Shopping centers and restaurants seem to grow out of the ground here in Buda. However, these developments are often the result of hard work done by our city government and Economic Development Corporation. This is the story of how Buda came together to bring Cabela’s to town.
In 1893 a man named Few Rylander moved his family to Buda. He bought 546 acres of land on the northeast side of Buda. This land was on both sides of Onion Creek and the part of today’s Main street that runs from the railroad tracks to IH 35.
Cotton was the staple crop of the area and that is what the Rylander family grew until the late 1920’s. By the early 1930’s drought, erosion, boll weavils, and government regulations forced the family to switch to cattle raising and dairying. During the 1940’s Don Rylander grew up helping his family in the cattle and dairy business. He left Buda, graduated from college and then made his mark in the business world. He returned to the Buda family farm in 1972 to stay.
Don Rylander quietly lived on his 126-acre farm raising cattle and horses for the next 30 years. He was often seen riding his bicycle down to the post office on Main street with his small dog in the basket.
The city of Buda created The DuPree Development Corporation to manage the retail development on the 126 acres through a tax Increment Reinvestment Zone. The Buda Economic Development Corporation under the auspices of The DuPre Corporation approached Rylander about selling his property. A mysterious company had made its interests known that they were interested in a large retail location near IH 35 in Buda. The Rylander Farm fit the bill. The Dupree Corporation purchased the land.
The Buda City Council and the Hays County Commissioners Court determined that the development of the site would not exceed $36 million. The costs eventually were determined to be $31,762.922. The city of Buda used revenue bonds to finance the project. The city’s goal was to create a retail center that would generate jobs and sales tax.
A sales contract was written and Rylander agreed to sell his farm for about $10 million. After the sale closed the city of Buda used revenue bonds to pay for the development of the site. The mystery buyer turned out to be Cabelas, the World’s foremost Outfitter and sporting goods store. They started construction in 2004.
As the closing of the sale approached Don Rylander was notified that he would have to pay a $300,000 roll-back tax bill, since his commercial property previously had an agriculture exemption that allowed him to pay very low taxes each year. The tax bill almost wrecked the deal, but Cabela’s agreed to pay the tax bill for Rylander.
On June, 29, 2005 Cabala’s opened their 185,000 square foot Buda store. It was sold as a tourist attraction with museum quality displays and large aquariums. The Buda EDC owns 20% of the building and about 1/3 of the land under the building.
Don Rylander took some of his proceeds and bought a tract of land adjacent to Bastrop State Park. He donated his new property to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for expansion of the park. Rylander included the stipulation that he could live on the property until he died. TPWD has the right to convert it to parkland after that time.
For Buda, this sale transformed the entryway of the city. Other businesses wanted to be at this same location. Wal Mart and Mavericks Dance Hall are both built on part of the old Rylander Farm. Restaurants also came to the site. Our eating choices now include, Logan’s Road House, Cracker Barrell, Jaliscos, Chilis, Panda Express, Arby’s, Frulati Café, and Double Dave’s Pizza. Hamburger choices abound. We have Dan’s Hamburgers, Hat Creek Burger and Whataburger.
Buda now is a very different place because of Don Rylander’s sale of this large, strategically located piece of property. In many ways Cabela’s put Buda on the map for future development. We’re thankful for the dedicated people in our city government and Economic Development Corporation- they ensure that Buda has grown sustainably and in a way that benefits the people of our fine city.