Huge retail and mixed­use project in store for far southwest Austin

Jan Buchholz | Senior Staff Writer
Source: Austin Business Journal

A huge mixed­use development is planned on U.S. Highway 290 in far Southwest Austin adjacent to the Belterra master­planned community.

The proposed 275,000­square­foot retail, office and residential project will be a collaboration of Crescent Communities and Endeavor Real Estate Group.

“We’ve designed these 90 acres to be a destination where Belterra residents as well as Dripping Springs and surrounding area residents can get the most out of a dynamic and multifaceted lifestyle, while still having a place outdoors to relax or run errands,” said Tommy Tucker, residential vice president for Crescent Communities in Central Texas.

Charlotte, North Carolina­based Crescent Communities developed Belterra was named Austin’s best master­planned community by the Austin Business Journal in its 2015 Residential Real Estate Awards. Crescent also is building a master planned community in Leander.

The proposed development is near Nutty Brown Road and Belterra Drive not far from Dripping Springs. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

Austin-­based Endeavor has built numerous commercial developments in Austin, including The Domain in North Austin and Southpark Meadows in South Austin. Both of those projects have large retail components.

“This area is currently lacking many services and with its explosive growth, there exists a real opportunity to create an impactful project,” said Daniel Campbell, principal of Endeavor.

The proposed development will include a variety of uses — retail, medical office, high density residential and hotel space. Currently, the southwest submarket has the lowest commercial real estate vacancy rates in the metro area, particularly in terms of retail and restaurant offerings.

The development may also include senior housing and entertainment venues.

Recently, it was confirmed that the popular Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre, which features live music and is located across the street from the proposed development, might be facing an unexpected challenge.

The longtime landlord of the site at 12225 W. Highway 290 sold the property to HEB Grocery Co.

“We have purchased the Nutty Brown property as part of our long term strategy for growth options along the 290 corridor,” said Lesley Sweet, a spokeswoman for HEB. “We have no plans to develop the property at this time. We won’t be reviewing this property for store potential for several years down the road.”

In an interview May 14 with KVUE­TV, Nutty Brown co­owner Mike Farr said he isn’t feeling any pressure from the giant grocery chain.

“They reached out to me they made sure that I understood that I was welcome to stay and operate as long as I wanted,” Farr told KVUE.

A couple of Austin retail brokers who did not want to be identified said they heard the proposed Belterra project might provide an opportunity for Nutty Brown Cafe to move there in the event that HEB decided to build a grocery store. ABJ was unable to confirm that information, however, at this time.