DALLAS — The Round Rock City Council is considering building a 60,000-square-foot indoor sports complex in the growing suburb just north of Austin.
Officials project the new facility to cost about $38 million with funding possibly done through the sale of revenue bonds secured by the city’s hotel-occupancy tax.
“It’s still in the discussion stages right now,” said Garry Kimball, managing director of Specialized Public Finance Inc., a financial adviser to the city. “But it appears they may tap into the hotel-occupancy revenue, as there is a substantial amount coming in as opposed to what they’re already using that tax for. So they certainly have the capacity to do it.”
The facility would further the city’s efforts to attract regional and national sports tournaments year round, as the convention and visitors bureau tries to brand Round Rock as “The Sports Capital of Texas.”
The city already hosts numerous baseball, soccer, volleyball, and track and field tournaments each summer at its sprawling outdoor facility — the 570-acre Old Settlers Park.
SPFI and First Southwest Co. are the city’s financial advisers at the moment.
Last November, Kimball and six other former First Southwest partners left the Dallas-based firm to start formed SPFI in Austin. Kimball said Round Rock put out a request for proposals earlier this year and is close to deciding on one full-time financial adviser.
McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP serves as bond counsel.
Earlier this year, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the city’s underlying general obligation rating to AA-plus from AA, citing rapid tax-base growth and a “very strong” general fund balance of $37.5 million.
A toll road that opened a few years ago has increased access to Austin, and a mall of premium outlet stores that sits on Interstate 35 has been a boon to the city’s finances. Round Rock’s taxable-assessed value increased 53% the past five years to $7.4 billion for fiscal 2008, according to analysts.
Moody’s Investors Service rates the city’s GO credit at Aa3. Fitch Ratings doesn’t rate the city’s GO credit, but rates the hotel-occupancy revenue bonds outstanding at A.
Round Rock was home to less than 25,000 people in 1980 and about 61,100 in 2000.
Now more than 100,000 people live in the once rural community about 15 miles north of downtown Austin. Dell Computer Corp., which was founded in 1984, has its headquarters in Round Rock.
Earlier this year, the Census Bureau said the Austin-Round Rock area was the second-fastest growing metropolitan area in the country between 2007 and last year, adding some 60,000 new residents and pushing the total population of the area to about 1.7 million.
Austin’s current population of about 736,000 is up 12% from the start of the decade.
Kimball said the area “has simply exploded” but officials have done a good job handling the growth pressures, as evidenced by the high ratings.