H&LA Development Update: Austin/Round Rock, Texas

H&LA’s recent research for project near Austin and Round Rock, Texas revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Austin and the surrounding areas in 2022 and beyond. On-going pandemic concerns may alter timelines for some of these projects.

  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw its busiest year ever in 2019, with more than 8.5 million passenger enplanements. This marked an increase of more than 790,000 over 2018 and over 2.5 million since 2015. To accommodate the surge in passengers, the airport opened nine new gates in February 2019 as part of a $350 million terminal expansion designed to handle the continued passenger volume growth anticipated over the next two decades. While air traffic dropped significantly through 2020 and much of 2021, the airport is now well-positioned to accommodate high levels of post-pandemic travel.
  • A major mixed-use development called Velocity is planned for a 314-acre site east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. This project represents seven million square feet of total development, including over 2,600 apartments, 2.9 million square feet of office space, 585,000 square feet of flex industrial space, and 310,000 square feet of retail and entertainment uses, all surrounding a seven-acre central park. This major development will be completed in phases over the next few years.
  • In November 2021, global tech company Samsung announced plans for a new $17 billion semiconductor plant in Taylor, Texas, northeast of Austin. The company is planning to build a six-million-square-foot facility on more than 1,000 acres of land near US Route 79 and County Road 401. Construction on this massive facility is expected to begin in mid-2022 and be finished by the first half of 2024. Supported by a generous package of tax incentives and $27 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, the new Samsung plant will employ more than 2,000 workers once it is open and fully operational, and it is expected to greatly benefit hotels, restaurants, and other service-oriented businesses in the area.
  • In 2019, Apple Inc. broke ground on a new $1 billion office campus in north Austin, near its existing corporate hub. Construction on this massive project is now nearly completed, and it is expected to open in 2022. The new Apple campus will add about 5,000 new jobs to the company’s current workforce in the area.
  • Electric car manufacturer Tesla Inc. is moving forward with plans to build a $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in the Austin area. Work is now underway on what will eventually be a four- to five-million-square-foot facility on the east side of Austin, east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and north of the Circuit of the Americas. Expected to take shape over the next few years, this massive facility will bring upwards of 5,000 new jobs to the area. In October 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would move its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Austin.
  • In November 2020, the new Kalahari Resorts Texas opened near the Dell Diamond ballpark in Round Rock, north of Austin. This $350 million resort now offers over 900 guestrooms and a 223,000-square foot indoor waterpark, as well as a large convention center and multiple restaurants. This major tourism asset is expected to spur additional commercial development in Round Rock over the next several years.
  • In December 2021, the Cedar Park City Council approved plans for a new 30,000-square-foot convention center, full-service hotel, and a 500,000-square-foot Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) home furnishings store that will be one of the largest developments in the city’s history. Located near the US 183 tollway north of Austin, this project represents an investment of at least $400 million, and it is projected to generate about $450 million in annual sales and create upwards of 700 new jobs. Construction on this project is anticipated to begin in 2024, and the NFM store is slated to open in 2025.
  • Austin-based Inspire Development recently broke ground on the first phase of a 156-acre mixed-use development in northwest Austin called Pearson Ranch. This $2 billion project will include 2.6 million square feet of new office space; 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurants; two hotels; 30 acres of park land; and thousands of high-end residences. Located at State Route 45 and West Parmer Lane, this major project will be completed in phases over the next 10 to 15 years.
  • In February 2021, plans for a $1 billion mixed-used development were officially approved for a 78-acre site in Leander, north of Austin, that is set to include a hotel, conference center, commercial space, and up to 1,600 multi-family housing units. Dubbed Leander Springs, this project will also include a four-acre manmade lagoon created by Crystal Lagoons U.S. Corp., the first of its kind in Central Texas. Construction on this project is expected to begin within the next two years. Once completed, the Crystal Lagoon and accompanying boardwalk will be available on a general admission basis, with discounts for Leander Springs residents.
  • A $500 million mixed-use development has been taking shape along Waller Creek in downtown Austin over the past few years. This project – which has been compared to New York City’s Central Park and the San Antonio Riverwalk – is set to include green space, walking paths, residential buildings, restaurants, retail shops, and hotels. The new $15 million Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park, one of the first major elements, opened in 2019.
  • The new Austin Football Club (Austin FC), part of the Western Conference of Major League Soccer, played its first season in the city in 2021. The team plays its home games at the newly constructed Q2 Stadium in north-central Austin, which seats about 20,500 spectators. In addition to MLS league play, this soccer-specific stadium will also be used periodically for U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer events.