(214) 450-9850 [email protected]

 

by Justin Sayers – Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal

 

Developers are making progress on Northline, a 115-acre mixed-use project in Leander framed as a new downtown-like destination in the fast-growing suburb. Construction on infrastructure continues while the team fields demand for commercial space in the first buildings, scheduled to open late next year.

Those were some of the updates given this month by Northline Leander Development Company, the property owner and developer of the public-private project. The firm is seeking an additional $14.5 million from the city of Leander for the first phase of the project, which broke ground last March on the public infrastructure portion of the development, including streets, electricity, water and civic spaces.

The city’s funding for the project comes in the form of a reimbursement after the project was approved in 2018 as part of the city’s tax increment reinvestment zone.

Alex Tynberg, principal of Tynberg LLC, which is affiliated with Northline Leander Development Co., on June 4 gave a presentation at a joint-meeting of the Leander Development Authority and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone boards.

A recording of the meeting was not available online, but Tynberg said afterward the board members asked for more information before taking a formal vote on the additional funding. He said that he is compiling information to send the boards before a July meeting.

“This is a big project for Leander and for Williamson County. There’s a lot of complexity to it. There were some questions that some of the board members wanted to ask as it related to the request,” he said. “The meeting was very positive. We had a really good discourse.”

 

Northline exemplifies the trend toward dense, mixed-use development in Austin’s suburbs, as the area continues to swell in population. The latest updates are a reminder that huge projects are also being affected by rising costs in this booming metro.

The project plans to bring 700,000 square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of hotel space, 2,000 apartments, 300 townhomes and civic spaces to the city. It is located south of San Gabriel Parkway between U.S. Highway 183 and the 183A toll road, less than a mile from the northernmost stop of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority train line.

Austin-based general contractor DeNucci Constructors LLC broke ground on the project in March 2020 and has been working on the public infrastructure. Despite starting right before business shutdowns caused by the pandemic, crews were able to continue outdoor work on the project with only limited deterrents.

Tynberg said the first buildings are scheduled to open 12-15 months after starting vertical construction later this year, putting them on track to open in late 2022 or early 2023. Work will start on the Town Square — a civic space at the heart of the project — in about six months, and that’s expected to take a year. The rest of the construction will be done in phases and will be completed by 2031.

Although it’s still early in the construction process, Tynberg said the development team has been flooded with potential tenants in the residential developments and that there has been a lot of interest in the commercial side.

The company announced its first anchor tenant in The Hub, a Florida-based entertainment, food and drink venue, back in October. It will offer an indoor-outdoor space where neighbors and visitors can gather to eat, drink, shop, listen to music or watch a movie or sporting event.

Tynberg said there should be more announcements soon. Lincoln Property Company is handling the commercial development and office space leasing. Transwestern is handling the medical office leasing. Weitzman is doing the retail leasing. Slate Real Estate Partners is handling the multifamily development and Novak Brothers is handling the townhome development.

“We’re sort of coming out of Covid with our commercial window in a much-stronger position,” he said. “We had to wait a certain period of time to get through the process but really the lights have switched on in a very favorable manner over the past couple months. We now have multiple retail anchors that we’re in the process of finalizing.”

He is asking the city for an additional $14.5 million to fund the first phase of the project — only for infrastructure that is owned by the city. That would bring the total TIRZ funding to $27 million, and the total public funding to $42 million as the city previously approved up to a $15 million bond for city improvements.

Tynberg explained that increase from the original agreement — passed by the boards and City Council three years ago — came in four areas. Those were soft costs, such as additional consulting; hard costs, to adjust for inflation and a nationwide price increase on building materials; increased enhancements and additional scope, as they’ve added to the project, including a second water quality ponds and buildings in town square.

“It’s a significant distinction between a very conceptual point in time to we’re building out roughly half of this phase if not more at this point and we now know clearly where we’re headed with pricing and cost,” he said.

The Northline project is one of a number of massive mixed-use projects pegged for the northern suburbs of the Austin metro. That includes the $200 million mixed-use development in Round Rock called The District. There is also a $1 billion plan to build 1,600 residential units, a hotel and more than 1 million square feet of commercial space on 80 acres at the southwest corner of FM 2243 and the 183A toll road in Leander. That community will include a manmade, crystal-clear lagoon. In Cedar Park, the $350 million Bell District is expected to have hundreds of residential units and big spaces for businesses.

Leander is among the fastest-growing cities in the Austin metro — and the country. It reached an estimated population of 68,583 in 2019. That was up 12% from the year prior, the fastest growth in the United States among cities with at least 50,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That has prompted the need for the mixed-use development, Tynberg said, with the location for Northline chosen due its proximity to the metro station and freeways, as well as its location between an Austin Community College campus to the south and a St. David’s HealthCare clinic to the north, which is set to eventually become a full-sized hospital.

That will allow them to bring in a host of different demographics, with multifamily options for students, townhomes for empty nesters and outdoor spaces for families. The retail space will be a draw for all, he said.

Tynberg said the project will be a “game-changer” for Williamson County.

“There is a tremendous opportunity for the city to have a vibrant, urban downtown, particularly given the location,” Tynberg said. “All of the metrics and opportunity is there for a really incredible downtown town center development. … This project is really going to bring the life the vision the city leaders have had for the last decade.”

How To Get Started

l

Sign Up

The first step to invest with us is to fill out our Interest Form. We’ll connect and discuss your goals, then we’ll find the best investments to help you meet these goals.

Invest and Enjoy

After you invest you can just sit back, relax, and receive quarterly cash flow payments from your passive investments.

Sairam Kota

Sairam is an experienced multifamily deal sponsor and asset manager for 738 units, a key principal in 332 units and limited partner in 1000 units. He has a strong experience in asset management, property reposition, income generation, implementing operational efficiencies and cost reduction. Sairam is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the state of Texas. He is a successful IT Consultant with 20+ years of experience in corporate America.