Liberty Hill sets sights on downtown revitalization

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Jul 27th, 2023

City to buy Main Street building for development, seek partners.

A fast-growing city on the edge of the Austin metro is looking to spur downtown revitalization.

During multiple meetings in the past month, officials from the Liberty Hill City Council and Liberty Hill Economic Development Corp. approved plans for a “Project Redo” — revealed July 25 to be the purchase of 1.5 acres near the intersection of Main Street, formerly known as Loop 332, and Myrtle Lane, directly behind Veterans Memorial Park.

The site includes a metal structure that used to be the home of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The deal is expected to close Sept. 29; price and details of the transaction are expected to be released upon closing. The property is owned by Dallas-based LH 38 LLC and was assessed for tax purposes at $837,400 this year, according to property records.

It’s not known what will become of the site but Liberty Hill is leaving its options open so that it can spearhead the transformation itself or bring on a company to handle the project.

“The City of Liberty Hill Council and staff, the LHEDC and the City’s Downtown Revitalization Committee believe that to have control of this parcel to develop ourselves, or to use as an incentive to entice outside developers is the stake in the ground we need to further jumpstart downtown development,” LHEDC President Tiffany Stillwell said in a statement.

Mary Poche, Liberty Hill’s economic development director, told the Liberty Hill Independent that “quite a bit of money” was committed to the project, but she’s confident the purchase will be a huge advantage for downtown Liberty Hill.

“Everybody (on the EDC and City Council) voted positively for this,” she said, a nod to its unanimous votes. “It’s a vital parcel that’s going to jumpstart the kind of development people want here in Liberty Hill.”

Officials referred to the project as the future “gateway to making a downtown destination” — which will key as Liberty Hill’s growth surges. The city has already seen its population spike from an estimated 967 people in 2010 to 3,651 in 2020 and an estimated 9,000-plus in 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Thousands of homes are planned as families continue to pour in from elsewhere in the Austin area and across the state and country.

The city has placed a priority on its downtown, recently renaming Loop 332 to Main Street while focusing on bringing more amenities to the area. That could soon include whatever ends up planned at the Myrtle Lane site. Stillwell said the community has spoken through comprehensive planning that the “desire is to make downtown a walkable destination with the ability to dine, shop or stroll.”

City Administrator Paul Brandenburg added the plan is to pursue the property “as a catalyst for downtown redevelopment and much needed retail, dining, and entertainment opportunities for the community.”

“This project will entail a public/private partnership that allows the City to control and shape the destiny of Downtown as a vibrant core that will become a destination for everyone,” he said.

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