Hays County, between Austin TX and San Antonio TX, is one of the fastest growing counties in Texas – the 28th fastest growing county in the United States. Much of Hays County’s population is located at or near Interstate 35, the fastest-growing urban corridor in the United States connecting two of Texas’s largest cities. Its population increased 51% between 1991 and 2001. Founded in 1848, Hays County TX has grown from less than 500 residents to nearly 140,000 today.
In Hays County, between the TX Hill Country and the Blackland Prairie, business owners and employees enjoy an exceptional quality of life in this area. A wide variety of commercial, industrial and retail real estate sites are available for business expansion, at the heart of Central Texas’s advanced technology corridor in the area. Ancient springs, abundant creeks and rivers, historic charm and natural beauty make Hays County an ideal place to live, play, and work.
Major employers in Hays County, each with more than 1,000 employees, include the Texas State University, Prime Outlets, and Tanger Factory Outlet Center. The county’s farms and ranches produce more than $11 million a year in food and fiber products each year. Since 1965, the Gary Job Corps Training Center, the largest center of its kind in the United States, has provided thousands of skilled workers to Texas businesses in the area.
Two Hays County business locations are poised to become the most-visited tourist attractions in Texas, after the Alamo and the River Walk in San Antonio TX. Already, more than 9 million shoppers each year visit Tanger Outlet Center and Prime Outlets, two adjacent complexes in north San Marcos, with more than 240 combined stores. In Buda, just south of Austin TX, as many as 3.6 million outdoor enthusiasts soon could be visiting the new Cabela’s Superstore annually, according to the company’s estimates. For a century, visitors have been drawn to the caves and springs of Wimberley and San Marcos. Aquarena Springs and Wonder Cave are the best known in the area.
By 2031, the population of Hays County is estimated to exceed 240,000, almost double its current population. Between 2000 and 2005, Kyle, the county’s second largest town, grew more than 160%. In San Marcos, Prime Outlets has added 31 more stores in a 170,000-square-foot expansion. Nearby, an 11-story, 250+-room Embassy Suites hotel and a 76,000-square-foot conference center complex was built at an estimated total cost of around $60 million. And the same contractor who built the Cabela’s superstore in Buda is also building a 71,000-square-foot medical center there in the area. In downtown San Marcos, a $151 million Town Center development is planned.
In San Marcos, the county seat and largest city, the cost of living is lower than the national average, the unemployment rate is lower than the Texas unemployment rate overall. Located between the State Capitol of Austin and the Alamo City of San Antonio, San Marcos is home to Texas State University and the best outlet mall shopping in the Southwest, according to the owners. Taxes are lower than Austin and San Antonio, plus bond ratings are high. San Marcos city government is committed to growing businesses and revenue while protecting the area’s natural resources.
The San Marcos Electric Utility has maintained a 99.98% reliability rating for more than 21 years. The city’s 24-hour-a-day wastewater treatment facility has twice the capacity it needs, preparing for decades of expansion. The clear San Marcos Springs, the second largest in Texas, delivers over 102 million clean gallons of water each day, feeding the San Marcos River as it wanders through the city, past cypress and pecan trees, along green city parks and the university campus of Texas State.
With more than 28,000 students, seven colleges and 210 degree programs, the century-old Texas State University – San Marcos is one of the 75 largest universities in the United States of America, the largest campus in the Texas State University System, and the sixth largest in the state of Texas.
Besides San Marcos, Hays County’s largest towns over 1,000 people include Kyle, Buda, Wimberley, Dripping Springs, and Wood Creek. Smaller communities have their own charm, such as Niederwald, Uhland, Bear Creek Village, Hays City, and Mountain City. Nearly 50,000 live in unincorporated areas of Hays County, TX.