LEANDER, Texas -- Leander is the fourth fastest-growing city in the state of Texas, and city leaders say the days of being a so-called suburb of Austin are about to end.
The little city of Leander is growing up.
"What's changed? Everything's changing," said Bridget Brandt, president of Leander's Chamber of Commerce. She says an award-winning school district and lower home prices compared to Austin are what's luring people in.
"In the next five years, Leander really is set to just explode and we know that and we're really excited about it," she said.
Leander mayor Christopher Fielder says the city has 62 square milesofbuildablespace. A map provided by the city shows more than two dozen new developments being built, and in the planning stages across the city.
"We have about 14,000 homes under some form of development," said Fielder. "Either platted, pre-platted, starting construction, development agreements. That 14,000 is a 10 to 15 year build out."
In a few months construction on Leander's first five-story building will be finished. It will be the tallest structure in the city. And ACC is building a new campus by Leander's Metrorail station.
"That's definitely driving the growth of homes here," Brandt said.
Fielder says the city's plan is to first bring in people, then more retailers.
"Our retail and salestaxareup16 - 18 percent a year, year over year," he said.
But Leander city leaders also know what's missing: Major employers. Leander doesn't offer incentives for companies to move to that area, but some are still interested.
"We are working on recruiting those literally even as we speak, and so we want Leander to become not just a placetolive butaplace to work, play, stay," Brandt said.
And city leaders say all their infrastructure planning will help make the growth as painless as possible.
"We've been predicted by demographers to be the largest city in Williamson County in the next 25 years," Fielder said.
Right now Leander's population is estimated to be just over 38,000. Demographers say in the next 20 - 25 years, that number could go as high as 250,000.