Don't expect to see a construction crane over Manuel's Mexican restaurant — or over any other restaurant or retailer in the Great Hills Market shopping center, for that matter — for at least the next six years.
The owners of Manuel's were recently able to secure a lease renewal through the end of 2025 that would also affect the rest of the 17-acre Arboretum-area center, where retailers like Pier 1 and arthouse theater Regal 8 Arbor Cinema, are located. In 2017, developers announced a plan to turn the site into a mixed-use project, which would take the place of Manuel's and the other businesses.
But built into the restaurant's original lease was a market-rate renewal option that the co-owners, including Greg Koury and Jennifer McNevin, decided to implement. The extension keeps Manuel's and the other Great Hills retailers up and running for another six years.
The property owner of the 17-acre site "stated that the redevelopment plan has been placed on hold indefinitely, and that they will most likely revisit the plan in 3-4 years, and possibly redevelop in 2026," said Lance Morris, president of the Retail Connection, the retail brokerage that leases the center.
Manuel's Great Hills restaurant opened in 1998 at 10201 Jollyville Road, although the brand has been around since 1984, when Koury opened the first Manuel's on Congress Avenue in 1984. Both locations have the same menu of Mexican cuisine, but what stands out at the Arboretum eatery is the lush garden patio that doesn't feel like it's right in the middle of a Northwest Austin shopping center.
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The first phase of the mixed-use project now on hold would redevelop only 6 acres of the 17-acre site, but it was contingent on the expiration of Manuel's lease.
"Thankfully, our ground lease extension will enable us to stay right where we belong," McNevin said in a news release.
American-Statesman real estate reporter Shonda Novak contributed to this report.