The article below was in last week’s Austin Business Journal. Looks like Bastrop (30 minutes SE of Austin) is going to be booming along with the other small towns surrounding Austin. I really like Bastrop, but it’s not a place that would make since for us to live at this stage in our lives. The drive out and back is too far for me, although out-of-state buyers often tell me 30 to 45 minutes is not a big deal to them.
My Builder Nalle Custom Homes is building homes in The Colony in Bastrop, and I’ve driven out several times to take a look at the quality of the homes they build and the floorplans. We’re having Nalle build a new home for us in Oak Hill. One afternoon coming back into Austin around 5:30 PM, the traffic heading west out to Bastrop was backed up pretty bad. I thought, “glad I’m not headed the other way”. When Hwy 71 is completed, and the new 130 Toll Road, that should help with the traffic and make Bastrop a much more accessible place to live and commute to Austin. Not shown on the map here is the Texas 130 Toll Road which will cut through between Bastrop and the airport. That doesn’t helping getting to and from downtown though.
Here is the story for ABJ.
Austin Business Journal – April 20, 2007
A New Mexico-based real estate firm has amassed nearly 7,000 acres in Bastrop, paving the way for what could become one of the largest master-planned communities in Central Texas.
In late December, Coast Range Investments LLC closed on a 6,700-acre tract of land currently owned by the Steiner family, with plans to turn what’s now ranching land into a largely residential development.
Jim Wood, vice president of Coast Range, declines to disclose the land’s cost, but he says Coast Range may buy up to 1,300 more adjacent acres to expand the planned development. Wood says the elements of the project are still being discussed, but the land will be dominated by homes.
“We’re not looking towards any commercial or retail stuff,” Wood says. “It will be mixed-type residential, perhaps with some golf courses.”
Bastrop City Manager Mike Talbot says the land is inside Bastrop’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, and emphasizes that a residential development of that size would have a tremendous impact on the city, which has about 7,300 residents. Wood says there may be up to 4,000 homes in the development at buildout, and says lot sizes will vary greatly, with some consuming as much as 20 to 50 acres.
The planned development would increase Bastrop’s residential population several times beyond its current size. With 188 housing starts in 2006, Bastrop’s residential community is currently about one-tenth the size of Austin’s, says Eldon Rude, director of the Austin market for Metrostudy.
“Over time, with the construction of State Highway 130 and with areas closer to Austin building out, we anticipate there will be more housing demand in the Bastrop area,” Rude says. “This group is obviously making a long-term investment in the region, with the expectation that more of that demand in Austin will move in that direction.”
Wood says his company chose to purchase the land in Bastrop because of its unbroken river frontage — more than 3 miles of it — and its proximity to a high-growth area. Coast Range isn’t the only company that’s noticed Bastrop’s raw potential for development. In March, Endeavor Real Estate Group LLC announced that it may build up to 1 million square feet of retail at its Pecan Crossing project on about 200 acres near the southeast corner of Texas 71 and County Road 304.
“I don’t think we can hold Austin back, to tell you the truth,” Bobby Steiner says of the sale of his land. “Austin’s got the best reputation of probably any place I know of. People are going to move here.”
Rude says developers and investors are looking at Bastrop as a long-term growth area, but the city still faces the challenge of bringing employment into the area.
“At least initially, other portions of development will be more of a suburban type of development tied to people commuting to their places of work, which will be closer to Austin at this point,” Rude says.