WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS - When Hutto city officials purchased a 25-acre plot of land near Downtown in 2004, City Manager Odis Jones said the plan all along has been to make it an entertainment district.
Now that plan is becoming a reality.
Thursday, City Council members approved a developer to begin planning.
"We’ll have restaurants, bars, shops, an electric environment," said Jones.
Jones told KVUE the 25-acre plot of land could also include a movie theater, restaurants and even living spaces such as apartments. It will be called the "Co-Op District."
He said they want it to be a place where people can live, work and play.
"We’re excited about the environment it creates here," said Jones.
According to city officials, the average resident is 33-years-old, with an average household income of $90,000.
Jones said it’s a lot of young families, who tell them they want the city to “encourage an economic development project.”
Jones said the city will invest $5 million into infrastructure such as new roads and a new storm sewer system. They plan to get back about $44 million in revenue over the next 10 years.
"Part of our strategic plan is we want to use investment of public infrastructure as a means of encouraging economic development,” said Jones.
The developer, MA Partners of Austin, has also committed $100 million into the project, according to Jones.
Jones said the project will generate new real estate and sales tax revenue, as well as enhance the quality of life for people who live in Hutto.
"It's one thing if you live here and you work in Austin, and you get to Downtown Austin in 25 minutes or so, but it's really nice for you to be able to come home and be able to take your kid out for a meal. It's that quality of life aspect that’s important,” said Jones.
"This is the Gin at the Co-op district,” said Kim McAuliffe as she showed KVUE the 6,500 square foot event space in Hutto. “The beams are original, some of the steel up here is also original.”
The Gin is used for weddings, graduations, the farmer’s market and even a block party.
The structure has been around since the 1930s when it was used for a cotton press.
"This has been a huge corner stone of the community for so long, the co-op site itself," said McAuliffe.
But two years ago, the city updated it to a modern event space.
It's one of the first pieces on the 25-acre land, called the Co-op District.
"I think people are interested in what the future of the site is going to bring. I think that there's a lot of curiosity as Hutto is so close to Austin seeing the growth coming from that area. They know that this site is ready for development," said McAuliffe.
The city plans to start construction on the project early next year.
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