Grand Donuts was the first tenant to open up shop in the center’s first building, but a couple more tenants are coming, including a Mexican taco restaurant and a therapy group, said Monique Rivera, broker with Asterra.

Water Tower Center is located at 14125 W. SH 29 in Liberty Hill.

The most recent strip center to break ground in Liberty Hill is Jardin Plaza, located next door to Jardin Corona at 15395 W. SH 29.

Francisco Puebla, co-owner of developer JLB Real Estate and manager of Jardin Corona, said the building will consist of six units total. Four will be 1,500 square feet and two will be 2,000 square feet. Construction on the building began about four months ago, and Puebla expects it to be completed in about three months.

As of now, Puebla doesn’t have anything under contract with any tenants, but he is actively looking for some to fill the space. He said office and retail tenants are mainly what he is looking for.

Heading south into Leander on Highway 183 are The Shops at San Gabriel Ridge. Developer Dwain Schuh opened the first business there in January, Furniture Market, which he also owns. Since then, several other tenants have joined the ranks at the center, including Gums and Smiles Family Dental, Salon Suites and Spa, Sabino’s Pizza Pub and Frontier Bank of Texas. In addition, a new coffee shop, Perky Beans, is set to open any day.

“I have 12,000 square feet still available, which would be good for about another five or six tenants,” said Schuh. “I think a brewery or comfort food type restaurant would be a good fit out here. I’d also like to see maybe a real estate office or title company move in, or a dance studio, a nail salon or a learning center. This center is in a good location, and I believe it’ll mature in about three years.”

Schuh said ultimately, the growth in Liberty Hill won’t be slowing down anytime soon, which is why commercial development is such a hot commodity.

“This is happening right now,” he said. “We aren’t thinking about or hoping for it to happen—it’s happening.”

Heading north on Highway 183 toward Liberty Hill is another center that’s nearing completion, called 183 Highlands Retail Center.

Tawney Stedman, broker with Capella, said the development will be mixed-use. Upon completion, it will include a 10,000-square-foot retail center, commercial pad sites and an office park.

“We just completed the retail building last week,” she said. “We’re still finishing up landscaping and the driveway into the center, but we’re ready for the tenants. We’re talking back and forth with a few tenants, but I can’t say anything until we have something signed.”

About two weeks ago, Stedman closed on a pad site for Trillium Montessori, a childcare center that will be licensed for up to 100 infant, toddler and preschool age children. They plan to open the location in January 2021. In addition, a 7,000-square-foot pad site was also sold to Paws Landing, a luxury dog daycare, groomer and indoor dog park. They are anticipated to open in late 2020.

The development will also include a 31,000-square-foot office park with office condos from 800 square feet available. Phase one of that project will be completed at the end of November. In addition, another commercial pad site is available in the development, which Stedman said would be ideal for a retail center, a bank with a drive-thru or a drive-thru restaurant.

“We feel like this particular site closes the gap because it’s accessible from Liberty Hill, Leander and Georgetown,” Stedman said. “All the building is going north up 183, so it’s just an ideal spot. It will diminish the drive time to Cedar Park and the southern part of Leander where all the amenities are right now.”

183 Highlands Retail Center is located at 1633 N. US 183 in Leander.

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