More development coming to RM 620: Hotel, housing, retail, offices, dealership

Proposed developments along RM 620 between RM 2222/Bullick Hollow and Anderson Mill Road. Google Maps.

Hyatt Place, Ash Creek Homes, Volvo set sights on Four Points area

By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News

The heart of Four Points along RM 620 will be changing significantly in the months ahead as new development comes in. A new Hyatt Place hotel is under construction next to CVS, and new homes and retail space are scheduled to be built close by. Additionally, a new Volvo dealership is slated to go in a few miles away at RM 620 North and Buckner Road.

Development plans are underway on three tracts of land along RM 620 between CVS pharmacy and Home Depot. The 95-room Hyatt Place hotel is under construction at 7300 N. RM 620 on a 6.6-acre tract. A retail and office complex is proposed for the 27-acre tract between the Hyatt site and Vista Parke Drive. Ash Creek Homes is to develop a residential and commercial project at 11601 Vista Parke Dr. on a 7-acre tract.

The three tracts are within a parcel owned by GDF Realty Investments and the Fred Purcell Estate, said James George, an attorney and partner in GDF Realty.

According to the Travis County Appraisal District, the 27-acre parcel is valued at just under $5 million and the Ash Creek parcel is valued at $2.1 million for 2018.

The proposed Volvo dealership is slated for at least a portion of a another 27-acre tract further north at 11900 Buckner Road/10600 RM 620, said Robert Stokes, who owned the land for more than 50 years and sold it about a year ago.

Ash Creek residential/commercial project

Scott Morledge, local developer and founder of Ash Creek Homes, selected the western Travis County region — between RM 2222 and Anderson Mill — for his next project. He described Four Points as “right in the middle of where everything is going on and where people want to be.”

Morledge is in the process of planning a development at 11601-½ Vista Parke Drive, at RM 620, on the eastern side of RM 2222. He said his company put the approximately 7-acre tract under contract recently and is currently in the feasibility phase of the acquisition process. The site is being studied to determine what type of building the tract can accommodate and its capacity for water and wastewater,

Morledge said of the process which should conclude by the end of the year. After the feasibility phase is complete, he said his staff will begin planning for the actual development that may include both a residential and commercial component.

Morledge said he looked to the Four Points area for his new project because “there’s pretty much no vacancy anymore” within the city of Austin.

“Almost every land tract that can be built on has been built on,” he said of the city limits. “That’s why, in the midst of Austin, what you’re mainly seeing now is people are acquiring parcels and knocking something down to build the next generation project there. In terms of new land parcels that have yet to be developed, this is the next concentric ring coming out of Austin that still has some availability of vacant land parcels.”

Although Morledge could not comment on the type of residential component the project would include until after the feasibility study is complete, he said Ash Creek does not create large-scale, multifamily rental properties.

“Our model has always been that we build a ‘for sale’ product which usually is always going to be a lower density than a true multifamily development,” he said. “Our history, as a developer, is we build almost exclusively detached, single family residences. If the economics of the development will work that way, that is our preferred route. If the economics require we include a commercial component or some slightly higher density, then that’s the bridge we cross when we get to it.”

The project fronts Vista Parke and will have two driveways on this street, Morledge said of the tract. A tree survey has already been completed and Morledge said he will use the survey “as a tool to begin to design around.”

To date, the property’s feasibility study results have been favorable for the project, he said. Additionally, Morledge said he will probably not be required to produce a traffic impact analysis because the possible plans for the tract are “low intensity.”

“If somebody was going to go in and contemplate a large office complex, they would have to do a traffic impact analysis,” he said. “But that is not required until you hit a certain number of minimum vehicles, trips per day. Our type of development never reaches that level.”

Morledge said he plans to work with neighboring residents and “other development-sensitive groups” to discuss the project once the feasibility study is complete.

Retail, offices planned

The majority of the 27-acre tract fronts RM 620, with a smaller portion on Vista Parke. The sale of the tract will close in phases, with the first closing scheduled for the end of this year, GDF Realty’s George said. The buyers of the tract are from Florida and plan to construct a retail/office complex, he said, adding that he assumes the entrance and exit will be on RM 620.

This shopping center and commercial complex is to be constructed next door to Ash Creek’s project, Morledge said. He added that his complex is about a quarter of the size in terms of land area, “and our thoughts and plans are nothing like that (27-acre tract project).”

Hyatt Place hotel

The five-story Hyatt Place Four Points hotel, including 95 rooms, swimming pool, gym, mini bar and 2,500-square-feet of meeting space, said Navid Karedia, partner in Spades Hospitality, the company that owns the project. The hotel entrance is set for RM 620, within a driveway to be shared by CVS Pharmacy, he said.

The project, slated to be complete September 2019, includes a parking lot with 105 spaces and a walking trail encircling the property Karedia said.

“We just saw that there was good corporate business and a good visitor market being near Lake Travis,” he said of the decision to build a hotel in Four Points.

Karedia cited Concordia University Texas’ presence down the street as well as the other Class A office buildings in the area as additional factors for choosing the RM 620/RM 2222 site.

“So it just seemed like a lot of growth is coming to the area along with a lot of mixed-use development,” he said. “We felt like it was a good area to get a nice Hyatt hotel in the market.”

Karedia said he owns and operates five other hotels in Houston but Hyatt Place Four Points is his first venture in Austin.

Volvo dealership in the works

A new Volvo dealership is proposed for 10600 N. RM 620 and 11900 Buckner Road at RM 620, said Stokes, who sold the 27-acre parcel at the corner of RM 620 and Buckner Road about a year ago.

The project is currently under review by the city’s planning staff, said Sylvia Arzola, City of Austin Development Services Department’s public information and marketing manager.

The project is proposed to include one driveway off RM 620 and one driveway off Buckner, said William Taylor, the applicant for the project.

Stokes is retaining his homestead on the Buckner Road address. He said he has lived in the house for five decades and, until recently, even raised livestock on the property. In his 80s, Stokes said he decided to sell the tract following a stroke four years ago.

“I was the only livestock raiser in this part for a long time,” he said. “Raising livestock in the middle of Austin is not recommended. I’ve lived here for 50 years (and my home) used to be way out in the country.”

Stokes said he did not know the scope of the Volvo project, which may include test drive routes for vehicles.

Four Points News made numerous attempts to contact the purchaser of the property but did not receive a response as of press time.

A Hyatt Place hotel is under construction on RM 620 at Bullick Hollow Road/RM 2222 intersection next to CVS Pharmacy. LESLEE BASSMAN