With growth comes plan for a "downtown" for Lakeway

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and Photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 19 at 8:07 PM

LAKEWAY, Texas -- Lakeway has big plans for a new downtown. The City's been talking about this for a few years, and they hope sometime in 2014, construction will begin on an HEB, a theater, housing and retail stores as part of their very own downtown.

The scenic views are one of the many reasons people move to Lakeway.

"It's a nice sight ya know," said Tom Slattery.

Slattery moved to the city in 1994. Tucked away behind Ranch Road 620, he's surrounded by wildflowers, animals, and even a pond where he can fish.

"Out here my closest neighbor is 100 yards away," he explained.

Just next to his home is a field of undeveloped land that could soon be home to Lakeway's new downtown.

"I knew it was about time," Slattery said. "Everything has to be picked up and cleared out."

Slattery said he knew it would happen sometime.

"Traffic gets gridlocked sometimes. That's a surprise to see," he said, pointing to RR 620. "When I came over 20 years ago, there were just a couple gas stations and convenience stores out here."

"We're excited about it. We think it will be a good development," said Lakeway Mayor Dave DeOme.

Mayor DeOme said Lakeway used to be a resort community for retirees and vacation homes, but the demographics have changed.

"Now you have a much more significant blend of retirees as well as younger families. In fact, I think the median age is somewhere around 39 to 40, which is clearly not what it was in the 70s," he explained.

The $50 million downtown project would sit near Glenn Heather Road, just off of RR 620.

The City says traffic with the new center is inevitable, so they already have plans to expand Glenn Heather Road from RR 620 to Lohman's Crossing, with a traffic light on either end.

"Anyone who lives in the hills, anybody who lives in Lakeway back down in Rough Hollow area, can come up Lakeway Blvd., Lohman's Crossing, and they can come up Glenn Heather and get into this area. They never have to go on 620," Mayor DeOme said.

The developer, Stratus Properties, is designing a "walk-able" downtown. Mayor DeOme said there will be plenty of walkways for pedestrians with bike and golf cart access. He hopes the center will give Lakeway an identity like so many other towns.

"Now it's time. I'm not happy about it, but I'm glad I got to be here as long as I did," Slattery said.

He's looking for a new place, but he'll enjoy his peace and quiet while it lasts.

Mayor DeOme said right now the city's sales tax revenue sits at around 20 percent, and they hope the retail shops will increase that number. They also have long-term plans to put in a new police station and convention center on the lot.

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