La Frontera (Round Rock, Texas)

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Coordinates: 30°28′56.5″N 97°40′45.2″W / 30.482361°N 97.679222°W / 30.482361; -97.679222

A fountain at La Frontera

La Frontera is Round Rock's largest master-planned, multi-use commercial business-retail-housing center and is located at the northwest corner of SH 45 Toll Road and Interstate 35 in Round Rock, Texas within Williamson County, Texas. La Frontera is also located immediately across Interstate 35 from the Dell international headquarters. The name "La Frontera" means “the border” or “frontier” in Spanish,[1] hence the name of the project which sits at the exact border of the two counties (Travis and Williamson) and two communities (Round Rock and Austin). Because of the project's high profile, the entire area around this intersection over the years has loosely become known also as "La Frontera."[2]

The overall development[edit]

The 330 acre project combines multi-tenant offices, company headquarters buildings, more than 1,000,000 square feet (90,000 m2) of retail including La Frontera Village,[3] three apartment complexes[4] and specialized retail, banking, a medical rehabilitation hospital, and a variety of other uses. The project also includes Williamson County's only full service hotel,[5] the Austin North Marriott which provides space for large conferences, meetings and banquets - a first for the county and an important component of Round Rock's and Williamson County's economic development efforts. The center is also home to the 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) corporate headquarters of Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation (TGSL).[6] The walkability and connections within the mixed-use development[7] was an early form of New Urbanism.

The developers included stringent design guidelines, architectural controls, landscape requirements, and other codes and restrictions. Primary internal roadways were built and dedicated to the City of Round Rock as public roads (versus using private roads as is typical) prior to individual sites being developed or sold.[8] Significant portions of land were given to the Texas Highway Department for construction of SH45. In addition a unique combined "bundled utility" concept  along with a redundant, self-healing Sonet ring leading to an on-site telephonic switch was installed by TXU Electric and TXU Communications, both now a part of Energy Future Holdings Corporation; TXU provided one of the first instances in the State of Texas of "bundled utilities" of gas, electric, data, cable and telecom. [9]

Williamson County's only full-service hotel is the Austin North Marriott, located in La Frontera.

Phase I[edit]

La Frontera Village retail[edit]

Phase I of the project was La Frontera Village, which was the first retail portion of La Frontera to be built and was the largest outdoor commercial project in the greater Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area at the time.[10] La Frontera Village was developed by David Berndt Interests of Dallas[11] and Developers Diversified Realty Corporation. It consists of 880,000 square feet (80,000 m2) of retail space.
A separate additional 50,000 square feet (5,000 m2) retail center was developed by Waterstone Development (of Austin), as well as numerous restaurant and bank pad retail sites were sold by the development partnership.

Multi-tenant office buildings[edit]

Synermark Development also built the first office building, a 200,000-square-foot (19,000 m2) multi-tenant building called 301 Sundance.[12] Additional multi-tenant office buildings would be built by Koontz-McCombs of San Antonio, and Simmons Vedder of Austin.

Marriott Hotel[edit]

One of the first commercial users to build on-site was the Austin North Marriott hotel, a 298-room full-service hotel with restaurant, ballrooms, executive meeting rooms and concierge services. It is the only full-service hotel in Williamson County.[5] The hotel benefits from the proximity of Dell among other corporate clients. The hotel was built by and is owned and operated by Winegardner and Hammonds, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, a hotel operating company.[10] [1]
Winegardner and Hammonds in 1998 also purchased the final 2-acre (0.81 ha) site out of the original 330 acres, for a future additional hotel.[13]

Multi-family units[edit]

Martin Fein Interests of Houston built three major multi-family complexes within La Frontera:[14] The Enclave; Lakeside: and Frontera Square.

Phases II and III[edit]

Emerson Process Management purchased the two Fontera Vista buildings for their world headquarters in 2011.

Phase II within La Frontera was purchased in 2007 by the Simmons-Vedder Company of Houston and Austin and is planned for up to 2,000,000 square feet (200,000 m2) of office development.[15] Emerson Process Management purchased the first two office buildings, called Frontera Vista I and II, in July 2011, moving their world headquarters to Round Rock and occupying 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of office space with approximately 875 jobs,[16] and a projected 10,000 room nights in area hotels.[17]

Phase III was purchased by Cousins Properties [18] of Atlanta in 1998 for future development.


Austin development partners Don Martin and William S. "Bill" Smalling (1952-2009)[19] along with William V. "Bill" Boecker were the developers of La Frontera.[20] Fort Worth real estate financier Ed Bass provided the equity financing with Boecker of Fort Worth representing Bass on the development team.[21] The land was originally a cattle ranch and was purchased from Austinite Tom Kouri (1924-2007),[22] who raised cattle on the land and was an astute real estate investor, and for whom Kouri Avenue in the development was named in his honor."[2]


The project groundbreaking was in 1998 and all land within the development was entirely sold out by 2008."[2]

Movie site[edit]

In 1998 The Chainsaw House was moved from La Frontera to the Antlers Hotel in Kingsland, Texas[23]

The portion of the land where La Frontera now sits was the site of the primary filming of the 1974 cult movie classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre which was filmed in July and August 1973 in a dilapidated farm house on the La Frontera property (located on what was originally Quick Hill Road). Twenty-five years later, in 1998, the house was cut into seven pieces and moved to Kingsland, Texas, reassembled, and meticulously restored as a restaurant for the Antlers Hotel and historic railway district.[24] In Kingland it is sometimes known as the Texas Chainsaw House.[25] The house was a "pattern book" house, ordered from a catalog and assembled on site from a package of materials brought by wagon from a local lumber company. Research indicates it was likely built between 1908 and 1910. A second "twin" house was later discovered at La Frontera and was moved to Georgetown, Texas.[26] by Martin and Smalling and restored as part of San Gabriel Village development, overlookng the South San Gabriel river.[27]


  1. ^ Webster, Merriam. "Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary". 
  2. ^ a b c Ramussen, Blake (September 3, 2011). "La Frontera; Before commerce was king, cows ruled". Community Impact News. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "La Frontera Village for Sale". Austin Business Journal. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  4. ^ taboda, M.B. (April 26, 2007). "Austin apartment market is seeing a building boom". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Novak, Shonda (30 August 2007). "Deal is milestone for La Frontera". Austin American-Statesman. p. D1. 
  6. ^ "Texas Guarantee Student Loan Corp". 
  7. ^ Kaspar, Mary Alice (February 27, 2006). "Town Center Concept Planned for La Frontera". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  8. ^ Jacobs, Janet (June 28, 1999). "La Frontera puts roads before retail; Project will bring intense development to busy intersection". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Tenants in Round Rock development to be offered combined services". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). June 17, 1999. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Novak, Shonda (30 August 2007). "Deal is milestone for La Frontera". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). p. D1. 
  11. ^ Jacobs, Janet (June 28, 1999). "La Frontera puts roads before retail;Project will bring intense development to busy intersection". Austin American-Statesman (Pay Archives). Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Hudgins, Matt (January 1, 2002). "Five acres planned for offices". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  13. ^ Novak, Shonda; M.B. Taboda (August 30, 2007). "Deal is milestone for La Frontera". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  14. ^ Pounds, Alicia (June 25, 2001). "La Frontera apartments break ground 338 units planned". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Novak, Shonda (1 July 2001). "2 big projects are on tap for Williamson". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). Austin, TX. p. D1.  Retrieved 2011-02-31
  16. ^ Lyon, Cody (June 17, 2011). "Emerson buys office in Round Rock, will have 875 workers". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  17. ^ Rassmussen, Blake (5 August 2011). "The Emerson Effect". Community Impact Newspaper. Round Rock, Pflugerville, TX. p. 1.  Retrieved 2011-08-14
  18. ^ Kaspar, Mary Alice (April 5, 2004). "Cousins to enter retail market". Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  19. ^ Shiffler, S.Ann (September 17, 1999). "Real Estate Deals of 1999 Overall Winner. Real Estate Profile: Don Martin and Bill Smalling". Austin Business Journal. 
  20. ^ Davenport, Christian (10 December 1988). "Round Rock May Get Retail Project: Arboretum-like development slated for I-35 and FM 1325". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  21. ^ Novak, Shonda; Melissa Taboda (August 30, 2007). "Deal is Milestone for La Frontera". Austin American-Statesman (Archives). p. D1. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  22. ^ "Tom Kouri Obituary". Austin American-Statesman. December 26, 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  23. ^ "Restaurant". The Antlers Inn. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 
  24. ^ Pack, MM (2003-10-23). "The Killing Fields: A culinary history of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' farmhouse". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  25. ^ "The Junction House". 
  26. ^ Matt Phillips. "TCM Sister House". web publication. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  27. ^ Dorsch, Jeff (20 January 2002). "Twin to Texas Chainsaw Massacre House Moves to Georgetown". Williamson County Sun. 

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