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GEORGETOWN, TX-A sizable chunk of a downtown doesn’t come on the market every day, but that’s what is happening in fast-growing Georgetown. The move of a vehicle dealership to Interstate 35 opens up five blocks near the historic square of the Williamson County seat.

A variety of uses have been mentioned for the property, from mixed commercial, retail and residential to government. Eric DeJernett, Jerry Heare and Dean Janeff, all of NAI Commercial Industrial Properties Co. in Austin, have just begun to market the property. “We’re trying to gauge the demand,” Janeff tells GlobeSt.com.

Charlie Walker, Georgetown’s director of economic development, says the city probably would like to see a mixed-use project that includes a residential element on the property.Janeff and DeJernett say that’s a possibility, especially if a development with a “New Urbanist” bent gets hold of it. They would prefer to sell the parcels to one buyer, but splitting them up will be considered, Janeff says.

A goal of developing the property would be to create more activity downtown, Janeff says. A project could have retail on the ground floor with commercial and residential uses above.

Not that a developer would want to erect a skyscraper in downtown Georgetown, but proposed guidelines would limit the height of new structures. The guidelines, which are expected to be finalized this fall, would keep buildings to three stories or less.

The Draeger parcels are situated along Austin Street, the main thoroughfare through downtown. Two of the Draeger blocks are due north of the square surrounding the Williamson County Courthouse; two are west of those blocks; and the fifth is two blocks west of the square and a block north. The courthouse square is lined with shops and restaurants that do an active tourist business.

The property is still occupied by the Mac Haik Ford dealership, but it’s scheduled to join a flock of other auto dealers who have set up shop on Interstate 35. Property owners Ron and James Draeger sold the dealership to Houston-based Haik, but kept the land.

The dealership is the second–and last–to leave downtown for a spot on high-traffic I-35. Don Hewlett Chevrolet abandoned three parcels south of the square. It’s only been in recent years that utilities and other infrastructure were available for such operations on the interstate, says Ercel Brashear of Georgetown-based Brashear Properties. He represented Hewlett in the sale of its downtown properties.

Brashear tells GlobeSt.com it took two years to sell the Hewlett parcels. One went for a gift shop; a second to a church, which will use it for meeting space; and a third to the county for parking.

Does he have advice for the folks at NAI CIP? “No,” he says. “They’re professionals. They know what they’re doing.

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