18 huge developments reshaping Williamson County

Williamson County has ranked as one of the fastest-growing U.S. counties for decades, yet somehow the area seems to just now be hitting such a stride, economically, thanks to a flood of billion-dollar developments — some tied to the biggest brand names on Earth.

Here are 18 mega-developments in the works, all of which promise to take the suburbs north of Austin to new economic heights.

• Samsung: The biggest of them all is certainly Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s plan to build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Taylor. It is the largest foreign direct investment ever in Texas and a major milestone for domestic chip production. For tiny Taylor, it will mean at least 2,000 high-tech jobs. Expect ancillary companies to arrive soon.

• Apple: If the pandemic permits, mid-2022 will be go-time for Apple Inc.’s new $1 billion campus on Parmer Lane — which is an extension of its longtime Travis County campus about a mile down the road. Apple has said 5,000 local workers will initially be housed at the new buildings, but there are indications the headcount could be bigger than that from the start. If the trends continues, Apple Inc. (AAPL) will overtake Dell’s local headcount in the coming years.

• Amazon in Round Rock and Georgetown: Retail follows rooftops, so this e-commerce giant is going big throughout the region. It just opened a 1,000-employee sorting facility in Pflugerville a couple of miles south of the Williamson County line, and it appears Round Rock and Georgetown are in line next to get something similar.

At this rate, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) has a chance in the coming years to surpass Apple, Dell and even No. 1 H-E-B — the state’s dominant grocery chain — on ABJ’s annual list of the largest private-sector employers in the region.

• Two big mixed-use projects in Round Rock: Developers continue to push for density in Round Rock. Two major projects on the drawing board promise to bookend the city. On the south side, near Dell’s HQ, a $200 million plan called The District is gaining steam at State Highway 45 and I-35, after a few years of delays. California-based Mark IV Capital expects to bring 3 million square feet of office space, 1,600 multifamily units, a 250-room hotel, 230,000 square feet of retail and walkable and bike-able open spaces over the next decade to the 65 acre site. On the north side of Round Rock, near Dell Diamond, Indianapolis-based Milhaus is planning a 110-acre mixed-use project that will include a mix of housing, retail and more near East Palm Valley and Kenney Fort boulevards.

• Northline: This 115-acre project in Leander is framed as a new downtown-like destination.

Plans call for 700,000 square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of hotel space, 2,000 apartments, 300 townhomes and civic spaces. It is located south of San Gabriel Parkway between U.S. Highway 183 and the 183A toll road. The first buildings come online in about a year, and it may be all wrapped up by 2031.

• Cedar Park Convention Center: A 117-acre development that includes a hotel, 30,000-square-foot conference center and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail and warehouse space is aimed at Cedar Park, with some city officials calling it a “once-in-a-generation” project. A company tied to Nebraska Furniture Mart, the hub’s anchor tenant, has a master development agreement in hand for the project at 750 E. New Hope Dr., near 183A.

• Switch: Switch Inc., a Las Vegas-based data center company, will bring to life soon a 1.5-million-square-foot facility that will be known as “The Rock.” The massive complex will be next to Dell’s Round Rock campus. Switch executives said the multi-tenant facility has the potential to attract thousands of customers in need of such a tech ecosystem. It will all be powered 100% by renewable energy.

• CelLink: CelLink Corp., a California-based manufacturer of circuits used in electric vehicles and other high-technology systems, is closing in on space in Georgetown in a move that could make the company the largest private-sector employer in the city. While an agreement hasn’t been finalized, the company is targeting roughly 294,000 square feet in Gateway35 Commerce Center to expand its operations, according to multiple sources. Multiple sources said CelLink could eventually employ 2,000 people in Georgetown, but company officials declined to comment.

• Shop LC:A television shopping network that reaches roughly 80 million households recently chose Cedar Park as the location for its new national headquarters, and it may become the fast-growing suburb’s largest employer should it reach a planned 1,000 jobs by 2033. Shop LC Global Inc. — currently based in Austin and a subsidiary of India-based Vaibhav Global Ltd. — on Nov. 18 was unanimously approved by Cedar Park City Council for a $5.4 million economic development performance agreement to aid with the relocation. The company plans to build a facility of at least 200,000 square feet, with an expected $50 million capital investment, on a former winery site near East Hope Drive and North Bell Boulevard. Construction is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2024. It will house the company’s communications team, with its television studios, as well as its distribution and sales teams.

• Leander Springs: Central Texas’ first Crystal Lagoon has been the talk of the town in Leander since city officials announced a public-private partnership last year. Developer Leander Springs LLC — which is controlled by Austin-based iLand Development Group — aims to create a $1.1 billion mixed-use project at the southwest corner of FM 2243 and the 183A toll road that would also include up to 1,600 multifamily units, a hotel and more than 1 million square feet of commercial space across nearly 80 acres. Construction is just now getting underway on the multi-year project.

• Cangshan Cutlery Company HQ: Cangshan Cutlery announced Aug. 24 plans to build a 400,000-square-foot factory and headquarters on a 41-acre site at 204 Heritage Grove Road in North Leander, near the Texas Bullion Depository. The company expects to break ground early next year and open the facility in 2023, reaching 300 employees by 2025.

• Bell District: Developers behind this 50-acre mixed-use project in Cedar Park said construction is on track to begin next year, with the first buildings scheduled to open potentially as soon as 2024. The $350 million public-private partnership plan includes restaurants, high-density apartments, a new city library and 16 acres of green space along the largely outdated Bell Boulevard.

• Wolf Lakes Village: Infrastructure work started earlier this year on this 164-acre mixed-use project, which promises to add European flair to Georgetown. It’s going up at the northwest corner of I-35 and State Highway 29, and it will eventually be home to multifamily residences, an H-E-B, large medical office buildings and much more.

• GTX Logistics Park: Dallas-based Green Point Property Co. just announced this plan this month. The 231-acre industrial park will be built in multiple phases and could have 3 million square feet over three buildings once complete. Groundbreaking is planned for the first quarter of 2022. The site, located at FM 972 and County Road 141, will cater to industrial and distribution users seeking 400,000 to 1.45 million square feet of space. JLL Capital Markets announced Dec. 16 it had arranged construction funding for the first phase of GTX Logistics Park to be developed on a speculative basis, meaning no tenants have signed on yet. The construction loan came from Community Bank of Texas while Dallas-based Silverado Interests is the equity investor; dollar amounts were not disclosed.

• Volcon: Volcon Inc., a fast-growing maker of electric dirt bikes that went public in October, is targeting an early 2023 opening for a 70-acre headquarters campus in Liberty Hill. CEO Jordan Davis said Volcon (Nasdaq: VLCN), currently based in Round Rock, wants to break ground on the site at 18587 State Highway 29 early next year. It will have a test track plus multiple manufacturing and administrative buildings. Davis said the company, which now has 50 employers, could reach a headcount of 200 by the end of 2022.

• Perfect Game: Perfect Game USA, which boasts that it’s the world’s largest baseball and softball scouting enterprise, has chosen Cedar Park for its new headquarters, bypassing Hutto, where it previously announced it would build a massive sports tourism, office and entertainment complex. PG Cedar Park Group LLC — an affiliate of Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Perfect Game Inc. — on Sept. 23 was unanimously approved by Cedar Park City Council for incentives in exchange for plans to invest $4 million in a 15,000-square foot office complex, 16 turf fields and commercial space on a 112-acre tract near the corner of Ronald Reagan Boulevard and East New Hope Drive.