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Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos

Austin Lakeline Station affordable housing planned 


AUSTIN - Nonprofit Foundation Communities is slated to begin construction on an affordable housing complex near Capital Metro’s Lakeline Station Park & Ride in 2015 to provide low-income families with access to public transportation, retail and jobs.

The property, located in Northwest Austin, is named Lakeline Station Apartments and will be located at 13635 Rutledge Spur Rd.

Upon completion, the property will have 128 units including 13 units dedicated for families transitioning out of homelessness. The complex will have one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, and average rent for an apartment will be about $650 per month.

Residents who live at Foundation Communities properties typically make an average annual income of $25,000, said Julian Huerta, deputy executive director at Foundation Communities.

Austin-based Foundation Communities offers housing, education and financial planning services to low- and moderate-income families.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs gifted $30 million in funding to Foundation Communities on July 31 to build three low-income residential properties in Austin, including Lakeline Station Apartments.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Pflugerville chooses 150-acre tract for fourth high school 


PFLUGERVILLE - Pflugerville ISD (PISD) has chosen a 150-acre tract off Weiss Lane near Lake Pflugerville for the district’s fourth high school.

Construction is expected to begin before the end of the year, with the expectation of opening for the 2017-18 school year.

The high school was approved by district voters in May as part of a $287 million bond package and will be home to 2,500 students.

The site is expected to become the home to additional campuses in the future, as the district is seeing most of its growth east of SH 130.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

ABoR: Austin area home sales Sept. 2014 

(10/17/2014 7:55:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin Board of Realtors has released home sales facts for September 2014. Below is a snippet of cities that you might want to see. There's more at the link below!

• The median price of existing single-family homes decreased to $239,900, down 2.5 percent vs. August 2014.
• Existing single-family home sales decreased 12 percent from August 2014 for a total of 2,160 sold units.
• Condos decreased in price to $201,000, down 4.3 percent vs. August 2014.
• Existing condo sales decreased 20.5 percent from August 2014 for a total of 210 sold units.

Select region cities are represented below along with statistics from the ABoR MLS area as a whole.

Austin Region Sales and Price Activity by Units Sold
MLS Wide Median Price
  Sept. 2014
Price Chg.
Sept. 2013
Units Sold
Sept. 2014 
Sale Chg.
Sept. 2013
ACTRIS* (single-family) $239,900 9.0% 2,160 3.6%
ACTRIS (condo) $201,000 6.3% 210 -8.3%
Region Cities**        
Austin $304,000 8.6% 867 0.5%
Round Rock $219,000 12.3% 237 1.7%
Cedar Park $262,750 14.2% 146 15.9%
Georgetown $250,000 13.6% 139 24.1%
Pflugerville $187,000 8.7% 116 2.7%
Leander $194,500 12.4% 102 7.4%
Kyle $163,000 7.2% 72 4.3%
Hutto    $159,000 8.7% 53 0.0%
Buda $200,000 8.1% 35 -30.0%

*Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service
**Data include single-family only and represent select region cities that sold at least 35 units during September 2014.

See Housing under Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources or see the full report from the Austin Board of Realtors.

Austin ranks among America's best 'college destinations' 

(10/15/2014 8:55:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin area — home to the University of Texas, St. Edwards University, Austin Community College, Concordia University Texas and others — was ranked the No. 2 mid-sized metro college destination in America by a new report from the American Institute of Economic Research.

The report, the 2014 edition of its annual College Destinations Index, ranked the top 75 metro areas in the U.S. for college students.

“These cities offer opportunity and a high quality of life not just for students, but for residents as well,” said Luke Delorme, the researcher behind the study. “People considering a new place to live or open a business would do well to consider these locations.”

The College Destinations Index ranks locales by the number of college students per capita, the cost of housing for a two-bedroom apartment, walkability, culture, economic health and research and development dollars available per student.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

See the full report at the American Institute for Economic Research.

Austin Fifth & West condo tower set to start 


AUSTIN - Construction is set to begin on Fifth & West Residences, a 39-story tower planned for the northeast corner of Fifth St. and West St.

Demolition on a building that housed the Texas Press Association will start later this month to make way for the new tower, which will bring 154 new luxury condos to market when it opens in fall 2017.

Units will start in the $500,000s, according to Scott Dunaway, a spokesman for the developer, Riverside Resources.

The upscale tower will include conference spaces, outdoor and lounge areas, a fitness center, a yoga studio, a pool deck and a dog park — complete with an indoor lounge and coffee bar.

At 448 feet, the tower will be the fifth tallest downtown, after the Austonian, the 360 Condominiums, the W Austin Hotel & Residences and Frost Bank Tower.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

St. David's Foundation firm on $22M Austin HQ 


AUSTIN - Construction is underway at the corner of 13th St. and San Antonio St. for St. David’s Foundation’s new headquarters.

Upon completion, the $22 million headquarters, located at 1303 San Antonio St., will house its grant writing department and operations for all of its programs, according to Lisa Trahan, director of communications.

St. David’s Foundation is a nonprofit partner of St. David’s HealthCare and currently leases space downtown on Barton Springs Rd.

St. David's Foundation programs serve the Austin metropolitan area and include mobile dental services, scholarships for aspiring health care professionals and initiatives for mental health, healthy living and clinics for the safety net population.

The nonprofit hopes to move into the building in 2015, and will occupy two of the four floors. The foundation has yet to find tenants for the remaining two floors.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Hotel ZaZa high-end apartments, hotel to downtown Austin  

(10/13/2014 8:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction is about to begin on a 24-story tower that will include a high-end Hotel ZaZa and more than 200 apartments across from Republic Square Park in downtown Austin.

The apartments and 160-room boutique Hotel ZaZa are scheduled to be completed in late 2016, according to Z-Resorts and Gables Residential, which are partnering in the project.

The site at W. 4th St. between Guadalupe St. and Lavaca St. is currently used for parking. The hotel entrance will be on Lavaca St. and the apartment entrance will face Guadalupe St.

Rates for the Austin Hotel ZaZa are projected to range from $195 to $495 per night.

The hotel is expected to employ about 140 people, said Benji Homsey, president of Texas-based Z-Resorts Management LLC, the development and management group for Hotel ZaZa.

The hotel will have two restaurants, a bar, a spa, conference and event space and a pool overlooking Republic Square Park.

The apartments, which will be built atop the hotel, will have a separate, private rooftop pool.

Austin will be the third Texas market for the ZaZa brand, which also has locations in Houston and Dallas.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Lottery for South Austin's 15-unit Solavera homes 


AUSTIN - Meritage Homes Corp. construction on Solavera will start by the end of the year. The upscale 15-unit development is in the South Lamar Blvd. corridor.

Solavera encompasses a little over three acres at 2807 Del Curto Rd., a short distance east of the intersection of South Lamar Blvd. and Manchaca Rd.

Prices will likely begin in the $600,000s for the contemporary-styled houses that range in size from 1,814 sf to 2,866 sf.

Interest in Solavera is so strong that the home builder will hold a lottery for qualified buyers. Potential buyers must be prequalified for a loan of $520,000 or more, according to Charlie Coleman, Austin division president of Meritage Homes.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

North Austin land buy; next step to Montebello 140 homes 


AUSTIN - Home builder Taylor Morrison has purchased more than 50 acres at 9100 N. RR 620, between RR 2222 and Anderson Mill Rd.

The home builder will develop a 140-site detached condominium residential community on the tract, with plans to begin development this fall.

The new community, Montebello will offer single-family homes ranging from 1,800 sf to more than 2,700 sf, with a mix of one- and two-story homes.

Montebello is zoned to Leander ISD and backs up to the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. The property is currently located in the City of Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction but is slated for public hearings on its annexation in October.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper and at PR Web.

Pflugerville Home Decor Superstore At Home in 101,000 SF 

(10/9/2014 2:00:00 PM)

PFLUGERVILLE - At Home, the home decor superstore, will host grand opening events for a new 101,000-sf store at 19000 Limestone Commercial Dr. on October 9 at 11 a.m.

At Home offers an expansive selection of more than 50,000 items — including patio furniture, home furnishings, wall decor and decorative accents, rugs and housewares.

The company will be opening another Austin-area location in Cedar Park later in October. Including the Pflugerville location, At Home currently operates 79 stores across 21 states.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Listen to Podcast 230 for this story and more.

Austin industrial 3Q 2014 REOC 

(10/9/2014 6:43:00 AM)

AUSTIN - REOC has released third quarter 2014 data for Austin’s industrial market. Despite some notable leases, the market remained relatively quiet.

The lackluster gain was not nearly enough to make up for the 168,774 sf of negative absorption recorded in 2Q 2014 and did little to boost the cumulative absorption which now stands at 71,663 sf of negative net absorption year-to-date.

The local industrial market closed 3Q 2014 with a vacancy rate of 10.8 percent, which is improved compared to 12.1 percent in 2Q 2014 and stable compared to 10.7 percent in 3Q 2013.

The city’s inventory of roughly 24.1 million sf of warehouse space experienced 118,087 sf of positive net absorption, outperforming the flex market, which recorded negative absorption.

In fact, the warehouse market has accumulated more than 583,000 sf of positive net absorption year-to-date compared to the 655,000 sf of negative absorption experienced in the flex market.

Below are highlights of the Austin industrial market for 3Q 2014.

Austin Industrial Market 3Q 2014
  3Q 2014 3Q 2013
Inventory (SF) 37,198,386 37,070,193
Available (SF) 4,005,698 3,977,855
Vacant 10.8% 10.7%
3Q absorption (SF) 14,704 492,996
Absorption (SF) -71,663 708,307

Source: REOC Austin

$75M mixed-use project takes root in Lakeway 


LAKEWAY, TRAVIS COUNTY - Stratus Properties Inc. has broken ground on a $75 million mixed-use project at the corner of RR 620 and Main St.

The Oaks at Lakeway will include a 95,000-sf HEB Grocery Co. store, a 31,000-sf family fun center with a bowling alley, a 120-room hotel, a single family housing component and some associated office space.

The grocery store and first phase of retail is scheduled to be complete by November 2015.

The 90-acre development will be LEED certified, and about 50 percent of the retail portion has been preleased.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Mapped: Austin's rents skyrocketing where? 

(10/6/2014 11:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Median rents for homes and apartments just north of Circle C Ranch in Southwest Austin increased 110 percent between 2010 and 2012, from $761 to $1,604.

That is the greatest percentage rent increase in the entire Austin area since 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2010, average median gross rent per Census tract was $985. The 25 percent of Census tracts where rent grew fastest saw average median rents of $914 in 2010, almost 7.3 percent lower than the regional average. Their average median gross rents jumped more than 22 percent by 2012, an average increase of $199 and almost 2.5 times the 6.2 percent regional average median rental growth rate.

The highest-quartile tracts for median gross rent increases also saw the median number of rooms per housing unit shrink by 1.4 percent, contrary to the average 0.8 percent growth seen throughout the region.

The lowest quartile of median gross rent growth tracts — roughly 88 Census tracts where rent grew the least — saw the average median rent per tract for this group declined $52, or roughly 5 percent, from $1,085 to $1,033. That is a rate roughly 1.7 times slower than the region average.

The bottom quarter of Austin’s Census tracts entered 2010 with average median gross rents 10 percent higher than average. They were larger, with an average 11 percent more rooms per housing unit in the overall housing stock. These tracts also have significantly less renter-occupied housing units, 40 percent below average in 2010, and 33 percent below average in 2012.

The Austin Business Journal has mapped the tracts where rent increases between 2010 and 2012 were the greatest, colored from blue on the low end to red on the high end.

The map data is based on the 2010, 2011 and 2012 American Community Survey's five-year estimates. Michael Theis is the Austin Business Journal's digital editor.

See the map at the bottom of the story at the Austin Business Journal.

$67M Multi-Generational Austin neighborhood underway 

(10/6/2014 7:40:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The 250-unit Pointe at Ben White and the 183-unit Villages at Ben White have broken ground next to each other at 7000 East Ben White Blvd. near Montopolis Dr. The projects will cost a combined $67 million.

The apartments will house working families and residents 55 and older earning up to 60 percent of the area’s median income, or $51,000 a year.

Rents at The Pointe will start at $744 a month for a one-bedroom, $844 a month for a two-bedroom and $944 a month for a three-bedroom.

Onsite amenities at The Pointe will include a furnished clubhouse, a business center with complimentary wi-fi, an exercise facility and a swimming pool and playground.

At The Villages, a one-bedroom will start at $744 a month and a two-bedroom unit is priced at $844 a month.

The Villages at Ben White will be situated over 11 acres and the Pointed will cover 16 acres.

Read more at MultifamilyBiz and The Austin American-Statesman.

Metrostudy: Austin housing starts rise 17% in 3Q 2014 

(10/3/2014 6:48:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Builders started work on 3,123 homes during third quarter 2014, a 17 percent increase compared with 3Q 2013, according to Metrostudy.

Austin’s housing market is still going strong, but rapidly rising prices are starting to slow momentum.

On an annual basis, housing starts were up 9 percent in the 12 months that ended in September 2014 as builders started construction on 10,205 new homes. That 9 percent increase marks a significant slowing from 2013, when the annual increase was 30 percent.

“The Austin market has experienced a strong year thus far but momentum has started to slow as builders and home buyers are starting to feel the pinch of higher costs and home prices,” said Randall Allsup, Metrostudy regional director of the Austin market.

The region continues to see robust job and population growth, and demand for new homes remains strong, especially in areas that are producing entry- level houses priced below $200,000.

The upswing in third quarter home starts was primarily due to lots becoming available in high-demand areas where builders rushed to get houses started.

Builders are seeing a slowing in their sales, especially in the $300,000 to $700,000 price range, according to Eldon Rude, a local housing market expert. However, builders constructing homes in the $250,000 and below category say their business is picking up.

“The number of new homes under construction can either be an early indicator of future closings, but also may harbor higher levels of inventory and a softer market,” said Allsup.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Allergan grabs 90,000 SF in North Austin 


AUSTIN - Allergan Inc., the California-based pharmaceutical giant behind Botox and other treatments, has leased 90,000 sf at 301 Howard Lane in North Austin.

Allergan’s lease is in an existing 293,000-sf building that had been vacant and is surrounded by the 300-acre business park dubbed Parmer. CBRE, which represents Parmer developer Karlin Real Estate, changed the building’s name to Parmer 6.2.

The existing loading dock doors will be replaced with a glass facade to create a prominent corner entry that faces Center Ridge Dr.

The 90,000-sf lease represents a major expansion that bodes well for the life sciences and biotech industry in Austin, according to Mark Emerick of CBRE Group Inc.

Emerick said that expansion in that industry sector can be expected with the creation of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin Investor Interests 2Q 2014 apartment facts 

(9/30/2014 7:10:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The second quarter continued to reflect the health and vitality of the local apartment market, according to Austin Investor Interests.

Rental rates soared, rising another 2.6 percent over the quarter to reach 6.9 percent annually, while occupancy remained steady despite seeing the largest number of completions in five years hit the market over the last six months.

Prevalent new trends include the addition of outdoor enhancements involving common social/entertainment areas, pet related features and social/music venues poolside or in the lounging community center.

Over the next 12 months, the inventory of Class A units will rise nearly 44 percent.

The largest amount of new construction will occur in the central sector, where there is much leasing traffic, but many applicants are unqualified and those that are qualified fear the inclusion of student living.

Just the Facts 2Q 2014
Avg. occupancy 94%
Avg. rent $1,053
Avg. SF 852
Avg. $/SF $1.24
New units added
Avg. sales price/unit $94,039

2Q 2014 Affordable Housing Stats:
16,415 Units — 97.5% — $.93 psf

2Q 2014 Student Housing Stats:
10,459 Units — 95.9% — $1.53 psf

Source: Austin Investor Interests

Click here to see the full 2Q 2014 Austin Multifamily Trend Report, courtesy of Robin Davis.

Austin Stonecreek, Canyon rock with 314,000-SF office sale 


AUSTIN - Three Class A office buildings totaling 314,399 sf have been sold — Stonecreek I and II and Canyon at Wild Basin.

Stonecreek I and II, located at 11920 and 11921 N. Mopac Expy., total 239,819 sf. The buildings sit on a combined 9.6 acres north of The Domain. The two buildings are 97.9 percent leased to CoreLogic, Time Warner, Century Link, Intellimark, TSMC and Siemens.

The Travis Central Appraisal District values Stonecreek I at $11.3 million and Stonecreek II at $34.8 million.

Canyon at Wild Basin, a 74,580-sf building at 115 Wild Basin Rd., was also sold. The property is located on 10.7 acres and includes a three-story building as well as a two-story parking garage.

The property is 80 percent leased to tenants including Open Symmetry, Alliance Association Management, Downs & Stanford, Dynamic Computing Services, X1 Labs, Creative Solutions, Cloud eight Sixteen, Powell & Leon, Human Software Group and Texas Republic Capital Corporation.

The Travis Central Appraisal District values the property at $12.6 million.

A private real estate fund purchased Stonecreek I and II, while CapRidge Partners purchased Canyon at Wild Basin. All three buildings were sold by Intercontinental Real Estate Group.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive and at the Austin Business Journal.

JLL: Austin No. 5 in U.S. high-tech markets 


AUSTIN - The Austin area is ranked fifth in the nation for its high-tech market, according to the 2014 JLL High-technology Office Outlook report.

The report ranks metropolitan areas based on high-tech growth, high-tech wage growth, high-tech services concentration, share of U.S. venture capital funding, intellectual capital, innovation and market dynamism.

The Austin area was given a weighted score of 58.5. Topping the list was San Francisco with a rating of 84.6, followed by Seattle-Bellevue (71.4), Silicon Valley (70.6) and New York (58.7).

The report noted that Austin has 65,010 high-tech sector employees, up 8.3 percent from 2013. The average high-tech wage in Austin is $100,431, with annual wage growth in 2013 of 8.3 percent.

The JLL report gave Austin high marks for its pro-business environment and quality of life, with its growing access to accelerators and incubators.

It also reported an average rent of $30.44 per sf and noted that due to the fierce competition for workers, high-tech companies are investing heavily in amenities in office spaces.

The Dallas area, which includes Dallas proper and surrounding suburbs north of Fort Worth, also ranked tenth.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For the full report, see JLL.

Transwestern Austin office: premium not only in gas 

(9/26/2014 7:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Austin is one of the most expensive office investment markets in the country, according to information compiled by Transwestern using data from Real Capital Analytics.

The average sf cost for second quarter 2014 was $269 in Austin, ranking it as No. 7 among high-priced markets.

The most expensive market, as might be expected, is Manhattan with an average price per sf of $770. Washington, D.C., San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, and Salt Lake City all landed above Austin on the list.

Of course, Austin doesn’t compare with the big markets when it comes to total volume and velocity of deals. Manhattan topped the volume list with $11.2 billion in sales in the second quarter followed by Los Angeles with $5.1 billion.

According to Transwestern, there were 27 office investment sales including properties or portfolios valued at more than $2.5 million in Austin during the first six months of 2014.

CoStar Group, which has different parameters, calculates the price per sf in Austin much lower — $138. CoStar’s data also indicates a dramatic drop in the amount of office investment deals in the past two quarters — $137 million in 2Q 2014 and $348 million in 1Q 2014.

Compare that with $818.4 million in 4Q 2013, which was the highest quarterly total since 3Q 2012 when nearly $1.1 billion in office investment deals were closed locally.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For an infographic with the full ranking, see Transwestern.

Austin office space: More supply, less demand? Guess again 

(9/26/2014 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Even with nearly 750,000 sf of office space under construction in downtown Austin, the area's occupancy rate is poised to increase under intense demand from tenants in a variety of industries.

"When all the buildings that are under construction deliver, the occupancy rate will actually go up, because of the preleasing in the buildings," said Charles Heimsath, president of Austin-based Capitol Market Research.

"That may be an unprecedented situation and shows the tremendous strength of the downtown market."

The occupancy rate in downtown Austin was 88.2 percent in second quarter 2014, up from 84.4 percent two years ago, according to CBRE.

Of five office projects scheduled for completion over the next 15 months, four are more than 90 percent leased, and the developer of the fifth project expects to be fully leased by January 2015. That means the buildings will likely add little to the supply of available space upon completion.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Austin XBiotech firm on Phase I of $200M campus 


AUSTIN - XBiotech USA Inc., an emerging Austin drug developer, has broken ground on the first manufacturing and research (R&D) facility at its 48-acre site off Riverside Dr. in Southeast Austin.

The R&D facility is expected to eventually house a $200 million campus of buildings.

The 46,000-sf building will cost “no more than $12 million,” according to company President and CEO John Simard.

Currently, there is no firm timeline for the start of construction of a second manufacturing and research building — the campus will eventually feature several such buildings and employ about 2,000 people.

Construction is expected to finish by mid-2015 and start manufacturing and shipping the company’s colorectal cancer-fighting drug Xilonix by early 2016. That drug is currently going through Phase Three trials in the United States and Europe.

XBiotech is privately held company that was started in the mid-2000s and has raised more than $50 million. The company is constantly raising capital to fund development and clinical trials, with a new drug intended to fight MRSA-resistant staph infection expected to start clinical trials in late 2014 or early 2015.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Set to start on 179,000-SF Austin 5th+Colorado Tower 


AUSTIN - Construction is set to begin on the 179,000-sf 5th+Colorado Tower at the corner of Fifth St. and Colorado St.

Lincoln Property Company (LPC) is developing the 18-story tower, which is scheduled to be completed in first quarter 2016.

The 5th+Colorado Tower will feature nine floors of office space above the eight-floor parking structure. Floor plates will be 19,000 sf, with the first floor featuring retail tenants.

Though tenants have not yet been announced, preleasing interest has been strong, according to Trish Williams, a vice president with LPC.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

SpringHill Suites discover Cedar Park 


CEDAR PARK - An 86-room SpringHill Suites by Marriott is set for construction at 1110 Discovery Blvd., west of SH 183.

The hotel will include a full bar and approximately 1,500 sf of meeting space, along with an outdoor gathering area of about 3,000 sf.

The hotel's outdoor patio and pool will have direct access to the City of Cedar Park’s hike and bike trail.

Solar panels will be installed on the roof to generate a portion of the electricity used by the hotel, while LED lighting throughout the property, above average insulation values and heating and cooling controls will reduce energy use.

Wichita Falls-based Worth Hotels LLC is developing the hotel. When the hotel opens in first quarter 2016, Worth Hotels will operate the facility.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

HEB sets up 46,000 SF in Wimberley 


WIMBERLEY, HAYS COUNTY - HEB Grocery Co. has broken ground on a new store at 14401 Rural Route 12 on the site of the former Bowen Intermediate School.

The 46,000-sf HEB will be the second grocery store in Wimberley, which has about 2,600 residents, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.

The only other major grocery store is Brookshire Brothers.

About 100 people will be employed at the store when it opens in summer 2015.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Forbes: Austin among fastest-growing family towns 

(9/24/2014 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - A demographic study commissioned by Forbes shows that the Austin area has the second-highest percentage increase in children since the turn of the century.

According to the data, the Austin metro area saw a 49.3 percent increase in the number of children aged between five and 14 years from 2000-2013.

As of 2013, the number of children in that age bracket in the region stood at 261,199, roughly 14 percent of the area’s population.

Forbes chose the 5-14 age bracket because "it encompasses when parents often move due to such issues as school quality, the cost of housing and long-term economic security," says Joel Kotkin in the piece.

Austin was not the lone Texas contender on the list. The Dallas-Fort Worth area was ranked sixth on the list, and Houston came in at No. 8.

Topping the list is Raleigh, North Carolina, which saw a 55.7 percent increase in the number of children between 5-14 over the past 13 years. There, 177,866 school-aged tykes make up 14.6 percent of the total population.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For the full ranking, see Forbes.

Calif. steam shower HQ heats up Round Rock(s) 


ROUND ROCK - California-based DMA Enterprises Inc. will break ground on September 29, beginning construction on 27 acres at 1958 Steam Way. The company produces the ThermaSol product line of steam showers.

The cost of construction for the 37,000-sf project is $4 million.

The ThermaSol building will anchor a new industrial park featuring six buildings of between 30,000 sf and 50,000 sf, including a five-story office building.

ThermaSol was lured to Round Rock in November 2013, when City officials approved a $400,000 incentive package.

The company plans to bring a minimum of 45 employees to its new digs in Round Rock, and could eventually employ as much as 60 people, according to company officials.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and Community Impact Newspaper.

ABoR: Austin home sales dip among rising prices 

(9/22/2014 9:15:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) has released data for August 2014, which became the second consecutive month of declining home sales.

Austin-area home sales decreased 4 percent from August 2013, with 2,835 single-family homes sold. The decline is attributed to rising home prices and housing affordability issues.

“A majority of Austin-area homes are now priced out of an affordable range for first-time and first-time move up homebuyers, where a significant portion of home sales volume occur,” said Bill Evans, President of ABoR.

August 2014 Statistics

•  $247,500: Median price for single-family homes, 11 percent more than August 2013.
•  $311,414: Average price for single-family homes, 9 percent more than August 2013.
•  42: Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, one day fewer than August 2013.
•  3,310: New single-family home listings on the market, 4 percent more than August 2013.
•  6,707: Active single-family home listings on the market, 10 percent more than August 2013.
•  3.0: Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 months more than August 2013.

Read more at the Austin Board of Realtors.

For more stats and information on housing and more, check out Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources.

Austin: 156,000-SF Centennial Towers sold 


AUSTIN - The six-story Centennial Towers at 505 E. Huntland Dr. has been purchased by Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings LLC. The 156,000-sf property was built in 1986 and is 99 percent occupied.

Tenants currently include Securitas Security Services Inc., KBR USA Inc., Texas A&M University and Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Gallegos & Green PC.

Taurus purchased the office property from Braun Enterprises of Houston. The Travis Central Appraisal District most recently valued the property at about $15.1 million.

Taurus has had a presence in Austin since 2005 when it acquired more than 2,000 acres near SH 130. Through the Dallas offices, it has been moving forward with the development of Whisper Valley and Indian Hills — two massive master-planned communities.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

$38M Affordable housing project to debut in Southeast Austin 


AUSTIN - A $38 million affordable housing apartment complex is set to break ground later in September.

The 252-unit William Cannon Apartments, which will be developed by a partnership between Pedcor Investments and the Travis County Housing Finance Corp., will be located on 28 vacant acres on William Cannon Dr.

Preleasing will start June 2014, with the first apartments ready for move-in by August.

Nearly all the units at the William Cannon Apartments will be aimed at people making no more than 60 percent of the area’s median income, which is $45,250 for a family of four, said Craig Lintner, Pedcor’s senior vice president of development.

A handful of one-bedroom apartments are targeted at those making 50 percent of the median income or less.

Rents for the 72 one-bedroom apartments will range from about $600 to $750, including sewer and water, which is under the market rate of $900.

The 132 two-bedroom apartments will go for $885, compared with the market rate of $1,100, and the 48 three-bedroom apartments will rent for $1,000, while the market rate is $1,250.

Pedcor, which will manage the apartment complex, plans to provide a bevy of on-site social services, some of which were required by the state. Services will include daily after-school homework help, summer youth programming, General Educational Development preparation classes, financial and health courses and an on-site notary public.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

25,000-SF Odyssey first tenant in Round Rock park 


ROUND ROCK - Odyssey Technical Solutions LLC will become the North Park Business Park’s first tenant, signing on for a 25,000-sf facility.

North Park Business Park, which is located off E. Old Settlers Blvd., will be between Chasco Constructors Ltd. and Casa Mechanical Services.

Odyssey, a semiconductor repair company, will bring 48 employees to the park with plans to expand to roughly 110 within two years.

To bring Odyssey within the city limits, the City of Round Rock will award an economic development grant of $55,000 plus an additional $1,000 per job, up to $55,000.

Furthermore, the business will see a total tax abatement for two years, then a 75 percent abatement in the third year and a 50 percent tax abatement in the fourth year.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

California Firefly rockets to 200 acres in Burnet County 

(9/18/2014 6:50:00 AM)

BRIGGS, BURNET COUNTY - A California-based rocket company has purchased 200 acres in far north Burnet County, near the unincorporated area of Briggs.

Firefly Space Systems purchased the land, which is located off US Hwy. 183, near the intersection of CR 210. The company is expected to break ground in the coming weeks on a 75×100-ft. building and a test pad at the site.

Firefly is a private company that specializes in customized small rocket technology primarily used to launch small satellites into space.

According to their website,, the company touts the “rise of the boutique rocket firms” inspired by SpaceX in McGregor near Waco.

Firefly will test small rocket engines at the Briggs location. PJ King, the company's chief operating officer, expects to hire up to 200 workers, mostly engineers.

"These are all high-paying jobs," he said.

King said Firefly was attracted to Texas partly because of its business and regulatory climate. It will also develop its rocket engines in collaboration with the University of Texas.

Read more at The Daily Tribune and Associated Press.

Whew! Wow! Listen to Podcast 228 for more stories you may not have heard!

Bee Cave's Hill Country Galleria sold to California buyer 


BEE CAVE - The Hill Country Galleria shopping center has been purchased by the California State Teacher’s Retirement System as part of a larger transaction.

The shopping center is located near SH 71 and Ranch Rd. 2244 and is currently 95 percent occupied, according to leasing brokerage The Weitzman Group.

The shopping center, which is anchored by Dillard's, Whole Foods Market Inc. and Dick's Sporting Goods, originally was developed by Opus West Corp. based in Phoenix. Opus was liquidated in bankruptcy and the mall was sold at auction in 2010.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

North Austin's Dalewood Townhomes trade West Coast hands 


AUSTIN - The Dalewood Townhomes at 9600 Dalewood Dr. in North Austin have been sold.

Dalewood Townhomes consists of 55 two-bedroom units that vary in rent from $1,178 to $1,320. The community was built in 1984 and covers 9510-9608 Woodvale Dr. and 9511-9617 Woodvale Dr.

A private trust, in association with California-based Pacific Real Estate Partners Inc., purchased the community from California-based Virtue Dalewood Townhomes Owner LLC.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin Hampton Inn & Suites to Summit for $53M 

(9/17/2014 10:10:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Summit Hotel Properties Inc. has purchased the Hampton Inn & Suites at 200 San Jacinto Blvd., its first Austin asset. The publicly-traded real estate investment trust paid $53 million for a leasehold position of the 209-room hotel.

The Hampton Inn & Suites was built in 2002. Summit expects to invest about $2.4 million in improvements.

Summit did not disclose the name of the seller or the owner of the land beneath the hotel, but Travis Central Appraisal District records indicate that the landowner is Austin-based Finley Co.

Summit Hotel Properties moved its headquarters to Austin in late 2012 from Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The real estate investment company owns 91 hotels with almost 11,600 rooms in 21 states.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Florida investor grabs 58,000 SF at Austin's Walden Park 


AUSTIN - Florida-based PEBB Enterprises has purchased 57,964 sf of the Walden Park shopping center at 10900 Lakeline Mall Dr.

PEBB is partnering with The Retail Connection to aggressively market the space, which was 75 percent empty when they acquired it.

HomeGoods has leased 24,201 sf and will move into PEBB’s portion of the center in first quarter 2015.

Ulta is taking 10,000 sf next door and should open in about a month. Sally Beauty, Good Feet, Subway, Lakeline Dental and a nail salon are also under lease.

Walden Park is owned by three entities — Target Corp., which owns the 171,000-sf SuperTarget; the PEBB property on the east side and then a third investor — Inland American Austin Walden Park LLC represented by The Weitzman Group, which owns about 34,000 sf on the west side.

Family-owned PEBB has been in the shopping center business for more than 40 years and is expanding to the East Coast and some Southern states. Currently, the company owns 1.5 million sf of retail space.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Colliers: Austin office market 2Q 2014 

(9/12/2014 6:59:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Austin has more than 2.4 million sf of office space under construction and seven new buildings were completed in second quarter 2014, according to the Colliers International.

Over 188,000 sf of new office inventory was delivered during 2Q 2014, bringing year-to-date delivered inventory to 587,657 sf.

Citywide vacancy stood at 10.7 percent in 2Q 2014, down from 11.6 percent in 2Q 2013.

Of the seven buildings totaling delivered in 2Q 2014, the most notable delivery was the Seaholm Power Plant Building, which is 117,000 sf and is now 97 percent leased to Athena Health care.

Austin’s office market posted 85,623 sf of positive net absorption in 2Q 2014, pushing year-to-date 2014 net absorption to positive 375,246 sf.

The citywide average rental rate increased from $28.33 per sf to $28.59 per sf over the quarter and from $26.53 per sf to $27.77 per sf over the year.

According to local economists, 2014 job growth will remain strong with 68,000 to 72,000 new jobs forecasted for the year. Austin’s unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent from 4.6 percent in 2Q 2013.

Click here for the full PDF.

Read more at Realty News Report.

West Austin: the most educated place in Texas 


TRAVIS COUNTY - The Lost Creek neighborhood in West Austin is the most educated place in Texas and ranks seventh in the United States, according to a report by Business Insider (BI).

With about 5,000 residents, Lost Creek has its own census tract, and BI relied on U.S. Census Bureau data and tracts to compile its map and list of the most educated towns in every state.

Like Lost Creek, most of the identified areas are places just outside big cities. BI reports that 86 percent of residents there have a bachelor's degree or higher.

Riches often follow a stout education, so it's probably not surprising that the Lost Creek area recently made the Austin Business Journal's list of the wealthiest areas of Central Texas.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For the full report, see Business Insider.

For more on the wealthiest areas of Central Texas, see previous story Where the wealthy live: Austin area richest ZIP codes.

Austin: 104,000-SF Mesa Oaks office kicks off Phase 1 

(9/11/2014 6:57:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on the first phase of Mesa Oaks, a 104,000-sf office project off William Cannon Dr. and SH 290.

Mesa Oaks will consist of seven buildings ranging from 9,300 sf to 20,150 sf.

Phase 1 will include the construction of a 20,150-sf building.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

For more information about Mesa Oaks, see Equitable Commercial Realty.

Horseshoe Bay: Fluor completes $500M power plant 


HORSESHOE BAY, LLANO COUNTY AND BURNET COUNTY - The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has achieved substantial completion for the Ferguson Replacement Project, a high-efficiency combined-cycle power plant at 2001 Ferguson Rd.

The 540 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant replaces the now-closed and less efficient 420 megawatt Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant, which was built in 1974.

The new plant, which is less than 100 yards from the original plant, had an estimated cost of $500 million, according to the LCRA.

The Ferguson Replacement Project is a combined-cycle type of power plant, which combines a gas turbine system and a steam-cycle system to generate electricity.

The combination of the cycles creates a highly efficient power plant that uses about 35 percent less fuel and produces fewer emissions per unit of power produced than traditional gas-fired power plants like the existing Ferguson power plant.

Fluor was awarded a lump-sum turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project on November 11, 2011.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal and at the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Listen to Podcast 227 for this story and more.

Austin's Colorado Tower 95% leased 

(9/10/2014 11:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Cousins Properties Inc. has signed five new leases totaling 157,279 sf at Colorado Tower, which is under construction at 303 Colorado St.

Leasing at the 373,000-sf, Class A office development is now 95 percent complete, up from 51 percent at the end of June.

Listed below are the five leases signed:

•  Parsley Energy, Inc. expanded by 61,264 sf and now leases a total of 135,107 sf.
•  Atlassian, Inc. expanded by 48,346 sf and now leases a total of 72,530 sf.
•  IPSoft, Inc. leased 24,184 sf.
•  Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP leased 14,180 sf
•  Invesco Management Group Inc. leased 9,305 sf.

Projected to be delivered in December 2014, Colorado Tower will be the first high-rise office tower developed in downtown Austin since Cousins developed Frost Bank Tower in 2003.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

NAR Austin housing market 2Q 2014 

(9/10/2014 7:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Second quarter 2014 housing data have been released for the Austin market by the National Association of Realtors.

NAR Austin Housing Market 2Q 2014
Price Activity Austin U.S. Local Trend
Current Median Home Price (2Q 2014) $247,500 $212,267 Prices are up from a year ago,
but price growth is slowing.
1-year (4-quarter) Appreciation (2Q 2014) 7.1% 4.6%
3-year (12-quarter) Appreciation (2Q 2014) 24.2% 25.8%
3-year (12-quarter) Housing Equity Gain* $48,200 $43,600 Gains in the last 3 years have
extended the trend of positive
price growth after the recession.
7-year (28 quarters) Housing Equity Gain* $60,900 -11,500
9-year (36 quarters) Housing Equity Gain* $80,700 -$8,000

*Equity gain reflects price appreciation only.

Source: National Association of Realtors, courtesy of Prudential Ada Realtors.

Click to see the full report.

Also see more Housing data under Austin Market Data Sources.

Acxiom opening Austin office, to hire 150 


AUSTIN - Acxiom, an Arkansas-based marketing technology firm, has announced that it will open an Austin office to tap into the region’s technical workforce.

The company plans to fill up to 150 positions in areas including network engineering, security engineering and systems engineering; network architecture and project management.

The company will host a recruiting event on September 25 at 5 p.m. at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse, where applicants can meet executives and learn more about the company. Applications are being accepted through the careers section of the company’s website.

Founded in 1969, Acxiom provides marketing and information management services. The company, which has 4,500 employees worldwide, collects and analyzes consumer and business information for customers.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Shopping center to rise at Round Rock Garden Ridge site 


ROUND ROCK - A new 100,000-sf shopping center will be underway this fall at the current site of the Round Rock Garden Ridge store at 2800 S. I-35. The store is set to close Oct. 15.

Shortly thereafter, Austin developers Manny Farahani, Jimmy Nassour and Steve Portnoy, the site’s new owners, plan to begin tearing down the 40-year-old structure, which was originally constructed as an outlet mall.

The new center will feature about 100,000 sf for up to four anchor stores, 15,000 sf for smaller shops and to pad sites for freestanding buildings.

The project marks one of the first speculative shopping centers to be built in Central Texas in at least five years, according to Retail Connection’s Lance Morris. With retail occupancies in the area well above 90 percent, the owners believe the time is right to add new space to the market.

Despite the closure of the Round Rock store, Garden Ridge, which is in the process of changing its name to At Home, is still bullish on Central Texas, a spokeswoman said.

Two new stores will open this fall at the Stone Hill Town Center in Pflugerville and in the Cedar Park Town Center.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

California REIT nabs two Austin apartments in $45M deal 

(9/9/2014 7:15:00 AM)

AUSTIN - A newly formed real estate investment trust has purchased two Austin apartment complexes in separate transactions for a total of $45 million.

Steadfast Apartment REIT, based in Orange County, California, purchased the Club at Summer Valley for $21.5 million and Terrace Cove for $23.5 million.

The Club at Summer Valley is located at 744 West William Cannon Dr. The 260-unit apartment community sits on nine acres and was built in 1983. At the time of closing it was 98 percent occupied.

The Club at Summer Valley offers one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 563 sf to 1,229 sf. Rent varies from $729 to $1,251.

Terrace Cove, located at 6201 Sneed Cove, includes 304 units on 13 acres and was built in 1986. The complex, which was also 98 percent occupied at the time of sale, offers one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 500 sf to 1,000 sf. Rent varies from $685 to $1,020.

The seller was not disclosed, but records at the Travis Central Appraisal District indicate both properties were owned by Stonemark S/SV LP in Atlanta. Stonemark purchased the properties in 2007.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

170 Homes drop into Dripping Springs near Nutty Brown Rd. 

(9/8/2014 6:53:00 AM)

DRIPPING SPRINGS - Crescent Communities has announced plans to open two new sections of homes in Belterra, adding 170 homes to the subdivision off US 290 between Nutty Brown Rd. and Sawyer Ranch Rd.

One section, Seneca Trails, will have 70 homes to be built by Sitterle Homes and Drees Custom Homes. The first houses are expected to be ready for residents by spring 2015. Prices will range from the mid-$400,000s to the low $700,000s, said Tommy Tucker, a vice president with Crescent.

The other section, Mesa Verde Hills, will have 99 homes built by Wilshire Homes and Highland Homes. Prices will be from the low $300,000s to the mid-$400,000s. The first homes should be ready in late 2014 or early 2015.

Belterra, which was acquired by Crescent Communities nine months ago, is planned for 2,000 homes. About 1,350 of those have been built to date.

Of Belterra’s 1,600 acres, 25 percent — 400 acres — will remain open space, including about six to ten miles of trails, Tucker said.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Cedar Park 'ion' Voltabox incentives with jobs, facility 


CEDAR PARK - The Cedar Park City Council has approved two economic incentive agreements for a manufacturer of high-tech lithium ion battery systems.

Voltabox of Texas plans to build a $6 million 22,000-sf facility in the Scottsdale Crossing industrial park east of Toll 183A, and will maintain at least ten new skilled jobs for five years. In return the company will be reimbursed 50 percent of its city property taxes for up to five years.

The City of Cedar Park will also reimburse the company up to $147,908 after the firm builds a road between Toll 183A and Scottsdale Dr., said Larry Holt, assistant director of economic development.

Cedar Park City Council has also approved expanding the Scottsdale Crossing reinvestment zone to include the Voltabox site.

Voltabox hopes to have its Scottsdale Crossing headquarters finished by March 2015, according to Paul Malone, vice president of marketing and sales.

Voltabox of Texas currently has 13 employees and hopes to increase its employment to 35 by late 2015, said Chief Operating Officer Rick Herndon. The company also plans to expand its Cedar Park facility in time to introduce new energy products that are currently being developed at the firm’s Germany location.

Voltabox custom-builds and safety-tests lithium ion battery systems for business and municipal transportation vehicles that include hybrid or fully electric-powered engines.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin's downtown condo market on the rise 

(9/5/2014 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Is the downtown Austin condo market heating up after years of being stagnant?

Anna Hardeman, broker and owner of The Boutique Real Estate, crunched some numbers, and Charles Heimsath, president of Capitol Market Research, weigh in on the prospect of new for-sale product.

According to Hardeman, thus far 209 downtown condos have sold this year. Compare that to sales completed by Sept. 30, 2013, when 157 condo sales had been recorded.

In her estimation there are four tiers of product from the highest end luxury condos, which include numerous amenities — such as The Austonian or the W Residences, to the more affordable entry-level projects with few amenities — such as Ave. Lofts and the Railyard Condominiums.

“What we need is the Tier two stack,” Hardeman said. Tier two communities “are higher end buildings minus all the fanfare. They have understated luxury.” She classifies Nokonah, Austin City Lofts and the 555 Condos above the Hilton, and the proposed Fifth and West Residences in that category.

Could that niche demand encourage new condo development or condo conversions downtown?

“It’s not likely that any of the large downtown properties will convert in the foreseeable future, but I would expect to see more small central core properties convert over the next few years," said Charles Heimsath of Capitol Market Research.

Though more new condo development likely will evolve, he said, it won't be on par with the current apartment boom. “The demand is evident but financing is still difficult,” Heimsath said.

Here’s a look at more of Hardeman’s research for the first six months of 2014.

•  157 condos sold (78 one-bedroom, 73 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom units)
•  55 condos currently on the market
•  $119,250 least expensive one-bedroom condo sold (Greenwood Towers)
•  $799,000 most expensive one-bedroom sold (W Residences)
•  $179,000 least expensive two-bedroom condo sold (Greenwood Towers)
•  $1,675,000 most expensive two-bedroom condo sold (W Residences)
•  $665,000 least expensive three-bedroom condo sold (Towers of Town Lake)
•  $2,537,500 most expensive three-bedroom condo sold (W Residences)

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Storied lakefront property draws investor to Lake Travis 


LAGO VISTA - A Houston-based entity has purchased a 59-acre waterfront property that was formerly the Casa Lago Resort, on the north side of Lake Travis.

Though no price was disclosed, a marketing brochure for the property at 1900 American Dr. shows a listing price of $1.8 million.

About 41 acres of the parcel are zoned for a Planned Development District (PPD), as defined by the City of Lago Vista. The other 18 acres are unentitled but include lake frontage. A preliminary plat that was approved in 2007 has expired, but the zoning remains in place.

The PDD allows for 225 condominiums, a 200-slip dry stack marina, a 50-slip floating marina, a restaurant and bar plus other commercial uses.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

San Marcos' Texas State STAR incubator hatches 20 acres 


SAN MARCOS - Texas State University will expand its Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Park business incubator following the acquisition of 20 acres adjacent to the San Marcos facility.

The TSU System board of regents approved the purchase for $1.7 million.

The expansion will bring STAR Park to a total size of just over 58 acres after the site is completely built out in approximately 20 years. The total facility would be able to accommodate 500,000 sf of engineering, laboratory and office space once completed.

The regents also voted to split an expansion of the STAR One building into two phases to allow the addition of six new lab spaces to begin sooner than a 16,000-sf expansion project.

STAR One was paid for with funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the City of San Marcos and Texas State University.

Businesses that operate out of STAR Park must be involved with TSU in product research, development, engineering, testing and/or scale production of a proprietary product, process or service.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin: Seaholm condos under contract reach 80% 

(8/29/2014 7:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The 30-story Seaholm Residences tower, under construction on W. Cesar Chavez St. at the site of the former Seaholm Power Plant, has begun converting reservations for condos into contracts.

Developer Seaholm Power LLC and Austin-based Urbanspace set a record in fall 2013 when all 280 units in the tower were reserved within a week.

In early August, contracts started going out to convert those reservations to contracts. Within two weeks, more than 80 percent of the building is now officially under contract. Sales will become final once the building is completed in fall 2015.

Condo prices at Seaholm Residences range from about $300,000 to upwards of $1 million.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Invesco buys Austin's 238,000-SF Barton Oaks Plaza II, III 

(8/29/2014 6:59:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Barton Oaks Plaza II and III, two office buildings located east of MoPac Expy. at Bee Cave Rd., have been sold.

Atlanta-based Invesco Real Estate purchased the office buildings which total 237,835 sf.

The two five-story buildings are located on 6.8 acres and are 90 percent leased. Tenants include Fiserve Solutions, GSC Architects, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

A joint venture between Austin-based HPI Real Estate Services & Investments and Dallas-based Sarofim Realty Advisors sold the properties to Invesco.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin Onion Creek homes in buyout 

(8/29/2014 6:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that it will sign separate agreements with the City of Austin and Travis County to buy out homes in the 25-year floodplain of Onion Creek.

The Corps of Engineers will also restore 206 acres of riparian areas along the creek and provide 140 acres of recreational features.

The U.S. Congress appropriated up to $11.8 million for the Onion Creek project in March 2014. Of this, up to $1 million will go toward Travis County’s share of the project and $8 million to $10 million will be dedicated for the City of Austin’s share.

The Corps of Engineers will use the remainder of this year’s funds to begin the design work on the recreational features. More federal funding is expected in future years.

The total project cost is estimated at $85,455,000.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin CC debuts 200,000-SF Highland Campus in former mall 


AUSTIN - Austin Community College (ACC) has opened its new Highland Campus. The 200,000-sf facility is located in what used to be a JCPenney’s in the former Highland Mall.

The ACC Highland Campus includes classrooms, a library, study areas and the ACCelerator, a high-tech math learning lab with more than 600 computer stations.

ACC and Austin-area officials welcomed more than 800 visitors to the new campus, which opened classes Aug. 25 with 3,900 enrollees, well above the college's projected 3,000 students, ACC President Richard Rhodes said.

ACC is in the midst of finalizing a master plan for the rest of the former Highland Mall, which first opened in 1971 and will close retail operations this year following the holiday shopping season.

In July, ACC board trustees approved a public-private partnership that potentially brings cloud management technology company Rackspace to the former Dillard's space on the south side of the mall. Rackspace intends to relocate 570 employees to the new Highland Campus by late 2015.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

For more on Rackspace’s move to the mall, see previous story Rackspace clouds Austin CC Highland campus.

Austin getting to The Point at Ben White with 250 units 


AUSTIN - An affordable apartment housing project with 250 units valued at $37.6 million is in the works for 7000 E. Ben White Blvd.

The Point at Ben White, located northwest of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, is being developed by LDG Multifamily LLC.

The community, which should be complete by December 2015, includes 12 three-story buildings for a total of 250 units. Qualified residents must be make 60 percent or less of the median area income or $51,000 annually.

Rents will range from $704 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $844 per month for a two-bedroom unit to $944 per month for a three-bedroom unit.

Market value rents in the area by comparison are $900 a month for a one-bedroom unit, $1,100 for a two-bedroom and $1,350 a month for a three-bedroom.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman and Austin Business Journal.

Nice talk: Interactions Corp. to hire 1,000 in Austin 


AUSTIN - Interactions Corp. plans to add 1,000 new workers in Austin by the end of 2015 to support its growing customer base.

The Franklin, Massachusetts-based company provides services intended to ease frustration with automated voice and text customer service systems. Interactions Corp. claims clients that include Hyatt Hotels Corp., Humana Inc. and TXU Energy.

In Austin, the company works out of an office building near E. Rundberg Lane and I-35 that Rackspace Inc. plans to vacate when it shifts operations to the redeveloping Highland Mall.

The new Austin employees would be hired as entry-level "intent analysts," according to Interactions Corp.'s Executive Vice President Jim Dreher.

The company is keen to hire employees to fill the intent analysts' positions who can speak and understand more than one language, especially Spanish.

Interactions Corp. has had an Austin presence since 2007, when it opened its "iCenter.” It currently employs 300.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

ABIA monthly traffic hits 1M for first time 


AUSTIN - July was the first month ever to see more than 1 million passengers travel through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The record total of 1,006,417 travelers was up 9 percent from Jul 2013, and topped the previous single month record of 968,545 — which had just been set in June 2014.

The Austin airport has seen robust growth in recent years, thanks in part to the addition of four new carriers in the past year and steady population increases.

Only one out of the past 55 months — since January 2010 — has not seen passenger growth at the airport.

ABIA is the nation’s third fastest-growing airport behind New ­Orleans and Houston, according to industry trade publication Airline Weekly.

In July, the airport also reported cargo traffic figures, which were down slightly, less than 1 percent, at 11.9 million pounds.

However, international air cargo, with the addition of British Airways in the last year, continued to see a meteoric rise in shipments, which were up 74 percent to 1.3 million pounds.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman and the City of Austin.

Cedar Park $22M intersection project transformation 


CEDAR PARK - The City of Cedar Park has broken ground on a $22 million project to transform FM 1431, also known as Whitestone Blvd.

The 16-month project will expand FM 1431 from four to six lanes between Parmer Lane and Sam Bass Rd., add turn lanes for side streets and rebuild the intersection of Whitestone Blvd. and Parmer Lane/Ronald Reagan Blvd.

The intersection will be converted into a partial continuous-flow intersection. When complete, drivers on Parmer and Reagan will be able to make traditional turns onto Whitestone, but drivers on Whitestone will wait at separate signals to bring them across to the road's left side before permitting them to turn onto Parmer or Reagan.

Cedar Park residents have become accustomed to traffic around the intersection, with more than 70,000 cars traveling FM 1431 each day.

"Not only is it an expansion of FM 1431 for commuting but also for economic development. Our hospital, shopping, entertainment are right on this road,” said Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell.

TxDOT and Williamson County are also chipping in for the project.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin: 34-story JW Marriott moves opening date to Feb. 


AUSTIN - The 1,012-room JW Marriott hotel has pushed forward its opening date, thanks to construction continuing to run ahead of schedule.

The 34-story hotel at E. 2nd St. and Congress Ave. is now set to welcome its first guests February 13, 2015. When completed, the facility will be the city’s largest hotel.

Already, event organizers have booked gatherings at the hotel that will account for more than 375,000 room nights through 2020, said developer White Lodging.

Work on the lobby, swimming pool, bars and restaurants, meeting rooms and other public areas inside the JW Marriott is 80 percent complete, said General Manager Scott Blalock.

The JW Marriott is one of several new hotels set to come online in the downtown area in the next few years, including another convention-sized hotel, the 1,054-room Fairmont Austin at E. Cesar Chavez St. and Red River St. It is scheduled to open in either 2016 or 2017.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Seton breaks ground on $295M hospital at UT Austin 

(8/27/2014 7:07:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas — a $295 million teaching hospital that is a component of the University of Texas’ new Dell Medical School.

The new hospital being built at 601 E. 15th St. is across from University Medical Center Brackenridge — which it will replace.

Slated for completion in 2017, the hospital will be owned and operated by Seton. Seton will invest $245 million for construction and has set up The Seton Fund to raise the remaining $50 million via philanthropy.

The facility will be built on land owned by the University of Texas at Austin and leased to Central Health, Travis County's health care district, which will sublease the land to Seton at fair market value.

According to previous press releases by Seton, the combination of a new teaching hospital and medical school on the campus of a major research university is expected to create 15,000 new jobs, not including construction jobs. About 60 percent of those jobs will require two years of college or a training certificate.

The medical school, which is under construction, is scheduled for completion in 2016. Both buildings will be located on the new medical campus around the corner of 15th St. and Red River St.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and at Seton.

Seasons changing: Austin's Summer grove apartments sold 


AUSTIN - The 124-unit Summer Grove Apartments at 7905 San Felipe Blvd. has been sold.

Summer Grove, which consists of 68 one-bedroom units and 56 two-bedroom units, is located on 5.4 acres. There are 11 buildings on-site with amenities including a pool and clubhouse.

A private investment group from Chicago purchased the property from California-based CREVI II Summer Grove LLC.

Read more at Muskin Commercial.

Where the wealthy live: Austin area richest ZIP codes 


AUSTIN - Mapping company ESRI has created a ranking of the wealthiest areas in Austin.

To rank the area's wealthiest ZIP codes, ESRI researchers delved deep into geographic, census and demographic data to build a profile of the typical resident in these ZIP codes and how they live.

Statistics about income, home prices, net worth and more are considered when figuring wealth. Wealth isn't always reflected through real estate. ZIP 78704 ranked 63 out of 69 ZIP codes tracked, even though it is the ZIP with the most prestige.

Here are the ten wealthiest zip codes in the Austin area and their median home values:

ZIP Codes with Highest Median Home Values
Rank ZIP Code Area Median Home
1. 78746 Rollingwood, West Lake $712,704
2. 78703 Tarrytown $643,800
3. 78730 West of Capital of Texas Hwy. north of the river $627,543
4. 78731 Great Hills $548,832
5. 78738 Hill Country Galleria/Bee Cave $491,939
6. 7873 South of the river, west of Capital of Texas Hwy. $479,787
7. 78732 Steiner Ranch $445,913
8. 78735 Oak Hill north of Hwy. 71 $443,599
9. 78726 Far northwest Austin along RR 620 $411,025
10. 78739 Circle C Ranch $391,351

Source: ESRI

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For an interactive map of the 25 wealthiest ZIP codes in Austin, see ESRI.

REIT grabs 78,000-sf Your Storage Solution in Austin 


AUSTIN - Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage REIT, purchased Your Storage Solution, a 78,225-sf facility at 12506 N. Lamar Blvd.

The three-story building has 772 climate-controlled units on 2.27 acres.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Extra Space owns or operates 1,071 self-storage properties in 35 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico. The company’s properties comprise approximately 715,000 units and 79 million sf of rentable space.

Read more at Inside Self Storage.

Austin's million-dollar-plus homes take longer to sell 


AUSTIN - Luxury homes in Austin priced above $1 million are staying on the market longer but more are selling at higher prices than a year ago, according to Jonathan Boatwright, co-founder of Realty Austin.

Realty Austin data indicates that total volume of million-dollar homes sold in June was $116.2 million — up slightly from May, which had $115.1 million. But that’s way more than earlier in 2014. In March, total volume was $52.8 million and it was just $38.2 million in February.

In June, the median value for luxury homes sold was nearly $1.4 million — $35,000 higher than in June 2013. The average value was more than $1.6 million, or $14,528 than in June 2013.

The number of active listings — 654 — has remained fairly constant for months. In June, 71 properties sold — up from 67 in May and 18 more than June 2013. The average price per sf was $347, $36 more per sf than in 2013.

Be sure to check out the Aug. 22 print edition of the Austin Business Journal for a cover story about the wealthiest ZIP codes in Austin and see some of the priciest homes on the market by ZIP code.

Million-dollar-plus properties spend an average of 98 days on the market, 11 more days than in June 2013, but there is less inventory than a year ago.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Georgetown home sales: July 2014 


GEORGETOWN - Real estate market data for the Georgetown Multiple Listing Service area by zip code have been released.

Georgetown Monthly Home Sales
Month Number of Sales Median Price
78626 78628 78633 78626 78628 78633
July 2014 43 78 72 $175,000 $294,950 $291,250
July 2013 44 56 96 $167,203 $277,350 $237,500
June 2014 52 69 72 $186,389 $310,000 $300,505
May 2014 54 58 46 $182,225 $304,070 $289,950
Apr. 2014 52 50 41 $178,000 $298,000 $258,000
Mar. 2014 41 41 56 $190,000 $309,309 $324,500
Feb. 2014 33 42 36 $159,900 $252,750 $257,200
Jan. 2014 20 30 37 $155,750 $214,500 $292,000
Dec. 2013 20 42 50 $156,500 $241,150 $279,750

Zip Code Guide:

• 78626 East Georgetown
• 78628 West Georgetown
• 78633 Northwest/Lake Georgetown area

For more information, see Texas Association of Realtors.

Find more info on housing and other sectors at Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources.

ABoR: Austin region home sales July 2014 


AUSTIN - Austin Board of Realtors (ABoR) has released home sales data for July 2014.

Select region cities are represented below along with statistics from the ABoR MLS area as a whole.

Austin Region Sales and Price Activity by Units Sold
MLS Wide Median Price
  July 2014
Price Chg.
July 2013
Units Sold
July 2014 
Sale Chg.
July 2013
ACTRIS* (single-family) $250,000 9.9% 2,537 -7.8%
ACTRIS (condo) $190,450 12.0% 298 -8.3%
Region Cities**        
Austin $316,500 4.8% 1,051 -9.9%
Round Rock $235,950 13.7% 264 -13.2%
Georgetown $267,000 17.8% 167 0.6%
Cedar Park $249,900 5.1% 163 -20.9%
Pflugerville $200,000 11.1% 129 -16.8%
Leander $196,450 14.3% 120 -7.7%

*Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service
**Data include single-family only and represent select region cities that sold at least 100 units during July 2014.

Read more at the Austin Board of Realtors.

Current Austin housing, retail, office and community statistics are also available at Austin Market Data Sources.

O'Connor: Round Rock apartments Aug. 2014 


ROUND ROCK -  Apartment data for August 2014 have been provided by O'Connor and Associates. Below is a snippet of what's available.

Round Rock Apartment Overview August 2014
Property / Unit Class A Class B Class C Overall
Total number units 7,579 3,034 306 10,919
Avg. physical occupancy 95.80% 96.41% 95.88% 95.97%
Avg. preleased occupancy 97.77% 97.43% 96.86% 97.65%
Avg. market rent/unit $979.64 $843.18 $739.26 $932.02

Source: O'Connor and Associates

Click here for the August 2014 report.

Manor Expy. exceeds great expections  


MANOR - Open for just three months, the new Manor Expy. is already exceeding estimates for both traffic and revenue, according to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA).

The CTRMA reports that within weeks of the May 17 grand opening, average weekly transactions reached nearly 47,000. The toll road originally was not expected to reach 41,000 transactions until 2015.

The Manor Expy. links east Travis County and southern Williamson County and the SH 130 Corridor to downtown Austin. The highway features six new tolled lanes, allowing for more capacity. It also improves capacity with six non-tolled frontage lanes.

CTRMA officials note that the success of the Manor Expy. has helped increase the overall average weekday transactions throughout the system to 170,000, more than twice the amount from this time two years ago.

Read more at Texas Government Insider.

The 334-unit Allure acquired for $36.5M in Austin 

(8/15/2014 7:08:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Starlight U.S. Multi-Family (No. 3) Core Fund (The Fund) indirectly acquired a 100 percent interest in The Allure, a property located northwest of downtown at 701 North Vista Ridge Blvd.

In connection with the acquisition, the Fund assumed existing financing on the property in the amount of $36.5 million. maturing in July 2017, with two, one-year extension options at an interest rate of 3.51 percent and subsequently repaid approximately $3 million.

The property is comprised of 334 units in 22 three-story apartment buildings and townhouses on a 20-acre site. The complex offers one- to three-bedroom floor plans.

The property also offers a dual-level pool including an upper deck infinity pool with outdoor fireplace and barbeque/kitchen area, as well as a lower deck pool featuring an in-pool tanning shelf.

Read more at Newswire.

W Austin Hotel & Residences: 2Q overview  


AUSTIN - W Austin Hotel & Residences included delivery of condominium units beginning in January 2011. As of June 30, 2014, sales of 153 of the 159 condominium units had closed for $178.7 million.

Revenue per available room at the W Austin Hotel was $284 during second quarter 2014 and $296 for the first six months of 2014, compared with $250 during second quarter 2013 and $264 for the first six months of 2013.

The 251-room hotel, which owner Stratus Properties Inc. believes sets the standard for contemporary luxury in downtown Austin, is managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Source: Online news

Google to lease former children's museum in downtown Austin 


AUSTIN - Google Inc. has leased 22,000 sf at the former site of the Austin’s Children’s Museum at 201 Colorado St.

The property, built in 1922, has been vacant since late 2013 when the museum moved its operations to the Mueller master-planned community and changed its name to The Thinkery.

The land on which the former children’s museum is located is owned by Austin-based World Class Capital Group, but the building and ground lease is held by Austin-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors.

The Internet search giant also recently leased 49,953 sf across two floors of the University Park office tower at 3300 N. I-35. The internet giant has declined to provide information about the purpose of either office space.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin unemployment stays low in July 2014 


AUSTIN - Unemployment in Austin dropped in July compared to July 2013, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, but ticked slightly higher than what was seen in June.

The Austin area's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate in July 2014 stood at 4.6 percent. It was 5.6 percent in July 2013. But it's up slightly compared to June, when unemployment was only 4.4 percent.

Statewide, the Texas economy added 46,600 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in July. Texas' unemployment rate during the month was 5.1 percent, below the national unemployment rate of 6.2 percent.

The professional and business services industry contributed the most to the state's July job growth, adding 10,600 jobs.

So far in 2014, Texas has added more than 396,200 jobs.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For more employment stats, see the Texas Workforce Commission and Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources.

Cornerstone buys Austin's 811 Barton Springs 


AUSTIN - The 811 Barton Springs office building located at 811 Barton Springs Rd. has been sold.

The nine-story, 143,183-sf property, which was 99 percent occupied at the time of sale, was purchased by a fund managed by Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers.

The Class A property is located between Austin’s Central Business District and Southwest submarkets.

811 Barton Springs is one of the most recognizable office properties in the Austin office market, prominently located on Barton Springs Rd. between S. Lamar Blvd. and S. Congress Ave.

The property benefited from institutional ownership with over $1 million in renovations in the past several years and has been consistently awarded an Energy Star rating since 2009.

North Austin sale: Northland at Stonehollow apartments 

(8/13/2014 10:55:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Northland at Stonehollow, a 606-unit apartment community 11915 Stonehollow Dr., has been sold to a Chicago investment firm. The property is near the site where Charles Schwab Co. will build its new Austin facility.

The price was not disclosed, though the Travis Central Appraisal District pegs the value of the community — which covers about 19 acres — at a little more than $26.3 million.

Northland at Stonehollow was built in 1996 and includes several resort features including a theater and two pools. The property was 95 percent occupied at the time of sale.

The community offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 602 sf to 1,352 sf.

Northland Investment Corp., which owns numerous other properties in the Austin area, sold the property to an entity formed by Heitman LLC.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For more on the Charles Schwab expansion, see previous story Charles Schwab to bring 823 jobs to Austin.

Southwestern embarking on $24M project in Georgetown 


GEORGETOWN - Southwestern University will break ground this fall on a $24 million project to modernize the Fondren-Jones Science Hall, which was built in 1953.

Phase I will add 23,700 sf to the southeast side of the 38,000-sf building. The new space will house biology, chemistry, and physics laboratories on the first floor; a molecular biology center and a cell culture lab on the second floors; and teaching and research labs for biochemistry and organic chemistry on the third floor.

Phase I, which will cost $8 million, will begin this fall and is scheduled for completion by spring 2016.

Phase II will gut the original building and add a three-story atrium. A completion date for Phase II will be set when the full $16 million cost for the upgrade is raised.

Once both phases are complete, the building will include 103,000 sf.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Round Rock's commerical permits signal strong economy 


ROUND ROCK - Round Rock is logging its second straight year of strong commercial development as shown by 29 new commercial building permits submitted to the city through the first half of the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The number of building permits is a prime indicator of economic health for a city.

The City of Round Rock approved 28 new commercial permits worth about $77 million during the first half of the fiscal year, which spanned October 2013 to March 2014.

Of the permits approved, a $13 million Bass Pro Shops was the most valuable commercial permit. “Bass Pro Shops furthers the city’s status as a retail destination,” said Ben White, vice president of economic development for the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership.

“Our pipeline for new projects is pretty full. We feel very good about the present and the future going forward,” White said.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

For more on the Bass Pro Shops, see previous story Bass Pro Shops sets sail to Round Rock.

Austin 5th Street Commons, Pressler to Intercontinental 


AUSTIN - Capital One Multifamily Finance has provided Freddie Mac fixed loans totaling $42.8 million that allow Intercontinental Real Estate to acquire two apartment properties,

The two apartment are the 5th Street Commons at 1611 W. 5th St., and Pressler, located at 507 Pressler St.

5th Street Commons includes 150 one- and two-bedroom units, and Pressler offers 168 one-and two-bedroom units as well as studios. Both communities were built in 2009.

The properties share a number of upscale amenities, including a fitness center, e-lounge/business center, electric vehicle charging stations, concierge desk and pool and sun deck. Both properties are located close to Austin’s central business district.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Expert Eldon Rude: Austin's economic roll 


AUSTIN - Central Texas has seen unprecedented demand in most real estate industry sectors since the recession, according to local housing market expert Eldon Rude.

However, the region’s rising home prices could slow population growth in the Austin area, as people and companies choose to remain or locate in cities where home prices are lower.

“We (in Austin) are in a really, really fortunate place in time,” said Rude, principal of 360 Real Estate Analytics, an Austin-based consulting firm. “Things are very good. A lot of people are moving to Austin, and they’ve got to live somewhere.”

Central Texas’ strong economic growth has spurred an influx of newcomers seeking opportunity — an estimated 110 people a day are moving to the Austin area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Some 17,700 apartments are now under construction in 76 projects, according to Capitol Market Research, and housing starts have climbed to a pace of about 10,000 a year.  

However, Rude said the region faces challenges, including transportation woes and escalating housing prices that could slow growth.

Those concerns could prompt people and companies to re-think a move to Austin in favor of cities that are also enjoying low unemployment and job growth — but which have lower home prices. The median price of an Austin-area home has risen 28 percent since June 2009, and the average sales price is up 23 percent since then.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin area apartment 2Q 2014: Marcus & Millichap 

(8/7/2014 10:59:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Austin remains a magnet for new and expanding tech firms and for young professionals, according to Marcus and Millichap's most recent quarterly report.

In 2013, individuals between 20 and 34 years old accounted for more than a quarter of the metro’s new residents, versus a 10 percent share nationally. This year should be no different, as hiring by notable tech companies attracts renter-age professionals to the area.

Multifamily completions will surge to an estimated 14,120 apartments in 2014, resulting in a 7 percent increase in Austin’s apartment stock. In 2013, apartment deliveries totaled 5,500 units.

During first quarter 2014, single-family permit activity was up 15 percent compared with 1Q 2013. Multifamily permits, on the other hand, dropped roughly 65 percent over the same time period, which may be a sign that the building boom is starting to lose steam.

Austin Submarket Vacancy Ranking*
Rank Submarket Vacancy
Y-O-Y Basis
Point Chg.
1 Downtown/University 2.6% 50 $2,022 1.9%
2 Arboretum 3.8% -50 $1,019 4.2%
3 Near North Austin 4.1% -10 $1,098 6.4%
4 Far South Austin 4.2% -130 $1,016 5.9%
5 Pflugerville/Wells Branch 4.3% -160 $934 7.7%
6 South Austin 4.3% -280 $1,138 3.0%
7 Round Rock/Georgetown 4.4% -170 $955 6.1%
8 Southwest Austin 4.4% -80 $1,188 4.2%
9 North Central Austin 4.7% -50 $817 6.0%
10 Northwest Austin 4.9% -90 $1,002 7.6%

*Chart includes top ten of 15 submarkets, ranked by vacancy.

Read more at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

Austin Dropbox here to stay; hunts sales, operations staff 

(8/7/2014 10:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - If, in the wake of Dropbox's announcement that it was turning down government incentives to grow, you're laboring under the misconception that Dropbox was somehow slowing down its ambitious Austin expansion plans, Sherry Birk has something to say to you.

"We're here and we're here to stay," she said. "We still have our same hiring goals. Dropbox still has plans to hire about 150 sales and operations staff over the next 18 months."

The San Francisco-based company currently employs 50 in its office at 515 Congress Ave. It aims to employ 200 in Austin within a year and a half.

As the company ramps up hiring, it is also finishing a build-out on a brand new office space in the building directly south of their current location. It's the mid-rise recently gutted at the corner of Congress Ave. and Fifth St.

When completed in late 2015, Dropbox offices will occupy three floors of the building.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Mixed-use Lamar Union ready to shine in Austin 


AUSTIN - Greystar Real Estate Partners is developing Lamar Union, a 1 million-sf mixed-use community located on nine acres at S. Lamar Blvd. and Treadwell St. Lamar Union is set to open its first phase in the coming weeks.

Lamar Union includes three multistory buildings featuring seven restaurants, 442 apartment units and more than 86,000 sf of retail space. The space was once the home of retail center Lamar Plaza, and its original tenant, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, remains at Lamar Union.

Design plans include the redevelopment of six theaters of the existing cinema, plus the addition of 15,684 sf for three new theaters, a new entry lobby and the adjoining Highball Lounge.

The three new residential buildings will include an additional 47,078 sf of ground-floor retail space, parking garages for 1,354 cars, new streetscapes and an urban plaza.

Retail and restaurant space at Lamar Union is almost completely leased.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman and Multi-Housing News.

Austin: $1B Parmer's 192,000-SF mixed-use Crows with Karlin 

(8/4/2014 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Karlin Real Estate will break ground this week on Parmer, a $1 billion master-planned project in North Austin. Karlin purchased the 300-acre site located between Parmer Ln. and Howard Ln. east of I-35 in fall 2012.

The first element under construction is Parmer 3.2, a 192,000-sf Class A office building near McCallen Pass on the west side of the development.

Delivery is expected second quarter 2015. High tech firms are particularly interested, given the proximity of other high profile companies such as Dell Inc., Apple Inc., Samsung Corp. and Oracle Corp.

With Parmer 3.2 underway, plans are already underway to break ground this fall on a second 192,000-sf office building adjacent to the current construction site.

Karlin has partnered with Trammell Crow Co. in the creation of Parmer. Though the full build-out is years into the future, Parmer will include millions of sf of office space, multifamily development and retail and hospitality projects.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Round Rock's Boardwalk Shopping Center sold 


ROUND ROCK - Boardwalk Shopping Center, an 185,000-sf retail facility at the intersection of I-35 and State Hwy. 45, has been sold.

The center was built in 1996 and was 98.6 percent occupied at the time of the sale.

Ross, PetSmart, Office Max and Party City are the main tenants of the property.

Read more at Globe St.

Booming tourism driving revenue, jobs in Round Rock 


ROUND ROCK - The amount of direct travel spending in Round Rock topped out at $285.6 million in 2013, according to information compiled by Dean Runyan and Associates for the Economic Development and Tourism division in the Office of the Governor.

The city was on a steady incline between 2002 and 2008 until the recession hit and travel spending dropped by 15.3 percent. The city’s amount of direct travel spending represented a 7.5 percent growth from 2012 — twice the state average.

Tourism supported 2,964 jobs, an increase of 6.7 percent compared to 2012. Round Rock also sold 677,630 hotel rooms in 2013, an 8.9 percent increase from 2012.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin ranks highly on Forbes' latest lists 


AUSTIN - Texas cities are making their presence felt in the economy when it comes to attracting top talent and landing the Lone Star state in the No. 1 spot for location desirability for job seekers.

Austin recently ranked No. 2 in Forbes’ listing of the best U.S. cities for future job growth over the next three years and was one of five Texas cities to make the cut. It also ranked No. 3 on Forbes' list of the top ten cities that are stealing financial jobs from Wall Street.

Additionally, Austin ranks No. 23 out of 50 U.S. tourism destinations for business and leisure travelers. Dallas ranks No. 3, and Houston No. 12. San Antonio ranked No. 21.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Weitzman: Austin midyear 2014 retail report 


AUSTIN - The retail real estate market is growing tighter as population increases, but retail development remains spare. The market-wide occupancy rate is 95.6 percent, the highest since late 2004, according to the latest report by The Weitzman Group.

Rental rates are increasing as a result of the constricted marketplace. Now, Class A spaces command $30 per sf or more. The best locations are netting $40 per sf. Class B properties are commanding 5 percent average increases to between $18 and $25 per sf. Class C properties are generating rents of $14 to $18 per sf.

The midyear report indicates a critically low supply of Class A retail space, though about 30 small retail strip centers are opening or underway.

A few larger projects have debuted in the past six months, but they are largely big-box stores in Cedar Park, Elgin and Manor. A Walmart in Kyle will open later this year or in early 2015. Sam’s Club, the wholesale division of Walmart, will open a new store near Lakeline Mall in the far northwest Austin submarket this fall.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Buda, Kyle, San Marcos Real Estate Report 

(7/29/2014 6:59:00 AM)

BUDA, KYLE, SAN MARCOS - Community Impact has released the July Real Estate Report — compiling single-family home sales from May 1, 2013 through April 30, 2014.

Real Estate Report provides information on home sales based on city and by price range. It also includes a homebuyers’s guide, providing basic information on the documents and process involved in buying a home.

Real Estate Report May 2013–April 2014
  Avg. Sale
Avg. Price
Avg. Bed
Total #
Buda $274,781 $99.08 4/2+ 69 559
Kyle $230,310 $103.03 4/2 61 796
San Marcos $185,627 $101.98 3/2 118 311

Click here for the July 2014 story.

Source: Community Impact Newspaper July 2014 (page 16)

Austin: 119,000-SF Plaza on the Lake changes hands 


AUSTIN - Plaza on the Lake, a 119,464-sf office building, has changed hands. The 1987 built structure is located at 5000 Plaza on the Lake.

The building is 100 percent leased. Tenants, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District, include Amherst Securities Group, Experian, Omni Surgical LP and Bluepoint Games Inc.

New York-based Clarion Partners purchased the office building from Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group.

Clarion Partners now owns about 3.8 million sf in Austin. The firm recently purchased two other office buildings and the retail building occupied by Whole Foods Market in The Domain mixed-use project in North Austin.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin office 2Q 2014: REOC 


AUSTIN - New leases and expansions generated 306,517 sf of positive net absorption in second quarter 2014. This raised the year-to-date total gain to nearly 636,000 sf, according to the survey of more than 41.7 million sf of Austin-area office lease space.

In response, the citywide vacancy rate tightened to 9.7 percent compared with 10.5 percent in 1Q 2014 and 12.3 percent recorded in 2Q 2013.

At the end of June, the citywide average quoted rental rate climbed to $26.32 per sf per year, which is up $0.14 over 1Q 2014 and $1.52 compared with 2Q 2013 for a dynamic annual increase of more than 6 percent.

Austin 2Q 2014 Office Report
Submarket Total
Vacant SF
Vacant Avg. Quoted
Rent Rate
CBD 8,355,282 823,650 9.9% $36.15
Central 2,234,316 263,649 11.8% $24.87
North 914,248 178,895 19.6% $18.10
Northwest 12,906,400 1,042,433 8.1% $26.76
Far Northwest 3,534,537 398,063 11.3% $23.08
Northeast 1,855,269 232,011 12.5% $17.22
South 1,533,096 61,676 4.0% $24.28
Southeast 1,070,401 127,707 11.9% $19.78
Southwest 8,413,165 769,961 9.2% $28.63
Round Rock 886,519 131,410 14.8% $21.05
Totals 41,703,233 4,029,455 9.7% $26.32

Source: REOC Austin.

Click here to see the full 2Q report.

For more stats, look under Office in Austin Market Data Sources.

Dripping Springs: Morrison buys 100 acres for 204 homes 


DRIPPING SPRINGS - Taylor Morrison Home Corp. has purchased 100 acres for another new home community, Founders Ridge, within the city limits of Dripping Springs.

About 204 homes will be built. Home sizes will range from 2,200 sf to 3,700 sf. Prices have yet to be determined.

Morrison bought the land south of Dripping Springs Elementary School on RR 12 from Austin-based Norwood Investments. Development is expected to begin this fall with residents occupying new homes in summer 2015.

In addition to Founders Ridge, Taylor Morrison is building several communities in the Austin area: Travisso and Crystal Falls in Leander, Vizcaya in Round Rock, Ladera in Bee Cave, Rough Hollow in Lakeway, Steiner Ranch near the Mansfield Dam and Sweetwater near Spicewood.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin: 143,000-SF elementary school's transformation 


AUSTIN - Jaime D. Padron Elementary School — located in a retrofitted campus that was once the site of a warehouse — will open in August, Principal Rafael Soriano said.

Formerly known as North Central Elementary School No. 2, the Austin ISD school is one of a few facilities constructed as part of the district’s $343.7 million 2008 bond program.

The 7.6-acre campus will include a 143,000-sf school with 57 classrooms. The school features large classrooms, colored hallways and three playground areas, as well as a basketball court, track and picnic tables. Teachers will be using new technology in the classroom.

Principal Soriano noted students attending the school will mostly come from Wooldridge and Cook elementary schools, both of which are over capacity and have several portable classrooms on campus.

The facility also features a 245-kilowatt solar array on the roof that will be tied into the main electrical service for the campus.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Forbes: Austin No. 2 in U.S. for future job growth 


AUSTIN - Austin ranked second in Forbes' list of best U.S. cities for future job growth over the next three years and was one of five Texas cities to make the cut.

With projected annual job growth of 4.1 percent and the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, Austin is proving to be an attractive option for companies that want to take advantage of the strong local workforce.

The Lone Star capital boasts the third-highest net migration rate in the U.S. during the past five years, Forbes reported. The median household income is $58,932.

Other Texas cities that made it to Forbes' list of best cities for job growth include: McAllen at No. 3, Dallas at No. 5, Houston at No. 9 and San Antonio at No. 10. Naples, Florida ranked No. 1.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

See Forbes for the full report.

Charles Schwab to bring 823 jobs to Austin 


AUSTIN - Governor Rick Perry’s office has announced a deal with Charles Schwab to bring 823 tech jobs to North Austin.

The tech workers, who would be paid an average wage of $79,602, would be added over ten years to the firm’s existing Austin workforce of almost 1,000 employees.

Schwab also has committed to making $196 million in capital investments, including construction of a 200,000- to 300,000-sf office on a 50-acre site at IBM’s Tivoli Software campus, which is across Burnet Rd. from the Domain.

Gov. Perry’s commitment of $5.95 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to Schwab is just the latest deal-closing incentive used to lure businesses to the Lone Star State.

Schwab also is opening a call center in El Paso as part of its Texas expansion. The state is providing $1.45 million for the El Paso project, which will create 445 jobs and $21.5 million in capital investment over the next ten years.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

For more on Gov. Perry’s recent use of the Texas Enterprise Fund, see previous story Texas $62M woo companies; $68M leftover.

Austin ISD 'fine' $40M performing arts center 


AUSTIN - The 68,000-sf Austin Independent School District Performing Arts Center is under construction at the corner of Barbara Jordan Blvd. and Mueller Blvd. in East Austin. The 1,200-seat auditorium will open in mid-November.

The center, which has a budgeted cost of $40 million, is expected to come in below budget. A 440-car garage will be adjacent to the main building.

It will have a grand opening on January 22, 2015, and is already booked until the middle of 2015.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Manor's retail boom drives 148 percent tax revenue growth 


MANOR, TRAVIS COUNTY - With sales tax allocations for two months still to come this fiscal year, Manor has already brought in $555,280 — $50,000 more than in all of 2013.

For July alone, the city’s sales tax allocation was up 148 percent, growing from $31,364 in 2013 to $77,804 this year. The sales tax revenue Manor expects to receive this fiscal year is on track to double the $331,808 it took in during fiscal 2010.

A recent burst of commercial development has given the Manor area a number of new shops and restaurants — including a Walmart Supercenter — and more businesses are on the way, according to developers and city leaders.

The new Manor Expy., which largely runs parallel to US 290, makes it easier to get between Austin and Manor, making the area more appealing and contributing to the city’s growth, according to local developer Pete Dwyer.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

See the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for more information.

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