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From Site Selection magazine, July 2024


How a Texas community’s vision is giving new meaning to quality of life.

This 3-D Model was created as a visual concept of the site, although is not intended as an actual rendering of construction plans.
Renderings courtesy of McCann Adams Studios


flugerville’s story is one of humble beginnings. Today, the city is looking to write a new chapter in what quality of life means to a fast-growing community.

Nearly 100 years ago, the city was home to just 292 residents who were vital to its robust agricultural era. The industry was supported by a former Missouri-Kansas- Texas Railroad line which passed through town, often bringing new business and growth to the budding community.

Growing up here, a young Victor Gonzalez, who would later become Pflugerville’s mayor in 2016, found that creativity was the greatest source of entertainment. The Austin suburb home to over 79,000 residents today was a “village,” with resources adequate for its time. A fire, which took out half a block of historical buildings in the city’s downtown in the early 1980s, quickly changed the landscape. Pflugerville adjusted to the needs of businesses in the area, but had not recovered as hoped due to lack of funding.

“When I got elected that’s when things really started moving and growing. All of a sudden we ran out of space in the downtown, the City Hall and the Parks and Recreation facility,” says Gonzalez. “The first budget for Pflugerville was $2,000 a year. That was probably mostly for spraying mosquitos and maybe fixing a couple potholes,” Gonzalez jokes. “Today, we’re in the multimillions of dollars in our annual budget. So, 292 people to almost 100,000 people is kind of a warp speed jump.” The Greater Austin area that includes Pflugerville welcomed the seventh-highest total of new residents in the nation in 2023 (over 50,000), one of four Texas metros in the top 10 in that category.

Progressive changes over the years have put Pflugerville in a position to rebuild memories of the historical downtown, while accommodating increased population growth that has introduced an urgent need for new infrastructure. Voter approval for a refreshed Multi-Generational Recreation Center was crucial to allowing officials to begin building a vision for a vibrant future.

Bridging Old and New
Over the course of six years, Pflugerville leadership has worked hand-in-hand with the community to build a new vision, dubbed the Downtown East Project, for life in the city’s downtown district.

“Resident feedback has been considered each step of the way for the Downtown East Project,” says Pflugerville Assistant City Manager Emily Barron, “from a resident bond committee that supported the inclusion of a Multi-Generational Recreation Center on the 2020 bond, to purchasing the property and establishing the property as a public-private partnership, to the design elements and programming of the civic features.”

Creating a destination of this scale to bring residents together on a daily basis and provide a resource that caters to the health and wellbeing of residents represents one of the most exciting aspects for Barron, who is leading the project.

In the area known now as “old downtown,” a recent transformation has taken place as businesses have moved in to remodel and upgrade aging storefronts, including an over $1 million brewpub called Prost Alehouse. In this sense, it was important to both parties that resources like City Hall and the Multi-Generational Recreation Center remain centrally accessible to citizens and not deter activity from newly established businesses.

When determining how and where to begin, a vacant 29-acre property adjacent to old downtown, on the corner of Farm-to-Market 685 and Pecan Street, proved ideal to both residents and leadership in revitalizing the area. To ensure that getting between the two locations is seamless, Downtown East’s plans will start with extending old downtown’s Main Street to lead directly into the new site.

What’s To Come
As of 2024, the Downtown East Project has entered Phase 3 of development, which depends on public design engagement before construction begins in December.

Besides the Main Street extension, Phase 1 of construction work at Downtown East will welcome the new City Hall, the Multi-Generational Recreation Center, the Civic Plaza and parking space. The Civic Plaza sits at the heart of Downtown East and creates an open outdoor space featuring a performance area, walking path, a playground, outdoor seating and a garden. Meanwhile, the new 129,000-sq.-ft. recreation center will house a fitness center, an indoor pool, a gymnasium and an indoor turf field.

Pflugerville-Downtown-East-5_B_600x.pngOnce complete, Downtown East will feature multifamily mixed-use housing, a hotel, an office building and commercial recreation offerings.
Renderings courtesy of McCann Adams Studios

Phases to follow currently include construction of a 100,000-sq.-ft. office building, a hotel, a multifamily mixed-use development and commercial recreation offerings. Both Barron and Mayor Gonzalez say the community voiced the need for more commercial opportunities, such as dining and retail options, throughout the process. This keen interest opens a door to boost entrepreneurial activity, largely free of a corporate franchise takeover.

“They’re great to have, but that’s not what is going to be in Downtown East,” says Gonzalez. “We want more mom-and-pop and entrepreneurial businesses that will bring new energy to downtown and add more presence of our citizens.”

City ownership of the property will allow city leaders to take note of what residents want to see and work directly with those businesses to get them established.

“We hope that with the unique mix of civic and commercial uses,” says Barron, “coupled with creative programming and placemaking that is being done, this project will become a sought-after destination for residents, businesses and visitors alike.”

As project plans push forward there is plenty to look forward to in tomorrow’s Pflugerville for all ages and for generations to come. Not to mention, ample space to cultivate new beginnings.

This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation. For more information, contact Veronica Ramirez at On the web, go to

Alexis Elmore
Associate Editor of Site Selection magazine

Alexis Elmore

Alexis Elmore joined Conway Data in 2022 as associate editor for Site Selection. A 2021 graduate of the University of Georgia, she studied journalism and communications before moving back to Atlanta to pursue her career. As an editor for Site Selection and contributor to Conway's Custom Content guides, she writes about economic development efforts and corporate growth happening around the globe.


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