During the most recent comprehensive land use planning process “Imagine Cedar Park”, our community expressed a desire to see Bell Boulevard revitalized as a thriving commercial corridor with its own unique identity and special charm.
The Bell Boulevard Corridor has served as the entrance to our community before Cedar Park was incorporated as a city and as such it is important that Cedar Park makes every effort to invest in its future.
Results of the financial analysis performed in the development of the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan showed that businesses along Bell Boulevard were not doing as well as other businesses located elsewhere in the city. The City of Cedar Park believes the timing is right to pursue its implementation to benefit the community as a whole as well as reenergize business activity and interest in this area of the community
Austin’s Domain is certainly a good example of a walkable mixed-use development, however, it was not a redevelopment project with existing businesses and buildings. It was built (and continues to be built) on land that was largely open – a “blank slate.” Other good examples of mixed-use projects include the Triangle in Austin and the Pearl Brewery District in San Antonio. One thing is certain about the Bell Boulevard project: it would be uniquely Cedar Park!
Walkable mixed use can be most easily defined as a development that blends a pedestrian-friendly combination of residential, commercial and cultural uses in which the functions are physically and functionally integrated. It could also refer to a mixed use real estate development project such as a building, complex of buildings, or city/town district that is developed for mixed-use by a private developer, quasi-governmental agency, or a combination thereof.
There are several. Addison Circle, Texas; Reston Town Center, Virginia; Santana Row, California; Port Clinton Square, Illinois; South Lake, Texas; Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave, Texas; and The Woodlands, Texas are just a few cities that have undertaken similar development and redevelopment projects.
During our comprehensive planning process in 2014, one of the overarching themes we heard from our citizens and business owners was a need and desire for an identity and “sense of place” – a destination. We believe that this project would fulfill such a need and desire. Plus, everyone benefits from increased property values and sales tax revenues. It’s what helps keep the residential property tax rate low in the City of Cedar Park.
The City has been working closely with the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce on this project in addition to direct outreach to the business community. We are pleased to share that the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Board passed a Resolution of Support for the project on July 15, 2015.
During the Redevelopment Study process, we interviewed numerous property and business owners in the area — multiple times, in some cases. Property owners and tenants in and outside of the focus area also received several letters in the mail with a link to an online survey as well as news and updates about future meetings.
During the early spring of 2015, we partnered with the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State University MBA program to conduct a “biz walk” in which we interviewed and solicited feedback from more than 40 businesses located in the focus area.
In early July 2015, we held our second property owner and tenant specific meeting about the project. In addition, we have created this website as a clearinghouse for information on this study as well as a special webpage just for businesses. Additionally, we’ve spoken to numerous community groups about this project including the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce, various homeowners associations and other groups.
In September 2016, over 60 Bell Boulevard-area business owners, managers and tenants attended the “Meet the Engineer” breakfast meeting. Attendees were encouraged to ask questions, learn more about the Phase One of the project from the design and engineering consultants first-hand and watch Bell in a Nutshell Phase One, a short overview of the project.
The City hosted four public meetings about this project throughout the study process — and hundreds of residents and interested people attended each meeting.
The most recent public meeting took place in November 2017. More than 400 people attended and were given a brief presentation with updates on the road project aspects, the development efforts and the park that will be located within the Bell Boulevard District. An associated online poll received over 1,000 responses – helping to define the “Heart of Bell Boulevard” by sharing their opinions of what the overall character of the Bell Boulevard District should be.
Additionally, this initiative has received extensive newspaper and television media coverage.
Finally, the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce is forming a group for business owners and tenants within the project area. For more information on that, please contact the Chamber of Commerce
Three large-scale public workshops were held for the Bell Redevelopment Master Plan study. Each of the meetings was advertised heavily and quite well-attended. Meetings were held January 27, 2015, April 7, 2015 and July 15, 2015.
A fourth public workshop took place in November 2017. More than 400 people attended and were given a brief presentation with updates on the road project aspects, the development efforts and the park that will be located within the Bell Boulevard District. An associated online poll received more than 1,000 responses – helping to define the “Heart of Bell Boulevard” by sharing their opinions of what the overall character of the Bell Boulevard District should be.
We have received a wide spectrum of comments and suggestions from stakeholders. Examples of this feedback include: anything to promote the redevelopment of old buildings and new development, remove Old Highway 183 (as it is a hindrance to business), create a sense of vibrancy so people feel they have all that they need right in Cedar Park and create a destination on Bell Boulevard.
Based on the feedback we’ve received from existing businesses, property owners and the public: there is a need to improve ingress and egress issues (entrances and exits to businesses); there is no opportunity for pedestrians to get from one business to another; it looks dated; and there is a six-way intersection where Old Highway 183, Brushy Creek Road and Bell Boulevard all come together.
We have received a lot of different comments and suggestions from stakeholders. Examples of this feedback include: Stakeholders have said that they would like to see mom-and-pop-type shops stay and the undeveloped open areas to be preserved but made more accessible. We’ve also heard from business owners that it is important to maintain the traffic counts, as it is good for business.
The vision of this project is to create a gathering place and sense of identity for the City of Cedar Park. We want to create a sense of community for our residents and businesses, as well as an attraction that can draw from the larger metropolitan area.
The overall goals of this project are to create an economically vibrant corridor and energize the greater Cedar Park region, generate return on investment for the City of Cedar Park and for private investors and maintain mobility and accommodate traffic levels while increasing access for pedestrians.
There are six primary goals for this project that fall within the categories of identity, economics, natural assets and community. These goals include:
Goal 1: Create an economically vibrant corridor and energize the greater Cedar Park region.
Goal 2: Generate return on investment for the City of Cedar Park and private business.
Goal 3: Work with natural and historical assets to define a more pleasant human experience.
Goal 4: Maintain mobility and accommodate traffic levels while increasing access.
Goal 5: Gain support from affected stakeholders including land owners, developers and business owners.
Goal 6: Solidify what the identity of Cedar Park is through the master planning process.
The core area of the Bell Boulevard redevelopment effort is the portion of Bell between the Brushy Creek/Buttercup Creek intersection and just north of the intersection with Park Street. This area was chosen for several reasons. As mentioned earlier, previous studies have focused closely on the corridor itself looking mainly at beautification improvements that did not expand into the adjacent commercial properties and conditions. By broadening the focus area we are able to look at the surrounding developments, adjoining crossroads, adjacent areas and several factors in addition to beautification such as traffic improvements, pedestrian mobility, market potential and property values to name a few.
We have zeroed in on this particular area because of the many possibilities it offers in terms of greenspace and room for other development. For example, did you know that there is a nature preserve just north of Buttercup Creek Drive? Presently, there is no public access to it. We are exploring the incorporation of this area to create a destination and a “sense of place” for Cedar Park residents.
For these reasons, this is a prime starting place for the redevelopment of Bell Boulevard and that this focus area will serve as a catalyst for future redevelopment of the entire area.
Funding for this initiative will come from a variety of sources — and at full implementation it will be a public-private partnership project in which the City contributes funding and the private sector (primarily a master development partner) funds portions of the effort as well. During this early stage of implementation, the City is using a variety of funding sources including General Obligation Bond dollars or sales tax revenue via Type B Community Development Corporation.
In November 2015, voters approved $63M in streets and road General Obligation bond dollars for a variety of transportation projects and approximately $20M of that has been set aside for Phase 1 infrastructure funding for the Bell Boulevard project.
The potential redevelopment of Bell Boulevard is not an overnight project. It is one that will be several years in the making. To see an illustrated timeline of where we are in the process, click here.
The Destination Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan represents overall community “big picture” vision and is not to be interpreted as an exact representation of what the project will look like. Exact dimensions, aesthetics and roadway plans are still under development and subject to change.
Not necessarily. The focus area for the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment project runs from Buttercup Creek Boulevard/Brushy Creek Road to just north of Park Street. Some maps and renderings may include properties outside of the focus area, as they are neighbors to this area there will be much redevelopment activity over the coming years. The Destination Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan represents overall community “big picture” vision and is not to be interpreted as an exact representation of what the project will look like. The vision is for the focus area to serve as a catalyst to other surrounding developments to experience revived economic vitality
Current Bell Boulevard is disjointed and disconnected to both vehicles and pedestrians, creating a place that people pass through rather than a destination. People associate this area simply as a transportation corridor rather than a community gateway.
To improve the current mobility issue we are looking at solutions to accommodate commuter traffic while creating a safe and walkable mixed use area that is easily accessible for both pedestrians and vehicles, without disrupting the flow of traffic.
No. Considering that the overall goals of this project are to create an economically vibrant corridor and energize the greater Cedar Park region, generate return on investment for the City of Cedar Park and for private investors and maintain mobility and accommodate traffic levels while increasing access for pedestrians, the purpose of this project is not to divert traffic from Bell Boulevard and force drivers to use another road. In fact, the 50,000+ vehicles that travel on Bell Boulevard each day are potential customers for existing and potential businesses there. Additionally, the toll road is owned and operated by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, which is a separate entity from the City of Cedar Park.
Similar Development Projects
Below are similar projects across Texas. All are unique to their community, just as Bell will be unique to Cedar Park.
Our specific geographic limitations and opportunities, travel patterns, transportation systems, community culture and other factors are all taken into account in the planning of this project.