The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project will replace the existing buildings and structures in an area along Bell Boulevard to transform it into a vibrant district that serves as the heartbeat of Cedar Park. This unique mixed use development project will create a central gathering place featuring ground floor retail, residential products, multiple acres of greenspace developed with the new library, parkland, restaurants, structured parking and a social hub – a special place that allows for a variety of community events such as farmers markets, performances and small festivals that allow residents to interact with one another and actively engage in their community. The area is located along Bell Boulevard, between Buttercup Creek Boulevard/Brushy Creek Road and Park Street. (See map on following page.
The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project is a public-private partnership (“P3”) between the City of Cedar Park and RedLeaf. In this partnership, RedLeaf will serve as the master developer. In this structure, the master developer is responsible for all aspects of the project and has direct accountability to the City of Cedar Park for executing the community’s vision for the project.
During the 2014 Comprehensive Planning process “Imagine Cedar Park”, we consistently heard from numerous residents a desire to see Bell Boulevard revitalized, and a desire for a unique destination in Cedar Park that could be somewhere “special” to go. The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan sought to address both of these concerns.
Created with tremendous public input, the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan (adopted in 2015) defined six key goals for this project. These goals, developed as the result of an extensive community engagement campaign, helped determine design and implementation guidelines:
Economic Vitality: Create an economically vibrant corridor and energize the greater Cedar Park region. Generate Return on Investment: Generate return on investment for the City of Cedar Park and private businesses. Work with Natural Assets: Work with natural and historical assets to define a more pleasant human experience. Maintain Mobility: Maintain mobility and accommodate traffic levels. Gain Support: Gain support from affected stakeholders including landowners, developers, and business owners. Community Identity: Solidify what the identity of Cedar Park is through the master planning process.
During the 2014 Comprehensive Planning process “Imagine Cedar Park”, we consistently heard residents express a desire to see Bell Boulevard revitalized, as well as the need for a unique destination in Cedar Park that could be somewhere “special” to go. The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan sought to address both of these concerns.
Design of the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan: The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Master Plan was a collaborative initiative that was led by Design Workshop, an urban design firm, from 2014 to 2015.
Community Input: The interest level from the community about the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project is the highest for any City project in Cedar Park history. Beginning in 2014 and running through 2019, the City embarked on a robust public engagement process that included multiple large public workshops, numerous small stakeholder meetings and presentations to targeted groups. Collectively, more than 2,000 people attended these events, marking the highest participation level for any project in the history of Cedar Park.
High attendance at these events and enthusiastic participation were the results of this engagement campaign that also included targeted outreach via direct e-mail, social media posts, project update videos, a dedicated project website and extensive media relations that resulted in widespread news coverage to reach many more thousands of people.
A Master Development Agreement (MDA) is an agreement between the City of Cedar Park and RedLeaf that governs development of land, the deconstruction of existing improvements, the construction of infrastructure, financing agreements, phasing and expected timeline of the project, and numerous other development obligations and responsibilities.
The completion of the highway realignment of Bell Boulevard/US 183 is a critical item. Once the section of the highway between Buttercup Creek Boulevard/Brushy Creek Road and East Park Street has been realigned, RedLeaf will begin the development of the street and utility infrastructure within the development. Vertical construction (buildings) for Phase I, including the construction of a social hub and the high-density residential development with ground floor retail and the parking garages will follow once the foundational infrastructure is complete.
As construction in these areas continues, the City will be focused on the design and construction of the City’s new park and library within the development.
A Public-Private Partnership (P3) is an effective model to deliver high quality development and large-scale, long-term, transformative projects. A P3 creates financial and risk capacity to engage in large projects otherwise outside of scope of the City or a developer. Under a P3, the City and Master Developer share cost, risk and profit. The Master Developer is directly accountable to the City.
The project dedicates about one third of the project area (approximately 16 acres) to greenspace. Due to the unique location of this project, the development has been designed around dozens of large, 100 year-old-plus heritage trees, includes the rejuvenation of Cluck Creek into an amenity, and will provide gathering space opportunities for the community. The City and RedLeaf have made a significant commitment to preserve the greenspace within the development a key feature that will make this project distinct from other mixed-use developments. This type of greenspace would not been seen in a traditional development given current market conditions.
A social hub serves as the heartbeat of the development. Several restaurants, cafes and the new Public Library will be built around multiple acres of greenspace. This area enables a variety of community events including farmers markets, small concerts and festivals and other community events.
A sense of place: The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project will result in a central destination that creates a unique identity for the Cedar Park community. A social hub area, in particular, allows for a variety of community events such as farmers markets, performances and small festivals to allow residents to interact with one another and actively engage in their community.
Vibrant Location for Business: The Bell Boulevard Redevelopment will enable business revitalization in the core of Cedar Park. While other parts of Cedar Park have experienced tremendous development and growth, data has shown that this area is currently the only part of Cedar Park that has seen sales tax revenues decline in recent years. Sales tax revenues help offset the City’s reliance upon property taxes to fund City services and projects. With this redevelopment, the area will be revitalized and become a destination for businesses to relocate – a central location with unique amenities – where they can create a vibrant business environment and thrive.
Tax Base Benefits: This project is a long-term financial investment for the City of Cedar Park.
The total investment of new buildings and infrastructure at final buildout of the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project is expected to be approximately $350 million in today’s dollars – the vast majority of which is private funding. This will generate a significant increase in taxable commercial property values compared to the existing taxable property values in the area.
Public Library: Bell Boulevard will be home to the new City of Cedar Park Public Library. This new library will be a welcoming facility for a variety of patrons, adding new space for an expanded library collection, new rooms to support meetings and events and new services to expand the digital services offered by the library. There are currently more than 333,000 visits to the public library each year, and it is anticipated that number will only grow in the new facility.
Open Space: The redevelopment opens access to the Buttercup Creek Natural Area and Cluck Creek, an area currently inaccessible to residents.
Pedestrian-friendly environment: The streets in the project are designed to maximize the walkability of the district to expand pedestrian-friendly options in Cedar Park.
The completion of the road realignment of Bell Boulevard is a critical path item that must be completed before significant construction can begin on the development. It is anticipated that the highway realignment project will be completed by the end of 2021.
Redevelopment projects of this scale and complexity take significant time to complete. All phases of the project will be completed in approximately in 15 years, depending on market conditions.
As outlined in the MDA, the phasing will begin south to north over the project area. Phase I priorities are public amenities, such as the new library, park, and a social hub. Phase I also includes several blocks of mixed use development, two parking garages and two high density residential buildings with ground floor retail. Phase II will consist of additional commercial, office and residential development, including urban brownstones which bring the opportunity for home ownership to the district.
The Master Development Agreement between the City and RedLeaf establishes a financial structure that aligns interests and rewards success for both parties. Both parties share costs, risk and profits from the development.
The vision for the Bell Boulevard Redevelopment Project is to create a unique, vibrant, central district for Cedar Park. A project of this magnitude contains many features that add significant and nonstandard costs to the redevelopment such as above-the-norm design standards that exceed what currently exists in Cedar Park, along with structured parking, enhanced street design that prioritizes the pedestrian experience and urban-style buildings in high market demand for the area. With current market conditions, no developer would construct a project of this scope and community vision without public financing. This development will be the first of its kind for Cedar Park.
These investments will create significant new value for this aging part of town, and invigorate the larger Bell Boulevard corridor. The City will benefit financially from collecting increased property tax revenue from the redevelopment; there are no tax abatements associated with this development.
The realignment of a section Bell Boulevard from Buttercup Creek Boulevard/Brushy Creek Road to just north of Park Street must be complete in order for construction on the Bell District to begin. Road realignment construction is expected to last through 2021. Because the new road construction will take place to the east of the current Bell Boulevard and out of the way of existing highway travel, minimal traffic disruption is anticipated during this time. Once the new section of highway is built, traffic will be shifted to the new roadway.
As previously mentioned, beginning in 2014 and running through 2019, the City embarked on a robust community engagement process that included multiple large public workshops, numerous small stakeholder meetings and presentations to targeted groups. Collectively, more than 2,000 people attended these events, marking the highest participation in any project in the history of Cedar Park.
High attendance at these events and high levels of participation were the results of this engagement campaign that also included targeted outreach via direct e-mail, social media posts, project update videos, a dedicated project website and extensive media relations resulting in widespread news coverage that reached many more thousands of people.
Additional community engagement opportunities will come when planning for the new Park and Library get underway.
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.