PFLUGERVILLE — NewQuest Properties is moving forward with plans to build a series of sit-down restaurants and 370 luxury apartments at Stone Hill Town Center, Pflugerville’s largest retail complex.
David Meyers, director of leasing and a development partner for NewQuest, said developers began construction on the projects in August, and he expects both to be completed sometime next year.
The projects will continue Stone Hill’s steady growth since it opened near Toll 130 and Toll 45 in 2006. The development now includes 750,000 square feet of retail with the opening of 24 Hour Fitness and a Cinemark movie theater earlier this year, and it eventually plans to feature office space and a hotel.
“Stone Hill not only has had a huge impact on [city] sales tax revenue, but it’s also a quality of life issue,” Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman said. “It allows residents to get the basic services that they used to have to drive to Round Rock or Austin to receive.”
Developers have already begun transforming the intersection of Limestone Commercial Drive and Stone Hill Drive into a “restaurant row” that stretches from the entrance off of the Toll 130 feeder road to the new Cinemark theater.
Coleman said in the past, restaurants had been hesitant to move to Pflugerville due to the perception of a small daytime population. He hopes the opening of Cinemark and other big-name tenants like 24 Hour Fitness will boost traffic and attract more restaurants to the area.
“The need for sit-down restaurants is the No. 1 request I get from citizens in Pflugerville,” Coleman said. “It’s the reason the council put so much effort into … getting Cinemark here with the theory that restaurants would be more comfortable moving here.”
Shogun Japanese Restaurant, set to open in May 2012, is the first tenant announced for the $5 million project. The Japanese restaurant will include a sushi bar, hibachi grills and a bar and lounge with an outdoor patio.
Meyers said in the short term, NewQuest is creating two restaurant buildings that would hold a combined five restaurants. The goal, he said, is to create the atmosphere of a traditional downtown with angled parking and a series of brick buildings with covered outdoor patios facing the street.
The current middle circle, or turnabout, will be replaced with a more traditional four-way intersection, and widened sidewalks will allow customers to easily walk from one restaurant to another.
“As you drive through, it’ll feel like a small project within a much bigger project,” Meyers said.
NewQuest also plans to build two freestanding buildings that would house larger restaurants near the Toll 130 and Toll 45 feeder roads.
Meyers said NewQuest is in serious talks with several potential tenants, including an Italian food restaurant, a couple of large Mexican food places and some other “well-known chains that a lot of people like.”
Developers are also in discussions with a “comfort food” restaurant that Meyers said is well-known in Austin and offers a large menu of sandwiches, salads, soups, hamburgers, breakfast plates and some Mexican food.
Meyers declined to name restaurants until they are finalized, which he said he hopes will happen “sooner rather than later.”
Stone Hill apartments
NewQuest has entered into a contract with Western Rim, a Dallas-based multifamily developer, to build a 370-unit apartment complex on 17 acres at Stone Hill.
Meyers said one phase, called the “big house concept,” will include town home–style apartments with attached two-car garages. Another phase will feature more urban, four-story buildings with interior elevators.
“It’s just a really nice feel,” he said. “In Houston, I’d call it more of an inside-the-loop product in a suburban area.”
Meyers expects the apartments—a $40 million project—to be completed by fall 2012.
Trey Fletcher, Pflugerville’s managing director of operations, said city officials approved the complex’s final plat—a map showing the land divided into various lots—Aug. 1 and are now waiting to receive development and building permit applications.
Plans for an apartment complex have been in the works since the development opened in 2006. Greystar Development Group initially planned to build a Stone Hill apartment complex scheduled for completion in fall 2009. However, Meyers said the deal fell through in 2008, around the time the economy went south.
Current plans call for the developer to set aside 9 acres of parkland, which will serve as a buffer between the apartments and the nearby Highland Park North neighborhood, Fletcher said.
Western Rim has built apartments across Texas, including the Mansions at Star Ranch Country Club in Hutto, according to the company’s website. The Hutto complex includes luxury apartments and townhomes, a fitness center, resort-style pool, Starbucks coffee bar, an executive business center and a private tanning room.
Western Rim officials did not return calls for comment.