Following a Hutto City Council public work session this evening (Nov. 3) with the developer of The Hutto Co-Op District, the City is headed back to the table this month to negotiate new terms and more controls over the much anticipated mixed-use development.
The meeting was requested by developer MA Partners LLC and Butler Financial and was open to the public. In opening remarks, project financial lead Matt Harris provided Council with several updates including the news that—after a year of talks—Jack Allen’s Kitchen officially signed a lease last week to build a sit-down restaurant in The Hutto Co-Op. Marking its 6th location in the Austin area, the iconic upscale eatery would be located toward the north end of the 35-acre walkable development, away from Hwy 79 and closer to Hutto City Hall; it will be built in tandem with the first of multiple parking garages at The Co-Op. Harris said Jack Allen’s would open in approximately 18 months.
Harris also indicated that Top Notch burgers should be open around this New Year’s at The Co-Op, and Cocina Jalisco shortly thereafter. No updates were discussed about the potential opening dates of the hippo splash pad and the amphitheater that have appeared completed for several months.
Harris shared his ideas for possible occupants of The Co-Op and asked the City Council members for their feedback on how best to move forward. The project has been in the works for more than five years, stalling significantly during the pandemic and remaining slow to proceed ever since—despite City leaders consistently pushing for progress. The Co-Op is currently home to Southside Market BBQ and Hutto City Hall and Library. It also includes historic structures such as The Gin building and a group of original silos harkening back to Hutto’s proud agricultural roots. The Co-Op stands to someday be well connected to Historic Downtown Hutto just a few blocks to the east down Live Oak Street.
City Council members made it clear tonight they want assurances in writing that the project will fulfill its promise in a timely manner to become a vibrant hub of well branded dining, entertainment, and shopping options with sufficient parking. If apartments or day-time only businesses are to be included, the City wants guarantees that they will be limited in number and ideally only occupy upper floors – keeping the first floor as priority for businesses that stay open in the evenings and weekends.
The Council also asked MA Partners to begin communicating in a more timely and consistent manner with City leaders about tenants and construction.
City Manager James Earp has successfully negotiated similar agreements in the past and is eager to come to the table with MA Partners this month and bring back an updated agreement to Council in the next several weeks.