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Developer proposes twin PIDs for single development

Friday, January 13, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The man behind Travis County’s first official public improvement district is back for more, this time with a proposal that ratchets up the complexity of an already intricate process.

Last Tuesday, Pete Dwyer of Dwyer Realty Companies presented to the Commissioners Court his vision for Lagos, a massive development that would sit just south of downtown Manor and across FM 973 from Dwyer’s other, even larger development, known as WildHorse Ranch.

Last year, the court created a PID overlay for WildHorse Ranch, allowing the proceeds from special bonds to cover the cost of certain public infrastructure projects, including the construction of the WildHorse Connector that will run from FM 973 to Blake Manor Road. The debt from the bonds are paid off through special assessments added to property owners’ tax bills.

Because the 675-acre development would straddle both Manor city limits and Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, Dwyer is seeking to create two separate PIDs. Rick Rosenberg, managing principal at Developmental Planning & Financing Group Inc. and financial consultant on the project, told the court that state law mandates that the benefits of any given PID “must be equitable to all the property owners.”

With separate PIDs in the Manor section and the Austin ETJ section, Rosenberg explained, the assessments can be calibrated to offset the tax rate differential in each jurisdiction. That will ensure that property owners in either section will have similar tax bills.

Dwyer’s initial proposal is to use the PID bond money to cover $75 million in wastewater, stormwater and road infrastructure, as well the costs of building the string of artificial lakes from which Lagos takes its name. However, the county will likely lean on him to add other benefits, such as affordable housing or parks, to the list.

If built out as planned, Lagos would feature 1,700 detached single-family homes, 180 “cluster style” single-family homes, 930 multifamily units and 720,000 square feet of commercial, retail and restaurant space.

Rosenberg told the court that the cluster homes would sell for as little as $150,000 if the PID is approved. However, if the developer has to pay out of his own pocket for the infrastructure, those prices could rise to $170,000 on the Manor side of the development and $192,000 on the Austin side.

The court is likely to vote on whether to open a public hearing on the creation of the Lagos PIDs by the end of January. That hearing could open as soon as February.

Rendering by DPFG.

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