Round Rock proposes more vibrant downtown



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Posted on March 6, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 7:41 PM

ROUND ROCK, Texas - High-end restaurants, retail stores and even downtown living could be coming to Round Rock.

The City of Round Rock is proposing zoning changes for the downtown area. They say with a booming population in Williamson County and businesses looking to build there, changes need to be made to create a thriving downtown.

"When you have a city that's growing like this one is, people need and want something closer to home," said Susan Mendenhall.

Mendenhall opened Krave Wine Bar about one year ago on Main Street.

"This was a huge leap of faith," she said.

A huge leap all the way from Alaska. Ready to move to warmer weather, Mendenhall first looked at opening Krave in Austin but thought she might have more success about 20 miles north.

"Started doing research on this area and saw that it was growing, and the research showed there were a lot of people moving into the area," Mendenhall explained.

One year in, Mendenhall says business is good.

"Friday night we are usually on like an hour, hour and a half wait at times," she said. "We get to full capacity where people are even waiting to sit on the patio on a cold night."

Others are catching on. Just down the street "The Brass Tap" beer pub is under construction and the City says a brick oven pizza place, ice cream shop and some unnamed high-end restaurants are also on the way. With all of the growth and development, the City is looking at a complete downtown overhaul.

The City says the proposed zoning changes will bring them from suburban to urban, allowing for more businesses, more parking options and even higher density housing like lofts and condos in downtown Round Rock.

"That will allow us to put on more festivals and to be a little more pedestrian friendly," City of Round Rock Special Events Coordinator Kristin Brown said.

On Tuesday, the City held an open house for people to take a look at future plans for downtown and provide feedback. The City says the number one fear they heard is that Main Street will become a mini Sixth street.

"I don't think we could ever be any kind of Sixth street," Brown said. "We want a good mix of restaurants and retail, something that makes downtown a destination."

As for Mendenhall, she says as long as local businesses work together they will all be successful in downtown Round Rock.
"I think the more the merrier!"

The City says the proposal will go before the planning and zoning commission in the next month, once finalized the plans will go before the Round Rock City Council.


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