Up to 4,000 homes may hit Bastrop

Colony Bastrop Map AustinThe 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.

11 thoughts on “Up to 4,000 homes may hit Bastrop”

  1. Those are very nice homes. The designs remind me of the homes at the Reserve at Twin Creeks. Not quite as ‘craftsman,’ but the elements are definitely there.

  2. Not sure what kind of welcome these little towns will give to an influx of in and out-of-state
    residents. New, predominantly bedroom communities, build resentment on the part of old locals who get priced and squeezed out of the area financially and literally. Lastly, builders tend to dump the worry of biulding little things like roads and other requisite infrastructure on the
    local governments. I doubt Bastrop is financially able to provide the former, which would
    create the soul-enriching experience of waiting in line behind 18 cars to turn on a two-lane
    road with no turn-lane(I lived this experience on the outskirts of Homer Glen, Ill, outside
    of Chicago. Not fun, trust me. Just made the farmers rich who sold the land and blew town.)
    You folks need an overriding planning commission that is multi-county based, or you will
    just extend the gridlock outside Austin to the countryside.

  3. > Not sure what kind of welcome these little towns will give to an influx of in and out-of-state

    Me neither. Dripping Springs seems to be adjusting well, though I don’t know any old timers there who might tell me otherwise. Bastrop will be interesting to watch because, like Dripping Springs, the “bedroom community” neighborhoods such as described in the article are higher price ranges as opposed to the cheap starter homes you see in Hutto, Manor and Kyle for example.

    The higher end homes bring better retail and eating establishments to cater to the higher income new residents. That makes for a much different type of growth, and better opportunities for new businesses.

  4. So, Austin is becoming a big city with many suburbs that are actually little cities themselves? LA for example, is like that. You can live in many sub centers like orange county and never have to go to the downtown area. To many, it’s the beginning of the downtown decline.

  5. No downtown decline here in Austin. Its booming downtown like it never was AND the satellite
    growth is happening as well. Austin’s downtown is a little unique, in that it was never really
    a center for jobs and shopping like other cities. If anything, its becoming MORE of a resource
    for both now. All the new high-rise condos, and the activity on south congress just exacerbates the trend. On the ohter hand, you have many people IN Austin, but mostly
    on the NW and north sides, that never lay a foot south of 45th st. I’m talking all the new {edited} arrivals, and the tech workers who seem to prefer hanging around and shopping where they
    work, per the new Domain mall, and the outflowering of activity around there. So its not
    really uniform, and you have several areas of growth, not perticularly associated with each other around the whole of the Austin metro. A little something for everyone…..

  6. > Austin’s downtown is a little unique, in that it was never really a center for jobs and shopping

    Actually, in the old, old days, dowtown Austin had a number of retail businesses. Clothing stores, appliance stores, etc. and was a shopping destination.

    The new downtown demographic is younger affluent or upwardly mobile singles and couples, mostly without kids. Personally, I could enjoy living downtown, or on acreage in Bastrop. Neither would be prudent at this stage of life though.

    Thanks everyone for contributing your thoughts.

  7. I’d be interested in seeing pictures of old downtown Austin from say the 20’s thru the 50’s.
    The closest I got was reading all those brass histories on quite a few of the buildings.
    I tried so hard to find pics on the web, but to no avail. Prob some historical society
    has copies of such. I’m sure part of it was that Austin was so small in those days.
    I know LBJ practiced law downtown, but not much else per the old history.

  8. Development can certainly be a good thing, but in this case I don’t understand why someone would build such a huge developmet when there is virtually NO WHERE to work in Bastrop…unless you’re interested in minimum wage jobs (Not me!). WHO would want to commute from Austin to Bastrop these days with gas prices being so unpredictable AND the added cost of a higher mortgage for these “high-end” homes?

  9. >> WHO would want to commute from Austin to Bastrop these days with gas prices being so unpredictable AND the added cost of a higher mortgage for these “high-end” homes?

    I agree that the commute would be a hassle, but it wouldn’t be much different than if you were coming from Georgetown. I think there are some pros and cons with the development, but I’m sure Coast Range did their homework. I think this area has lots of potential, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.

  10. Bastrop would become a “Bedroom Community”, in that the majority of residents work
    in the major city or job center of their respective metropolitan areas. If Austin gets any
    larger, they will have plenty of them in the next 10-15 years. It’s the same in every
    metro area, in that the smaller towns get gobbled up by subdivisions, new schools
    and services, and the tax rate shoots up. Then it expands outward in something resembling
    a concentric circle. There is nothing inherently bad about it, but sprawl generally follows,
    along with a higher density of people, roads, infrastructure, and retail districts. It’s ironic,
    because people move out to escape sprawl, but entire books have been written on this phenomenon. Its just the way metro areas grow, including Austin. The lack of jobs in Bastrop,
    and the other towns that will be caught up in the growth in the next 10-15 years, isn’t really
    an issue, because the vast majority will be working in and around Austin, or have home-based
    businesses. If anything, these little places usually have a hard time finding people to work at all the new Targets, Kohl, McDonalds, etc., because the wealthy families won’t let their kids
    work there, obviously preferring them to focus on education and college. Consequently, they can’t find enough blue-collar folks to fill them, or that can afford the rising cost of living in the new areas………..all in all its a good thing though……..


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