Proposed $1 billion mixed-use project planned for Leander

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By Rachel Madison

LEANDER — Leander Mayor Troy Hill announced last week the City’s partnership to develop Leander Springs, a 78-acre mixed use project with retail, restaurants, entertainment, hospitality, office, and residential apartments.

“This is the type of project that doesn’t come along very often,” Hill said. “We don’t feel like there’s anything comparable in central Texas. We truly believe at some point in the future when this is up and the Northline development is finished, this will be the place in central Texas where people want to live. It’s an extremely exciting time.”

The proposed $1 billion project will be located at the southwest corner of FM 2243 and US 183A. Leander Springs is a public-private partnership between the City of Leander, the developers of Leander Springs, and Leander Springs LLC, which is under the Austin-based iLand Development Group umbrella.

As part of an economic development agreement with Leander Springs LLC, the City approved up to $22 million in performance-based tax incentives for the project, which promises to construct a 4-acre crystalline lagoon powered by Crystal Lagoons technology and surrounded by 10 acres of boardwalk and related amenities.

The public access lagoon—the first in the nation planned to be open to the general public—will serve as the centerpiece for more than one million square feet of commercial development including a full-service hotel and conference center, according to the City of Leander. In addition, up to 1,600 apartments are proposed for the project, but will be built in phases along with the commercial development.

For example, Leander Springs must have 35,000 square feet of commercial development and the crystalline lagoon completed by Dec. 31, 2023. No more than 400 multi-family residential units may be developed during the first phase.

“From the City’s perspective it’s a no-lose proposition,” Hill said. “It’s all performance based. We have phases for commercial and residential. The lagoon will be the first thing built, and then residential and commercial will come after that… It will be zero [cost to the taxpayer].”

Andrey Derevianko, CFO for Leander Springs, said the plan is to break ground as early as June 2021. The project will be completed in six phases, which will take 12 to 15 years to complete, he added. Developers will first build the infrastructure needed to support the property, like roads and utilities, and then construction on buildings and the crystalline lagoon is planned for 2022.

Crystal Lagoons is a U.S. company that has developed and patented technology that allows crystalline lagoons of unlimited sizes to be built and maintained at low costs. It enables low water consumption and is expected to consume less than 50 percent of the water required to maintain a city park of equivalent size, according to the City.

Derevianko said Leander Springs’ lagoon will be 8 feet deep at its deepest point and will be surrounded by white sand beaches. It will allow for visitors to swim, paddleboard, kayak and more. Well water located on the property will be used to fill the lagoon, and the Crystal Lagoons technology will make the lagoon 50 times more efficient, he added.

The next step for the project will take place when the City’s planning and zoning commission meets Oct. 22 to consider zoning for the development. Leander City Council will then make a final determination on the zoning request on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3.

“For the foreseeable future, customers want to be outside,” Hill said. “This fits exactly what we believe consumers are looking for.”

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