A dynamic city collaborating for the best future
With great links to surrounding cities and a young demographic, Manor, Texas’s star is on the rise
Manor is a small city with great potential situated on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. It’s a fast-growing city with caring and supportive locals, 70% of whom are under the age of 45.
According to Realtor.com in 2018, it was the 7th fastest growing suburb in the country and was ranked 17th best small suburb to live in by U.S. News and World Report in 2019.
The city is centered around its school district, which is the major employer.
“Manor, Texas is a united and strong community. As the city grows, we are planning on expanding safe spaces for the youth and collaborative spaces for organizations. We will continue to support small businesses and bring in retail and commercial opportunities for the residents,” says Christopher Harvey, Mayor of Manor, Texas.
Management put together its first comprehensive master plan, which was approved by the city council, in December 2022. This plan sets out a plan based on feedback from the local community.
Actionable steps are included in the plan to improve quality of life, such as infrastructure, water, wastewater, and the addition of regional employment centers.
Building this new ecosystem is important to the city, which is currently working with Workforce Solutions Capital Area, the Texas Workforce Commission, and many employers to create jobs. Targeted employers for the area are industries such as advanced manufacturing, IT, health, the sciences, and higher education.
“Even with all the progress, it still holds onto that small town feeling, where neighbors know and support each other, and everyone goes to watch the Friday Night Lights,” says Mayor Harvey.
In 2022 the city council took steps to set aside capital for economic development incentives.
Before 2022, there wasn’t an economic development department in the city. It was established by the city council under Mayor Harvey’s leadership.
In the same year, the city was able to secure a Chapter 380 agreement for the Butler tract, which is a large retail center that the community needed called Manor Crossing. This project should be built out by 2025.
The city hopes to secure another Chapter 380 agreement for a retail and mixed-use development opposite the Butler tract at the intersection of 973 and 290, called Manor Commons. Manor Crossing will be built on 75 acres of land, and Manor Commons will cover 47 acres.
“We hope to do something similar to what we achieved last year, with the particular agreements put in place and city council approval. About 60,000 cars a day drive through the intersection of 973 and 290,” says Scott Moore, City Manager of Manor Texas.
City management is driven to keep this momentum and work with Travis County and other agencies that played a vital role in building out infrastructure.
While courting large retailers, the city is also looking at encouraging smaller, entrepreneurial businesses to the area by reviewing codes, compensation plans being approved, and trying to identify opportunities for smaller operations.
With the city’s major employer being the school district, management would love to connect these new businesses to the schools. As a city with young inhabitants, the importance of apprenticeships and work placement programs can not be understated. Workforce development for the school district and other industries is overseen by the Mayor currently.
“These training programs will allow high school or college graduates to walk into jobs. While they work at these manufacturing plants, they get the opportunity to study and attain a degree. This is a large part of the overarching plan to provide a workforce to fill these roles and attract new businesses to the area,” says Scott Jones, Economic Development Director of Manor, Texas.
Jones elaborates further, “Many large companies ask us what workforce we have available and how deep it is. And this is followed by whether or not we have workforce development programs available to support their businesses.”
Providing a positive response that the city has a workforce program, training program, and several colleges involved with high educational institutions is a must for the city’s future.
Manor is home to an industrial corridor under development. A major project in the planning stages is the regional wastewater treatment plant, which will require infrastructure for transporting water in and out of the area.
Another large industrial development in the works is related to the sale of 262 acres of land to a foreign company that will establish a manufacturing facility, opening a new area for the city to develop.
Associated with the aforementioned Manor Commons and Manor Crossing developments is the development of a new professional employment center.
“These are large developments. Manor Crossing will cost roughly $70 million, with restaurants, retail outlets, and great amenities for our citizens. It is a welcomed addition to the communities as the city can use this new tax revenue for new projects,” says Jones.
In the next few months, management will be presenting Manor Commons Phase 3 to the council, the additional 47-acre development with more retail and restaurant outlets, lodging and financial services such as banks.
With all these developments planned, the city is pleased that its infrastructure is up to the challenge. Highway 973 is being expanded north with a six-lane divided thoroughfare coming from the Tesla factory, per presentations by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Companies are also moving to the area because the quality of life for their employees is important, including the quantity and cost of housing available to them.
Currently, there are 14,000 additional housing units in various stages of planning in Manor, Texas. It’s estimated that this could take 7 to 15 years to build out, depending on economic conditions. “Manor has a high demand for property with large employers such as Tesla situated southwest of the city and Samsung to the north,” says Scott Dunlop, Director of Development Services of Manor, Texas.
This demand for housing has been ongoing for around 20 to 25 years. Manor is largely a commuter city, but the city’s management wants to change this dynamic and get people to live, work and play within Manor, Texas. Attracting business is essential to this formula.
These developing residential areas will be a part of new subdivisions, with a large focus on parks and preserving some commercial space if they face major roadways.
Housing demands over the last two years have been mainly focused on townhomes and multi-family dwellings. Previous home development in the area has left vacant tracts between subdivisions, ranging between 10 to 20 acres, that are now being filled.
“These projects started with planning for 200 to 250 units, and now we’re getting up to 600 units, which are a part of multi-phase projects. This led us to create a townhome zoning category. As soon as this was established, people started requesting land,” says Dunlop.
Recently the city council approved the sale of “paper streets” or “vacant right of way alleys” in the downtown area for 95 homes. These will require sidewalks and infrastructure but will mean inhabitants will be within walking distance of shops.
And another sizable residential project of 335 units is also underway, which illustrates a real variety in demand for all types of housing in Manor, Texas. This project aims to create a rental market where employees of companies moving to the area will have options for temporary homes.
The residents of Manor and the city management team are focused on establishing a new library in the city. This is currently in the planning stages and included in the city’s master plan, and many viable options have been floated to meet this need. Strategic planning for downtown is another upcoming city project.
With developers moving into the city, Manor is looking for additional partners, solutions and financing for infrastructure development. This would include extending roads, water, and sewer systems. Currently, the city is reaching out to neighboring cities, like Elgin, to collaborate in regional planning, such as connecting to a new water supplier and possibly a wastewater system.
“One of the biggest emphasis that the mayor had prior to us coming on board is how we can think about and lead projects regionally,” says Moore.
By doing this, the city will prevent overstretching its capabilities, expand regionally, and be in a position to add services. Also, expanding approved plans allows the city to indicate to developers where they can assist with future projects.
City management is grateful to its partners, such as Travis County, who develop the roads and bridges infrastructure, allowing the city to accommodate the city’s growth into unincorporated land that won’t be taken from families in the future.
Other influential strategic partners include Opportunity Austin via the Austin Regional Chamber. The city does a lot of reconnaissance with Opportunity Austin, who is even sponsoring an upcoming event in Manor. Manor’s Economic Development Department also ensures they regularly visit the Governor’s office to discuss economic development and responds to Requests for Information submitted by the ED&T Team.
Mayor Harvey wanted to personally thank “Leslie Tran Le from the Greater Austin Asian Chamber, Daffney Henry from Aldion Group Realty, Aldo Fritz, an experienced urban planner from TJKM Transportation Consultants, Dusty McCormick, Economic & Businesss Liaison with the Economic Development Department of the City of Austin, and Amy Madison, Executive Director at the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation, for their contributions to the city. We’re so glad to have collaborated with these individuals who believed in our city’s dream.”
The city management team believes in maintaining one-to-one personal relationships with all its partners and volunteers.
Moving into the future, the city hopes to review and optimize key components of the new comprehensive master plan. In the upcoming year, the city would like to bring in more corporate partners to work with the city, community, and districts.
One major target project is attracting a regional hospital to the city, and the mayor would like to facilitate plans for this.
With the City of Manor’s residents so closely woven, city management wants to plan more community events and more celebrations on a bigger scale. And in the coming months, they will share even bigger plans for the future and add more accomplishments to the wonderful progress thus far.
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AT A GLANCE
What: Vibrant city with economic projects in the works and growth on the radar
Where: Just outside Austin, Texas
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