Commercial development in Liberty Hill remains constant
By Rachel Madison
Commercial development projects are carrying on across Liberty Hill, with several reaching completion and others just getting started, like the Stonewall Crossing project that broke ground earlier this month.
Stonewall Crossing is located on the corner of State Hwy 29 and Stonewall Parkway, at the entrance of the Stonewall Ranch subdivision. Rockspring acquired 16 acres of land there for a mixed-use development in 2019.
“We immediately recognized the potential Liberty Hill had to offer when researching the area a few years back, given its explosive growth and underserved retail services. For us, it was a no-brainer,” said Michael Ross, president of Rockspring. “We utilized every aspect of Rockspring’s services to get our vision off the ground, and our hard work is now paying off with nationally-recognized businesses quickly populating the property.”
Ross said Rockspring is targeting fast-casual restaurants to diversify Liberty Hill’s dining scene. Rockspring is currently under contract with at least four national quick service restaurants—two of which will be on the east side of Stonewall Parkway and two will be on the west side, adjacent to Circle K and Auto Zone. A car service chain has also signed on to build behind Auto Zone.
“Additionally, we broke ground mid-July on an 11,000-square-foot retail center to serve the local community and support the exponential population growth Liberty Hill has already been experiencing over the past decade,” Ross said.
No businesses for the retail center have been announced yet.
Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) opened its 6,400-square-foot Liberty Hill location in June. The clinic is staffed by family medicine physician Dr. Krupaben Patel, who provides care to both children and adults. Pediatrics will be added in early fall.
This clinic is ARC’s 31st location in Central Texas. It has 18 exam rooms, same-day appointments, nursing services through the night, as well as flu shots and well-check exams. An onsite lab and radiology are also available the clinic.
“ARC Liberty Hill is meeting the increasing demand for medical services located close to home and work,” said Angela Crain, clinic manager for ARC Liberty Hill. “We’ve looked forward to being in Liberty Hill and are excited to now offer residents in and around the community access to quality primary care in their neighborhood.”
Vista at 29, about a mile west of Ronald Reagan Boulevard on the south side of Highway 29, is nearing completion on its first two buildings. The tenants will include a mix of medical, restaurants, a UPS store, a liquor store, professional office users, and a coffee shop. In addition, the new Tex-Mix location will be at the Vista at 29 business park and will be the company’s primary sales and dispatch office. When Vista at 29 is complete, it will include six different buildings and several pad sites.
“Vista at 29 is going to be a transformative center,” said Matt Powell, economic development director for the City of Liberty Hill. “It’s going to be half retail and half offices. It’s in the city limits and will provide a new eastern hub for employment and retail. We have an active EDC project with a prospective tenant in there, that I’m feeling very positive about. In addition, Tex-Mix will be opening up there.”
Powell added that the sales tax Tex-Mix will generate for the City is “extremely substantial” once their location opens toward the end of 2021.
“In terms of what it’ll generate [in sales tax], I’ve had colleagues tell me this is a once in a career type of deal,” he said. “We were competing against other cities, and without the incentive package, they would have not selected Liberty Hill. Financially for the City, this will create a tremendous amount of revenue.”
Anderson Price, of Hawkins Family Partners, said half of the new strip center behind Liberty Meadows Plaza at 12705 Hwy. 29 West, has been leased to PT Solutions, a physical therapy company. The other half of the building is still available for lease.
Price added that Happy Wok, currently at 13750 Hwy. 29 West, is working on the finish out of its new location at the Water Tower Plaza, where Texas Taco Kitchen and The UPS Store are located. Once Happy Wok relocates, an Asian-style seafood restaurant will be opening in its former location, Price said. Cricket Wireless recently opened a storefront in the same strip center as Happy Wok and Subway, where Texas Pawn & Jewelry used to be located before it moved to its own standalone building.
Another new business, V.I.P. Nails & Spa, is opening in the Water Tower Plaza, between Grand Donuts and Blinded by the Light.
Farm to Fork, which was originally set to open in early July, is still waiting for its final inspection from the Williamson County Health Department before it can open.
Panther Plaza, on the corner of County Road 200 and Highway 29, still has just one tenant, Security State Bank and Trust, which opened in June.
Behind A-line Auto Parts, at 12700 W. State Hwy. 29, a new strip center is being constructed by Star Developers, LLC. There will be six units, each coming in at approximately 1,900 square feet. The property is slated for a mixed use of retail and office.
At Heritage Ridge, located along eastbound State Hwy. 29 in front of Liberty Hill Middle School, construction on the exterior of Starbucks is complete and interior work has begun. Starbucks will be the primary client at that development, which is expected to offer seven to eight lots for food service and retail.
“The developers are actively marketing that site,” Powell said. “There are no other recruits I know of at the moment, but well-known anchors like Starbucks create excitement. I assume the next thing won’t be too far behind.”
Jardin Plaza, located next door to Mexican restaurant Jardin Corona at 15395 W. SH 29, is nearing completion and will consist of six units ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet each.
Golf Cart King will be relocating its facility from Austin to Liberty Hill and will be located just north of the QuikTrip convenience store at State Hwy. 29 and County Road 214. Powell said the company is currently going through its site plan process and plans to break ground in August. The facility is set to open in 2022.
“Golf Cart King will be opening with 23 jobs, and I suspect it’ll offer more jobs soon after,” Powell said. “It’s a facility and company that Liberty Hill can be proud of.”
Construction on HEB continues at the intersection of State Highway 29 and Ronald Reagan Boulevard at the new Bar W Marketplace. The 102,000-square-foot store is expected to open in fall 2021.
At The Shops at San Gabriel Ridge, capacity is at 100 percent with many of the new businesses now open or set to open soon. The new businesses in that center include RDA Salon Centric, Acclaimed Title, PT Solutions and Liberty Mail Center.
Construction on a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store, located at the northeast corner of Independence Drive and West State Highway 29, began in March and is set to be completed within the next couple of months. The size of the store will be approximately 7,400 square feet and it will have 35 parking spaces.
Powell said the commercial development sector of Liberty Hill will remain active as he, the EDC Board and city officials work to bring more businesses to town. One project he’s working on is bringing a grocery store to the city.
“We are working with three different grocery developers, but none of them have made concrete decisions on where they are going,” he said. “Bringing some sort of grocery presence is a top priority, and we continue to make regular outreach.”
Powell also said a family entertainment project is in the early stages for Liberty Hill, and he is hopeful that will come to fruition.
“I don’t want to raise any expectations before it’s necessary,” he said. “But people are keenly aware that in our ETJ we have in the neighborhood of 40,000 people with competitive educations and incomes. Retailers are looking for that. We don’t dictate market forces, but what we can do is actively recruit businesses that will raise the quality of life and create primary jobs for Liberty Hill.”
Powell added that the EDC plans to commission a couple of major studies in the next fiscal year that will assist the City in making good long-term business decisions for the community.
“My board wants to arm the city with data,” he said. “It will help all of us make great decisions on the back of that information. Right now is really a turning point for the EDC to take a more proactive role in making the best possible decisions, and giving good advice and data so everyone in our existing governance can also make the best decisions.”