As Cedar Park booms, retail heavy-hitters head to town

New homes aren’t the only thing popping up in Cedar Park these days.

The fast-growing Williamson County city has welcomed scores of new shops and restaurants in recent years, including some of the nation’s best-known brands such as Costco.

Now even more are on the way as part of The Parke, a 42-acre, 370,000-square-foot shopping center being developed by Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group along the 183-A toll road near East New Hope Drive.

Tenants who have signed on for the development or are currently in negotiations include Chuy’s, Nordstrom Rack, Dick’s Sporting Goods, the state’s first Field & Stream store and a 365 by Whole Foods Market, the new concept chain from Austin-based Whole Foods, aimed at cost-conscious shoppers.

“With the 365 by Whole Foods Market headquartered in Austin, it made perfect sense to have one of our first stores in our very own backyard,” said Jeff Turnas, 365 by Whole Foods Market’s president. “Austin’s commitment to innovation and authenticity aligns perfectly with the core values of 365 by Whole Foods Market. This, combined with substantial local support team, made it the ideal place to continue to introduce new and current customers to a whole new grocery shopping experience,”

Endeavor says it has lined up more than 20 tenants. The project is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2017.

“The momentum for The Parke has been incredible,” said Daniel Campbell, a principal with Endeavor. “We broke ground less than 60 days ago and are already 70 percent leased, which is just amazing, and even more so when you consider the quality of the lineup. This speaks volumes about Cedar Park’s demographics, pent-up demand and retailers’ desires to be in a growing part of the country.”

City figures show Cedar Park has about 67,500 residents. It’s also in close proximity to Austin, Round Rock, Leander and Jonestown, dramatically increasing the number of potential shoppers for projects such as The Parke.

Cedar Park’s average household income is $99,348, the city says, and the median age of residents is 34.2 years.

“Cedar Park’s demographics in terms of number of households, disposable income, average household income and age distribution combine to make Cedar Park a very attractive market for retailers,” said Phil Brewer, Cedar Park’s director of economic development.

Many of the retailers who have committed to The Parke are picky about where they set up shop, Endeavor managing principal Charlie Northington said.

“Endeavor is proud to have such a dynamic lineup at The Parke,” he said. “This lineup includes top-tier retailers from each of their respective categories and reflects the strong trade area demographics in Cedar Park. The majority of these retailers are very selective with their store locations, often only locating two or three stores in a city the size of Austin. It speaks volumes of the location and co-tenancy of The Parke that these retailers have chosen this project for their newest location.”

Nordstrom Rack is one of those selective tenants. The chain currently has just two locations in Central Texas.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to grow our presence in the Austin area at The Parke,” Nordstrom Rack president Geevy Thomas said. “Austin has been a great home to Nordstrom since 2009 and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to serve customers at a destination with such great retail.”

The Parke isn’t Endeavor’s first project in Cedar Park. Just across the highway, it built the sprawling 1890 Ranch development. That shopping center, anchored by a Super Target, Academy and a Cinemark movie theater, has helped keep residents from having to leave the city to dine out or shop, Brewer said.

“Cedar Park is excited to have the opportunity to work with Endeavor on another project in Cedar Park,” he said. “Endeavor is known for developing high-quality retail projects and this project will be no exception. Our residents have been asking for that next level of retailers and restaurants for several years and The Parke is going to go a long way in achieving that goal.”

In addition to more opportunities to shop close to home, developments such as The Parke have other benefits, as well, Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell said, such as boosting sales tax collections that fund city operations.

“It’s really helping to diversify our economy,” he said. “We used to be so property tax-dependent. Now, new retail – businesses people here have been clamoring for for years – is creating downward pressure on our property tax. It’s gone down three years in a row and I see no reason that can’t happen for a fourth year.”

Powell said he anticipates even more retail developments in the near future, with several developers eyeing parcels around town.

“There are definitely still opportunities out there,” he said. “The word has gotten out that Cedar Park is a lower tax, lower regulation environment to start a business.”

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