‘Once-in-a-generation’ project north of Austin nearing more milestones

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Sep 25th, 2023

Developers move ahead with site development, subdivision improvement plans

The 118-acre mixed-use Nebraska Furniture Mart project north of Austin appears to be nearing significant milestones as stakeholders work to bring the “once-in-a-generation” project to Cedar Park.

CPM Development LLC — which is affiliated with the Warren Buffet-owned, Omaha-based Nebraska Furniture Mart — last week filed documents with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation that indicates commercial and public improvement construction on the project at 750 E. New Hope Drive could begin early next year with full completion expected in 2026.

The filings indicate there are two tenants lined up: North Dakota-based sporting goods chain Scheel’s and Florida-based PopStroke, a golf and dining concept featuring miniature golf courses designed by Tiger Woods. But, representatives for the developer said the TDLR was inaccurate and they are in the process of correcting it.

“We’re excited to share more details about the development as they are confirmed, which is why we’re only publishing contracted partnerships at this time,” said Andy Shefsky, a spokesman for the company.

A spokeswoman for Scheel’s added the company is not ready to confirm a possible second location of the sporting goods store in Texas. Representatives from PopStroke did not respond to a request for comment.

The project could eventually eclipse 5 million square feet of commercial space in Cedar Park, about 20 miles northwest of Austin. That’s equivalent to roughly five Lakeline Malls. The entire project is expected to generate $435 million in new tax revenue for Cedar Park in its first 25 years of operation.

The development is slated to include a 250-room, full-service hotel; a 30,000-square-foot, city-owned convention center; 250,000 square feet of retail; and 700,000 square feet of warehouse space. It would all be anchored by a separate, 500,000-square-foot Nebraska Furniture Mart.

A spokeswoman for the city of Cedar Park said Sept. 18 they received site development and subdivision improvement plans this week for the project. A plat that was received previously is in the review process.

That comes on the heels of a rezoning approval earlier this year. During those February meetings, Jeff Lind, NFM’s chief strategy and development officer, said they are on track to open in 2026.

“We’re not used to doing these very often,” Lind said, pointing to the company’s last ground-up development in the Dallas area in 2015. “We like to do them really good and really right.”

Back in December 2021, Council approved a development agreement and incentives for the development, codenamed Project Northwest New Hope. The city committed to providing $45 million in performance-based rebates funded by taxes generated by the development, including sales tax, hotel taxes and property taxes.

In return, the company is required to invest $400 million, create 725 jobs in the first year of opening and make all necessary public infrastructure improvements before the project opens, including major road and intersection improvements. Construction was projected to start in 2024.

“This is historic,” Cedar Park Director of Economic Development Ben White said at the time. “This project would generate the greatest economic return in Cedar Park’s history.”

It would be another injection of jobs and commercial space for Cedar Park, which had a population of 77,642 in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates. The city is home to several fast-growing companies, including rocket maker Firefly Aerospace Inc. and electric-vehicle trucking company Hyliion Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: HYLN). Israeli educational technology company Compedia also recently selected the suburb for its North American headquarters.

The migration of people and companies has attracted large-scale lifestyle projects, such as the redevelopment of Bell Boulevard, a 95-acre mixed-use site that recently announced its first phases that could eventually bring nearly 450,000 in industrial and commercial space and the new headquarters of Perfect Game Inc.

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