August 28, 2022

 

 

A conceptual look at a commercial and multi-family development  planned for the intersection of Williams Drive and Rivery Boulevard. Rendering by Partners Development Company

 

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The outline of a site plan for the proposed Williams Drive development. Rendering by Partners Development Company

G’town approves rezone request for Williams Drive mixed-use project

By BRIGID COOLEY 

The development firm that purchased old McCoy Elementary School last year received rezoning approval from Georgetown City Council Tuesday that would allow a high-end mixed-use development including both commercial and multi-family units at the intersection of Williams Drive and Rivery Boulevard. 

During its Tuesday meeting, city council unanimously approved rezoning two tracts of land from residential single-family to a Planned Unit Development to make way for the project. The PUD will include both general commercial and high-density multi-family zoning.

“This is an exciting project as this particular part is the gateway into the rest of the Williams Drive area,” Planning Director Sofia Nelson said. “[The land] was really looked at as a catalytic site as part of the Williams Drive master planning project. We’re excited to be working with the developer and excited to be presenting you with this particular project.” 

The project is being pursued by Partners Development Company, a Texas-based company with offices in Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Developers have been working in conjunction with city staff for over a year on the project. 

Located at 1313 Williams Drive, the land being rezoned was previously home to the old McCoy Elementary School and was owned by Georgetown ISD, Ms. Nelson explained. In December, the firm announced it had paid $4.5 million for the former school site, which included a 12.7-acre and a 2-acre parcel. 

Both properties back up to some single-family residences, as well as some two-family residences, Ms. Nelson said. The land is included in the Williams Drive Gateway Plan, which encompasses 558 acres of neighborhoods and commercial development along Williams Drive between San Gabriel Park and Lakeway Drive. 

The gateway plan, Ms. Nelson said, targets the area for urban-mixed use, which is deemed appropriate for development including townhomes, apartments, retail and restaurants.

A presentation outlining preliminary plans for the project was given by Julie Ward, senior vice president of development for Partners Development Company. 

“We appreciate the fact that we are given the opportunity to create new development and be a catalyst for your gateway plan throughout the community,” Ms. Ward said. “We also want to create a destination place where people enjoy going, hanging out and spending some time.” 

Once complete, the project will include high-density multi-family housing, commercial spaces, a plaza-style greenspace and a parking garage, Ms. Ward said. Developers are working to preserve heritage trees on the site. 

District 1 Council Member Amanda Parr asked what types of businesses developers are pursuing as tenants in the proposed commercial space. 

“There are some boutique grocers that are looking at this site,” Ms. Ward said. “There are some high quality local restaurants looking at the site. There are a lot of restaurants that originated in and around Austin coming to this site. We are looking at some common general good retailers that would benefit the community as a whole, and then also looking for some unique destination users. We would really love to see live music, live bands. We really want this to be a destination.” 

Ms. Parr responded with support. 

“I would ask that you work as hard as possible to try to find some unique and destination-like businesses for this very important gateway corridor on Williams Drive,” she said. 

Before discussing the project at the August 23 council meeting, city staff notified 71 property owners within the standard 300-foot radius of the proposed site to allow them to provide comments and input, Ms. Nelson said. By the time of the meeting, no feedback had been received.

Developers were met with unanimous support from council members. 

“From the time I sat on the school board and we conveyed this to the city, I've been watching and wondering what’s going to happen here because in my mind it’s a very tricky site to develop,” said District 7 Councilmember Ben Stewart. “But, seeing what you guys have done with this property, I’m super excited and elated at the way you’ve put this all together.