CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — As the healthcare industry takes shape in Marble Falls, economic development officials reported an influx in related and ancillary businesses, including specialty clinics, fast-food eateries, and housing developments.
“There are a lot of things going on right now in Marble Falls on a number of fronts: residential, multi-family, commercial activity,” said Marble Falls EDC Executive Director Christian Fletcher. “We had a good year in 2016, and that seems to be continuing into the first part of 2017.”
The trend over several years has improved the overall economic climate of the community.
“Sales tax, building permits, hotel tax — all have been good. It’s been slow, steady growth for a number of years,” he said. “That has helped withstand some of the peaks and valleys that other communities of our size closer to Austin have experienced.”
Officials credit a notable amount of the expansion to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, 810 Texas 71 West just off the intersection of U.S. 281.
“The healthcare expansion is something we’ve been looking forward to for a long time with the opening of the hospital. We thought there would be a ripple effect, and there has been,” Fletcher said. “Those are quality jobs in healthcare.”
The healthcare-related expansion includes:
- Seton Marble Falls Healthcare Center, 1800 Mormon Mill Drive, which specializes in primary family care, diabetes management, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and gynecology.
- Highland Lakes Medical Supply, 2121 U.S. 281, which sells retail medical uniforms and some equipment and supplies related to the healthcare field.
- Austin Heart, 103 Max Starcke Dam Road, Suite 100, which specializes in cardiac and vascular care.
- Westlake Dermatology, which will move from a suite in a strip center on RR 2147 to a larger standalone facility at 800 U.S. 281.
Another area of growth involves the arrival of more fast-food eateries in the community.
“Retail and other services are going to come with the population growth that we’re seeing in the southern end of the county, even more so than just in Marble Falls proper,” Fletcher said. “It is really the region that is growing and driving the demand for those services.”
Fletcher said while his office did reach out to Chick-Fil-A, under construction at 2105 U.S. 281, other chain eateries found the city on their own.
“When you have H-E-B make announcements like they have on their expansion, Chick-Fil-A coming to town … other (businesses) take notice,” he said.
An overall assessment of consumer purchasing habits and building permits reflect the outward signs of growth within the community.
“Sales tax was up about 4 percent this February compared to last February. It was the best month we’d ever had in terms of number, in terms of receipts for December and the fourth quarter of 2016,” Fletcher said. “Overall, we’re about 6 percent higher than where we were same time last year.
“Building permits, we’re right at $60 million over the last 12 months. That’s a little bit higher than the previous 12-month period, which was about $58 million,” he added. “Hotel tax is up about 5 percent year over year, bolstered by a strong (November and December).”
The following is a list of businesses and industry either under construction or that have unveiled plans to make a move to Marble Falls:
- Sawmill Partners, awaiting property closure in a newly developed portion of the Marble Falls Business and Technology Park just off U.S. 281 North, is expected to break ground by late summer on a wholesale lumber sales and display office.
- Panda Express is awaiting potential closure on a property in the 2100 block of U.S. 281.
- Burger King has alerted city officials of its plans to break ground following the razing of structures in the southwest corner of U.S. 281 and RR 1431. The eatery could break ground 90 days from the completed demolition.
- Chick-Fil-A, 2105 U.S. 281 North, is under construction and plans to open by summer of this year.
- Bealls is scheduled to be relocated sometime this spring within a new 45,000-square-foot, multi-tenant retail building at 1400 RR 1431. The space includes two additional 5,000-square-foot retail spaces.
- The Homestead at Mormon Mill, 1301 Max Copeland Drive, involves a nine-building structure with 133 apartments, expected to open in the fall.
- Arbor House Cottages, 1701 King Road, comprised of 10 single-story duplexes with 20 living units, reportedly will accept tenants by the end of 2017.