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

H&LA’s recent research for a project in Austin and Round Rock, Texas, revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have a major impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in the Austin and Round Rock areas in 2021 and beyond. On-going pandemic concerns may alter timelines for some of these projects.

  • In November 2020, Wisconsin-based Kalahari Resorts opened a new $350 million indoor waterpark resort near the Dell Diamond ballpark in Round Rock. This large-scale resort features a 223,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, a convention center, multiple restaurants, and 975 guestrooms. The Kalahari Resorts Texas property is now the largest indoor waterpark resort in the nation.
  • A new dedicated soccer stadium is now under construction on the north end of Austin. This 20,500-seat facility will be the home field of the Austin FC of Major League Soccer beginning in 2021. This project represents a total investment of about $240 million, and the team has agreed to a 20-year lease. The stadium will sit alongside the Capital MetroRail Red Line, and a new $13 million commuter rail station is scheduled to open next to the stadium in 2021.
  • A massive mixed-use development has been proposed for a site adjacent to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) motor racing complex, near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Initial plans call for a hotel with conference space and an indoor waterpark, which would be the first step in a larger move to create new indoor and outdoor sports facilities at COTA, along with condominiums, retail, and a private motorsports club. While construction on the hotel is expected to begin in summer 2021, no timeline for the other elements of this project had been announced as of our research date.
  • 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 NLand Surf Park in southeast Austin closed permanently in November 2018. First opened in October 2016, this large man-made surfing attraction offered surfing lessons, open surfing, a surf shop, and a restaurant and craft brewery. The property has since been purchased by the World Surf League, the governing body for professional surfers. While the group has expressed interest in reopening the surf park, no official timeline for this project has been announced as of our research date.
  • Perfect Game, a baseball scouting organization, is moving forward with plans to relocate its headquarters to a new $800 million mixed-use development in Hutto, just east of Round Rock. This project will create a 300,000-square-foot arena with seating for 13,000 spectators, along with office space and retail, commercial, and residential components. Plans call for 24 turf baseball fields, with additional space for multipurpose sports fields and other recreational uses. Assuming it moves forward as planned, the Perfect Game complex has the potential to become a major demand generator, attracting amateur and youth athletes and their families to the area for tournaments, clinics, and other events. As of our research date, it remains unclear when this project will be completed.
  • A new 164-acre development called Wolf Lakes Village is planned in Georgetown, north of Round Rock. Located at the corner of Interstate 35 and State Route 29, this project is expected to bring over five million square feet of total development, including office space, hotels, residences, retail, and entertainment outlets over the next several years. Wolf Lakes Village will have a European village theme and will feature arched bridges, an amphitheater, and a wedding chapel. Groundbreaking on this project is expected to occur in mid-2021.
  • The City of Cedar Park recently approved plans for a $1.5 billion mixed-use development called Indigo Ridge that will include a new headquarters for the United States Tennis Association Texas (USTA Texas). In all, the Indigo Ridge project will create more than five million square feet of commercial and residential development, including restaurants, hotels, apartments, and offices. USTA Texas will occupy a five-story sports development center at Indigo Ridge, with about four dozen indoor and outdoor tennis courts, and it is anticipated to draw high-level athletes and their families from throughout the state. The Indigo Ridge development will be completed in phases over the next few years.
  • In October 2020, plans for a $1 billion mixed-used development were announced 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.
  • Apple Inc. is moving forward with a major expansion of its operations on the north side of Austin. Slated for completion in 2022, this addition will add about 5,000 new jobs initially, with the capacity to grow employment to as many as 15,000 jobs. Other major companies responsible for bringing hundreds of new jobs to the area over the past two years include Amazon, BAE Systems, Tata Consultancy Services, and Flex Health.
  • Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is planning to open a new Tesla Gigafactory on a site in east Austin in mid-2021, creating about 5,000 new jobs. This $1 billion investment has fueled speculation that the company may eventually relocate its corporate headquarters to Austin; however, no official announcement has been made at this time.