Austin-based CSW Development and USAA Real Estate broke ground Tuesday on a 19-acre project west of Interstate 10 at La Cantera Parkway that will mostly feature restaurants and service businesses with little exposure to competition from the internet.
The 36,000 square-foot project, called La Cantera Heights, will be built on both sides of La Cantera Parkway with the south side now underway and the north side following this summer.
“It’s 36,000 square feet of stuff that isn’t susceptible to e-commerce,” said Barry Haydon, senior vice president of JLL, the company handling leasing for the property.
Kevin Hunter, chief operating officer and chief financial officer for CSW Development, said the project is expected to cost close to $40 million, with the south phase opening in February 2020 and featuring four buildings and the north phase following next summer with at least two more buildings. Hunter said Jefferson Bank is the capital partner.
Four restaurants already have signed on, including Oregon-based Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill, which has other locations in Arizona, Colorado, and North Texas. Local eatery La Panadería plans to open its third location here by the summer of 2020, and the fourth San Antonio location of Burgerim is planned.
“Our goal is to be definitely open before summertime (2020) and be ready for summer fun here in the area,” said La Panadería co-founder Jose Caceres. “We have high expectations and we believe this is going to be a great location for this side of town.”
The first Texas location of Redlands Grill, a boutique-style restaurant emphasizing high-quality food, is planned to open on the north side of the development.
Officials consistently referred to the project Tuesday as the front door from Interstate 10 to the larger 1,600 acre La Cantera retail and tourism experience, including La Cantera Resort and Spa, The Shops at La Cantera and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
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CSW President Robert O’Farrell said the company has had its sights set on the property for years but went through different ideas of what to build. It was first envisioned as the home of more retail shopping or even a grocery store, O’Farrell said, but as competition has increased from the internet in the retail world, the concept became more focused on restaurants and other service businesses.
A press release announcing the project said those new businesses will draw from “more than 130,000 nearby residents and a daytime population of over 75,200.”
Hunter called it a 100-year project, explaining that he believes the “pedestrian friendly design” of the project will stand the test of time and won’t have a future developer wanting to tear it down and replace it in just a few decades.
“USAA’s methodical approach and investment in the buildings and forethought on what this whole area is going to look like, that’s why we believe this a development to last and it’s not just something thrown up real fast,” Hunter said.
The design features a connection to Leon Creek Greenway behind the project, and Hunter said there will be an emphasis on community areas and outdoor spaces, making it a place where people can come to relax, eat, and have other experiences.
“We want to highlight that, so we’re activating it with amenities and outdoor seating so that people can come here and it’s convenient and relaxing and they can socialize and have community with friends in the front and the back,” Haydon said.