In October 2020, Leander, a suburb of Austin, Texas, announced plans for the Leander Springs project. This public-private partnership includes a 4-acre lagoon, up to 1,600 multifamily units, a hotel, and over 1 million square feet of commercial space. The project is being developed by Leander Springs LLC, a company controlled by iLand Development Group, and is being built in partnership with Crystal Lagoons US Corp. The project has received $22 million in performance-based tax incentives in the form of rebates on property taxes, sales taxes, and hotel occupancy taxes. According to the incentives agreement, the developer must complete some aspects of the project, including part of the retail space and the lagoon, by the end of 2023. The project is currently in the engineering phase, and developers are testing water wells on the site and reviewing public improvement plans and a plat. However, some residents and council members have expressed concerns about the region’s water and drought issues.
Despite the progress, the 78-acre dirt plot where the Leander Springs project is to be built remains vacant. Ivan Manzur, Senior Vice President of Sales at Crystal Lagoons US Corp., stated that the project is moving forward as planned and that they hope to see further progress in the coming months. However, the clock is ticking on the project’s contractual obligations, and it remains to be seen whether the developer will meet the December 2023 deadline for completing some aspects of the project.
If completed as planned, the Leander Springs project will be one of the more unique developments in the Austin area, alongside proposals such as a surf park on the outskirts of Southeast Austin and a proposed indoor ski resort with an undisclosed location. However, it faces many of the same questions and concerns as these other projects, including concerns about water and drought in the region. Leander city officials have maintained that the water for the lagoon will come from the on-site wells, but it remains to be seen whether these plans will be sufficient to address the concerns of residents and council members.