NewsTalk Texas

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos

Calif. Freebirds fly to new HQ coop in Austin 

(4/1/2015 9:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Freebirds World Burrito, the fast food chain that once called College Station home before being sold to a California-based firm, has returned to its roots in Texas.

The chain has moved its corporate headquarters from Emeryville, Calif., to the Great Hills Corporate Center in Northwest Austin, where it will employ 29 workers that includes its executive team, digital designers and marketing and human resources workers, among others.

The Austin corporate office staff will include some new hires and relocation, and another wave of hiring could be on the way, according to COO Bobby Shaw.

Freebirds said the move was a “natural fit” as the company has more than half of its locations — 67 — in Texas and already had support staff operating in Central Texas. Overall, the chain has more than 100 restaurants and 2,000 employees.

The first Freebirds restaurant opened in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1987, founded by Mark Orfalea and Pierre Dube, who were roommates at the University of California-Santa Barbara. They said they opened the shop to offer college students more options for healthy meals that included black beans, sautéed fresh vegetables and grilled chicken and beef.

However, the Freebirds chain was really born in College Station. Dube bought the rights to expand the chain, and headquartered the brand in College Station.

The chain now operates in seven U.S. states: Texas, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin's Stonegate Apartments part of new Castle buy 


AUSTIN - Stonegate Apartments, a 452-unit Class A property at 10505 S. I-35, has been sold.

Constructed in 2003 and located off I-35, Stonegate consists of 24 two- and three-story buildings with units in a variety of modern floor plans, many with vaulted 13-foot ceilings and balconies or patios.

Stonegate offers one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 556 sf to 1,434 sf. Rent varies from $810 to $1,545 per month, according to

The community includes a clubhouse that includes the leasing office, business center, fitness center and recreation room.

Castle Lanterra Properties purchased Stonegate with more than $1 million earmarked for upgrades including new lighting and plumbing fixtures, appliances and flooring.


Lakeway Resort and Spa completes $7M renovation 


LAKEWAY - The Lakeway Resort and Spa has reached the end of a complex $7 million renovation that was more than 18 months in the making.

The process was completed in phases to minimize disruption and to enhance revenue. “Virtually every aspect of the resort has been upgraded, from the roof to the flooring and everything in between,” said Murray Dow II, president of Dow Hotel Co., Lakeway’s owner and operator.

“This is the seventh major renovation we have completed in the past 24 months, all of which have been on time and budget,” Dow added.

Public spaces were refreshed to reflect a contemporary style that combines natural and traditional Texas themes; elements of guest rooms were thoroughly revitalized, from carpeting to furniture. Dow upgraded food and beverage venues and added a new restaurant, Masterson’s Steakhouse.

Meeting space has been redesigned to benefit from the lake and Hill Country views. The 17 meeting rooms, including four ballrooms that provide 24,000 sf for functions, can accommodate up to 350 guests.

The 4,000-sf Kid Zone play area has been highly colored and retooled. Two heated pools and one unheated pool can be used year round; the outdoor area has been enriched with new surfaces and water features, as well as a swim-up pool bar. Internet speed has been enhanced and rooms have been equipped with large high-definition TVs.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Planting time! Home Depot hiring 600 in Austin 


AUSTIN - The Home Depot plans to hire more than 600 people in the Austin area this spring to meet demand during its busy selling season.

Available jobs include cashier positions as well as roles in parking lot maintenance and the garden center. The retailer has more than a dozen stores in the Austin area, including Round Rock and Hutto locations.

Applications are available online.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin: Spring sale of 360-unit Martha's Vineyard 


AUSTIN - Martha’s Vineyard, a 360-unit apartment community at 7920 San Felipe Blvd., has been sold. Occupancy was 95 percent at the time of sale.

Constructed in 1986, Martha’s Vineyard comprises one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 432 sf to 1,125 sf. Rent ranges from $644 to $1,214.

An investment managed by Pinnacle sold the property to a pension fund advisor.

Read more at the and Austin Business Journal.

Census: Austin fastest-growing Texas metro 


AUSTIN - The State Capital was the third-fastest growing metro area in the past year, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Austin’s population expanded by 3 percent between July 2013 and July 2014, with a total population of 1,943,299, an increase of about 57,496 new residents.

In 2010, the Census pegged the region's population at 1,716,303, giving the area a 13.2 percent growth rate over the previous five years.

The Austin area ranked just behind year-to-year population growth in The Villages, Florida, metro area that grew by 5.4 percent in the past year, and Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, which grew by 3.2 percent.

The Census Bureau's announcement of the new estimates paid special attention to Texas' booming growth overall, with several Lone Star State metro areas and counties among the fastest-growing in their respective categories.

Hays County was the fifth-fastest growing county in the nation over the past year, with its population expanding by 4.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Harris County saw the largest numerical increase in residents in the entire country over the past year, with an estimated 89,000 new residents. Bexar County was the sixth-fastest growing county in the nation, with 34,000 new residents in the past year.

Odessa was the fourth-fastest growing metro area in the nation with its population expanding by 2.9 percent in the past year.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal or check out the data at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Austin area getting ready for 'Silver Tsunami' 


AUSTIN - Austin has a reputation as a young city, but statistics about the city’s aging population have caught civic leaders’ attention.

Recent data show the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos MSA hosts the fastest-growing population in the country of residents ages 55–64. Residents age 65 and older made up 8 percent of the MSA’s population in 2010 but are predicted to make up 20 percent of the population by 2040.

Local forecasters have dubbed this demographic shift the “silver tsunami,” and the area’s public and private sectors have been preparing to address issues related to an aging population, such as health, housing and transportation.

Meanwhile, as resources spring up to serve them, some of today’s older residents are concerned about affordability and transportation.

Senior housing construction has grown to meet demand, with properties such as Elan Southpark Meadows and Ledgestone Senior Living.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

City of Austin multifamily report 4Q 2014 

(3/24/2015 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Multifamily market watchers in Austin looking for a top to the current kaboom of incoming product will have to wait yet another quarter as almost 3,000 units were submitted in 22 new multifamily projects to the City’s Department of Planning and Development Review.

According to City Demographer Ryan Robinson fourth quarter 2014 also saw the approval of 13 projects that include a total of over 1,600 units — these developments are now entitled to begin construction.

Construction was initiated at ten sites totaling almost 1,800 units while another four projects reached completion delivering nearly 600 units to what is widely considered to be a landlord’s market.

City of Austin Multifamily Report 4Q 2014*
Project Address Zip Code Units Site
Presidio Multifamily 13435 Lyndhurst St. 78717 421 14.10
Marbella Multifamily 8001 S I-35 78744 372 29.3
Altis at Lakeline 12700 Ridgeline Blvd. 78613 354 21.99
Marbella Multifamily
Phase II
8001 S I-35 78744 326 37.51
University House
2100 San Antonio
2108 San Antonio St. 78705 188 0.6
(Section Four)
8200 Southwest Pkwy. 78735 35 8.76
Enclave 4525 Guadalupe St. 78751 19 0.6
2822 Rio Grande 2822 Rio Grande St. 78705 9 0.30
Glen Allen Apartments 2002 Glen Allen 78704 8 0.45
South 5th Condos 2300 S 5th St. 78704 6 0.4
Total     1,738  

*Sorted by number of units

Source: City of Austin

More details can be found in the City of Austin's spreadsheet.

Redevelopment near Lady Bird Lake advances 


AUSTIN - The redevelopment of a senior living facility in East Austin will move forward after receiving rezoning approval.

The 16-story Rebekah Baines Johnson Center (RBJC), also known as the Austin Geriatric Center, gained approval March 12 for mixed-use zoning, a necessary step before the facility can complete an anticipated redevelopment plan.

The site currently includes 250 units for senior housing along the Lady Bird Lake shore in East Austin. The facility opened in 1972 with the help of President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Redevelopment plans call for constructing two smaller buildings adjacent to the existing RBJC that would house 250 new affordable senior living units and 340 units of mixed-income apartments and condominiums as well as 25,000 sf of commercial space and indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.

Southwest Strategies Group, Momark Development and DMA Development Company LLC have teamed up to redevelop the area, which was zoned for multifamily use until Austin City Council approved new mixed-use zoning during its March 12 meeting.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Apple falls for Austin 

(3/23/2015 11:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Apple Inc. has purchased Riata Crossing North, a four-building office complex in Northwest Austin near the site of its ongoing Austin expansion.

The seller of the 350,000-sf complex on Riata Vista Circle was an entity of San Francisco-based Spear Street Capital.

Apple already occupies the entire complex, which it had been leasing. Riata Crossing is across the street from where Apple is building its new Americas Operations Center, a 1 million-sf project at West Parmer Lane and Delcour Dr. that the company has valued at more than $348 million.

Located on 28.8 acres, Riata Crossing North has an appraised value of $62.5 million, according to Travis Central Appraisal District records.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple is in line for incentives totaling more than $34 million from the state, city and county for locating its America Operations Center in Austin.

The company is to receive $8.6 million in tax breaks from the City of Austin, $5 million to $6 million from Travis County and $21 million from the state. Apple has not yet received any incentives money from the city or from Travis County, but did get a $5.25 million incentives payment from the Texas Enterprise Fund, according to state records.

The incentives were approved in 2012, contingent on the technology giant creating more than 3,600 new full-time jobs in Austin, retaining 3,100 existing jobs it had at that time, and spending at least $282 million on new buildings and equipment in Austin over a ten-year period.

As of the end of 2013, Apple had 4,091 full-time employees in Austin, excluding contract workers, according to documents filed with the City of Austin.

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

Visa to hire 500 engineers in Austin by year end 

(3/23/2015 7:50:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Visa Inc. plans to hire 500 engineers in Austin by the end of 2015, according to Chief Marketing Officer Antonio Lucio.

Visa's plans were disclosed in an Ad Age article this week that focused on the company's push to develop a mobile payment system and rebrand itself as a destination for talented tech workers.

According to the report, San Francisco-based Visa's newly launched Checkout digital payment service is one reason the company is in need of engineering talent.

The massive credit card company disclosed in the report that it plans to spend half of its advertising budget on digital channels, up from 46 percent previously.

Visa's current Austin operations are based out of 12301 Research Blvd. in Northwest Austin, near Apple Inc., which is also moving aggressively into the mobile payments world.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Under Armour stretches to new Austin location 


AUSTIN - Under Armour has opened its Connected Fitness digital headquarters in downtown Austin.

The new facility is located within a new commercial development near the restored City of Austin Power Plant.

The office currently employs more than 100 engineers, data scientists, designers and product designers in digital health, fitness and sports.

The building spans more than 35,000 sf and occupies the second floor of the adjacent building to the City of Austin Power Plant.

The five acres surrounding the office are being transformed into a mixed-use urban oasis featuring:

• one and a half acres of public open space and a plaza;
• 30-story residential tower; and
• 33,000 sf of retail space.

This is the first Under Armour office in Texas, and the only office in the brand’s history solely dedicated to digital innovation.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

STEM museum opens 30,000-SF location in Cedar Park 


CEDAR PARK - Nonprofit Texas Museum of Science & Technology (TXMOST) has opened its doors at a 30,000-sf temporary location at 1220 Toro Grande Dr.

TXMOST, formally known as Austin Planetarium, was recently rebranded, and TXMOST Executive Director Torvald Hessel said the new name and the interim Cedar Park location fit with the group’s mission to introduce more Texas residents to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The museum will debut with the traveling exhibit “Body Worlds,” which displays donors’ human bodies that have been preserved through a process called plastination.

By the end of 2015, TXMOST will add a planetarium to the facility, according to Hessel.

TXMOST still plans to build a permanent museum somewhere in Central Texas. Hessel said Cedar Park as well as Austin are among the cities being considered for the permanent facility.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

ABoR: Austin area home sales Feb. 2015 


AUSTIN - The Austin Board of Realtors has released home sales facts for February 2015. Below is a sample of the entire report released March 10, 2015.

• The median price of existing single-family homes increased to $246,250, up 3.5 percent from January 2015.
• Existing single-family home sales increased 10.7 percent from January 2015 with 1,460 sold units.
• Condos decreased in price to $191,500, down 7.9 percent from January 2015.
• Existing condo sales increased 40.2 percent in February 2015 over January 2015 with 185 sold units.

Austin Region Sales and Price Activity by Units Sold
MLS Wide Median Price
  Feb. 2015
Price Chg.
Feb. 2014
Units Sold
Feb. 2015 
Sale Chg.
Feb. 2014
ACTRIS* (single-family) $246,250 7.1% 1,460 -1.6%
ACTRIS (condo) $191,500 -4.3% 185 1.6%
Region Cities**        
Austin $300,000 3.6% 603 -8.8%
Round Rock $220,000 17.6% 143 10.9%
Georgetown $267,000 16.1% 109 10.1%
Pflugerville $201,660 7.3% 90 26.8%
Leander $188,500 -5.7% 67 -9.5%
Cedar Park $256,000 4.5% 60 -17.8%
Kyle $175,000 15.1% 35 -28.6%
Buda $229,000 14.8% 35 25.0%
Hutto $173,000 15.3% 33 -17.5%

*Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service
**Data include single-family only and represent select region cities that sold 30 or more units during February 2014.

See the full report from the Austin Board of Realtors.

Google 'search' results in 200,000 SF in downtown Austin 


AUSTIN - Google Austin has signed a lease for over 200,000 sf at the new 29-story Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment at 500 West 2nd St.

Google currently has three Austin locations, on North Mopac Blvd. (Loop 1), at University Park just north of downtown and its Google Fiber space in what was formerly the Austin Children’s Museum downtown.

The new downtown space will consolidate the employees on North Mopac and University Park, while Google Fiber will remain at the Children’s Museum location three blocks from the new site.

The office tower will have almost 490,000 sf of office space and just over 11,000 sf of restaurant and retail space on the ground floor. It is due to be completed in early 2017.

The tower is currently under construction and marks the second phase of Trammell Crow’s development, which is transforming the former Green Water industrial site into a mix of residences, offices, hotel rooms, shops and restaurants.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Hays County to grow 464% by 2050  

(3/12/2015 11:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Texas is projected to roughly double in size between now and 2050, and Hays County is projected to be the fastest-growing county by percentage in the state, according to county-level data released by the Texas Office of the State Demographer.

According to the numbers, demographers project Hays County will grow by 464 percent by 2050, with more than 666,900 new residents swelling its population to 825,070 over the next 35 years.

Next in terms of percent growth is Collin County, north of Dallas, which demographers project will grow by 386 percent over the next 35 years, with the addition of more than 3 million residents growing its population from 782,341 to 3.8 million.

The Texas counties that encompass the state's largest metropolises are projected to grow at a much slower rate than their bordering suburban counties.

For example, Travis County, in which Austin sits, is projected to grow by only 96.3 percent — far slower than Hays County at 464 percent.

The chart below shows the five fastest growing counties by 2050 ranked by percent change.

Texas Fastest Growing Counties by 2050 (Percent)
County 2010
Hays 157,107 824,070 424.5%
Collin 782,341 3,801,840 386.0%
Fort Bend 585,375 2,738,553 367.8%
Williamson 422,679 1,976,958 367.7%
Denton 662,614 3,031,597 357.5%

Read more at the Houston Business Journal.

Homes springing up in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto 


ROUND ROCK, PFLUGERVILLE, HUTTO - In 2014, 279 new home builds were permitted within Round Rock’s city limits. That is a slight increase from previous years — 229 in 2013 and 257 in 2012.

All those numbers are a far cry from Round Rock’s peak years of 2000-06, when single-family home permits ranged from 1,147 to 1,717 annually.

However, according to city documents, the pace of construction of single-family homes is rising, with an estimated 392 homes to be built in 2015 and 686 homes in 2016.

Pflugerville, on the other hand, reported record-breaking numbers in 2014, with 721 homes built. Its previous peak was in 2013, with 544 homes built. Pflugerville also, unlike Round Rock, includes the number of homes built in its extra territorial jurisdiction.

Hutto reported 429 homes built in 2014 and steady increases from 2013, with 367 homes; 2012, with 226; and 2011, with 189 homes. The city’s peak year on record was 2006 with 781 homes built.

“There is a massive amount of building going on all over,” said Jack Stapleton, board president of the Williamson County Association of Realtors. “The builders are getting as many building permits as they can get their hands on to just keep up with the massive growth.”

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Former Cinemark site to condos, townhomes in Austin 


AUSTIN - Construction plans for a mixed-use project are underway at Capital of Texas Hwy. and Walsh Tarlton Lane.

Centro Development is planning to build 168 condominium homes and 21 townhomes for rent. Another developer anticipates building additional townhome units for sale on the site as well as office buildings.

The rental units will consist of one-, two- and three-bedroom floorplans.

The project is located across from Barton Creek Square Mall at the site of the former Cinemark movie theater.

Developers expect to break ground on the project’s first rental units this summer.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Round Rock: 238-Unit Avery Centre South 


ROUND ROCK - An apartment complex, dubbed Avery Centre South in city permits, will break ground at 3550 N. A.W. Grimes Blvd. in April with leasing commencing in about a year.

The 238-unit apartment complex is the first multifamily development in Avery Centre, according to Ground Floor Development President Brandon Bolin.

The Avery family owns large tracts of land in northeast Round Rock with long-term plans of turning them into a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area, according to statements from the family.

“We’re excited to be a part of [the family’s] overall plans,” Bolin said. “We would like to continue developing out there for years to come as the market demands.”

Bolin said the location near the Texas State University Round Rock, Austin Community College and Texas A&M Health Science Center campuses would make the units attractive to students.

The complex will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units priced competitively with other apartments in the area.

The facade will primarily be brick and stone with wooden frames to complement the nearby campuses. Amenities at the apartments will include a pool, leasing office and community room.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper. Here's the map for Austin area higher education schools.

CoStar: Austin industrial deliveries, construction 4Q 2014 


AUSTIN - During fourth quarter 2014, five buildings totaling 138,757 sf were completed in the Austin market area. This compares to two buildings totaling 18,250 sf that were completed in 3Q 2014.

There was 963,344 sf of industrial space under construction at the end of 4Q 2014.

Some of the notable 2014 deliveries include Heritage Crossing – Bldg. 1, a 222,454-sf facility that delivered in 1Q 2014, and Pecan 130 Business Park – Bldg. 1, a 120,000-sf building that delivered in 2Q 2014.

The largest projects underway at the end of 4Q 2014 were FedEx Ground Distribution, a 199,865-sf building with 100 percent of its space preleased, and Expo 11, a 130,002-sf facility.

This trend is compared to U.S. National Industrial deliveries and construction, which saw 240 buildings totaling 41.8 million sf complete construction, with an additional 164.7 million sf of industrial space still under construction at the end of the fourth quarter.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Austin Chamber 2014 retail market indicators: CoStar 

(3/10/2015 7:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin Chamber of Commerce retail data for 2006–2014 are now available.

Data include all classes and all sizes, and both multi-tenant and single-tenant buildings, including owner-occupied buildings.

Austin MSA Retail Market Indicators
Year* Existing Inventory Vacancy Net
Under Construction
Quoted Rates
Bldgs. Total RBA Direct SF Total SF Vacancy Bldgs. Total RBA** Per NNN***
2012 8,414 101,235,827 5,250,883 5,493,432 5.4% 1,458,774 41 593,649 $17.76/NNN
2013 8,466 101,949,124 4,822,918 5,008,871 4.9% 1,197,858 46 776,742 $17.53/NNN
2014 8,510 102,570,764 4,758,869 4,849,808 4.7% 780,703 22 387,769 $17.88/NNN

*Annual & YTD figures are as of end of the period except Net Absorption and Deliveries.
**RBA=Rentable building area    
***NNN=Triple Net Lease‏

Source: Austin Chamber and CoStar Group

One click, does the trick: Austin Chamber 2014 retail market indicators.

Here's other up-to-date Austin Retail Reports.

For stats in a basket, see The Austin Chamber.

Downtown Austin hotel boom bullish on visitors, higher rates 

(3/9/2015 8:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - New hotels are popping up all over the downtown area, with the building surge on pace to increase the area’s available rooms by about 60 percent.

A 1,012-room JW Marriott that debuted last month boosted downtown’s hotel room total to about 7,500 — and at least ten hotels are under construction that will give downtown more than 3,000 additional rooms.

It’s a dizzying pace for a market that has in the past struggled to land convention business, but hotel operators say they are convinced Austin will be able to handle the influx of hotel rooms.

Austin attracts about 21.5 million visitors annually, according to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the travel industry injecting about $6.3 billion into the local economy.

A growing convention business, a healthy economy and Austin’s popularity as a tourist destination are just some of the many reasons hoteliers say they’re bullish on Austin.

In 2014, occupancy at downtown hotels hit 79.3 percent, according to STR, a travel research firm. When occupancy rates rise above 65 percent, developers say it’s typically time to start looking at adding new inventory.

As occupancy rises, so do downtown room rates. The average nightly rate in 2014 was $203.90, according to STR, an 8 percent increase over 2013. Those rates will soar even higher during South by Southwest, which is one of the most lucrative times of year for Austin hotels.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Also see Source Strategies for Texas cities and county data.

First for take-off near Austin-Bergstrom? Residence Inn 


AUSTIN - A new hotel is the first project to be developed on a 60-acre mixed-use project dubbed Airport Gateway near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Construction will begin in second quarter 2015 on a Residence Inn at 7119 E. Ben White Blvd.

The hotel is the first project to be developed on a 60-acre mixed-use project called Airport Gateway near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). The developer is St. Croix Capital Corp, which has owned the property since 2007.

Eventually, the 60-acre development will have 40 acres of industrial space and 20 acres of retail space, a total value of roughly $90 million.

Dallas-based Bedford Lodging will be using 3.5 acres of that space to construct the 120-room Residence Inn. The developers also plan to develop another two hotels on the site.

The hotel, only two miles from ABIA, is on a plot of prime real estate. According to developers, it will be the first retail site motorists have access to once they exit the highway for the airport at Riverside Dr.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Opportunity knocks on Woodmoor Apartments in Austin 


AUSTIN - The 208-unit Woodmoor Apartments at 3505 S. Lamar Blvd. has been acquired by Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT.

Woodmoor consists of 16 two-story buildings and approximately 152,000 of net rentable sf.

Woodmoor is expected to benefit from an extensive value-add strategy that includes deploying new capital to improve the property through enhancements to individual units and common areas, exterior painting and landscaping.

Austin has consistently been among America’s fastest growing cities and, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, has seen its population grow by 37 percent over the past decade. Austin continues to attract young, creative residents who generate significant economic growth by attracting high-paying employers in innovative industries.


Austin's hot apartment market lures investors 

(3/6/2015 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - As Austin’s apartment sector continues to reach new heights in rent, occupancy and overall growth, property investors are taking an ever-stronger interest in the market.

Last year, 88 metro area apartment complexes with a total 22,074 units changed hands, at an average price of $109,529 per unit, according to Austin Investor Interests, which tracks the Central Texas apartment market.

That’s a 26 percent increase over 2013, when 70 properties traded. Last year’s average price per unit was also 24 percent higher than the $88,429 per unit price in 2013.

While 2013 was dominated by sales of older properties, 2014 saw sales of more Class A properties entering the mix. The average sales price for the Class A buildings, which included 11 buildings constructed within the past 24 months, averaged $156,960 per unit.

That’s almost 50 percent higher than the sale price for the Class A properties that sold in 2013, which averaged $105,000 per unit, but which included only four sales of complexes built within the prior 24 months.

The highest sale recorded in 2014 was for the Whitley apartment tower downtown. That property sold for about $104.3 million, or $393,479 per unit. Tree, a new apartment complex on South First St., traded for $72 million, or almost $215,000 per door.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

tags: ARA Austin Multifamily Stats 4Q 2014 (PDF), Transwestern Austin Apartment MarketWatch Feb. 2015 (PDF); Austin Market Research

Austin's 70,000-SF Southwest Medical Village sells 


AUSTIN - Southwest Medical Village, a recently constructed Class A medical outpatient facility in the southwest submarket, has been sold.

Completed in January 2014, the fully leased asset has approximately 70,000 sf of medical office space and offers above-code parking.

The property at 5625 Eiger Rd. is anchored by Premier Family Physicians, an independent, physician-owned family medicine practice, and also includes 18 other specialty practices.

“Southwest Medical Village is the premier outpatient facility in Travis County,” said Eric Mackey, CBRE senior vice president. “It was designed around the innovative ‘medical village’ concept — a medical office building with a large central family medicine practice, surrounded by selected specialists that agree to offer one-of-a-kind patient access for quality patient care.”

The property is located within Lantana, a 500-acre mixed-used development that is home to corporate campuses for Advanced Micro Devices and Freescale Semiconductor, as well as two Class A apartment communities, 139 condominium units and 330 single-family homes.

As of fourth quarter 2014, the southwest Austin submarket had a vacancy rate of 8.4 percent.

Read more at the

Cedar Park Town Center brings $39 million 

(3/5/2015 6:43:00 AM)

CEDAR PARK - The 182,000-sf Cedar Park Town Center has been sold for $39.1 million, or approximately $432 per sf.

Located at 4601 US 183A, the shopping center is shadow-anchored by Costco and contains several well-established tenants such as Chipotle, In-N-Out Burger, At Home and BJ's Brewhouse.

The property is situated at the intersection of two major freeways, with visibility and access to more than 73,000 vehicles per day.

The complex is 94.5 percent leased. Retail Properties of America Inc. acquired the property from Houston-based The Ainbinder Co.

Read more at CoStar Group and SEC.

SW Austin: another gem with Pearl Lantana apartments 

(3/5/2015 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on the 444-unit Pearl Lantana, an apartment project along Southwest Pkwy. at 4602 Rialto Blvd. in southwest Austin.

Pearl Lantana will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts ranging from 660 sf to 1,676 sf. Completion of Pearl Lantana is expected in fourth quarter 2016.

Morgan is developing Pearl Lantana.

Pearl Lantana residents will have access to resort-style pools, outdoor areas, a kitchen, poolside cabanas and grilling stations.

Read more at BusinessWire.

Colo. investor goes 'Platinum' with Austin apartment buy 


AUSTIN - Platinum Southside, a 195-unit apartment complex in South Austin, has been sold to private equity firm FrontRange Capital Partners LLC.

Built in 2009, Platinum Southside is located off E. Stassney Lane, just east of I-35.

Platinum Southside offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units averaging 934 sf. Rent varies from $917 to $1,822, and the property was 95 percent occupied at the time of sale.

The property was bought from New York-based Clarion Partners. FrontRange Capital is based in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Texas homebuyer income rises, first-time buyers stifled 


TEXAS - Incomes for those buying homes are increasing at a quick clip in Texas, but some local real estate markets in the Lone Star State are seeing first-time homebuyers stifled by rising home prices, according to a new annual report from the Texas Association of Realtors.

Median household income for Texas homebuyers increased by 5.9 percent to $97,500 between June 2013 and June 2014 — more than four times the national rate, which rose 1.4 percent to $84,500 during that time.

Those homebuyers in Texas are still more likely to buy a new home, as well.

About 28 percent of Texas homes purchased between June 2013 and June 2014 were new homes. While that's a 1 percent drop for Texas, the 28 percent new-home share of the sale mix is almost double the new-home share seen nationally.

Rising prices in places such as Austin are making it harder for people to buy their first home.

First-time homebuyers in Texas dropped by 4 percent to 29 percent of all Texas homebuyers.

Meanwhile, the national first-time homebuyer share of the market rose by 5 percent to 33 percent of homebuyers nationwide.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and the Texas Association of Realtors.

MPF Research: Austin multifamily 4Q 2014 

(3/3/2015 9:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Broad-based economic gains combined with the metro’s already favorable demographics have fueled demand for housing,

The gains have generated strong revenue growth for the apartment sector and led to elevated levels of apartment development, according to MPF Research.

Occupancy has hovered around the 95 percent mark for over three years.

With tight occupancy, apartment operators have pushed rents, but rent growth levels dipped a bit in 2014 in response to a growing amount of completions and notable construction pipeline.

Effective rents increased 3.6 percent in 2014 — a solid rate, but meaningfully lower than the 4.8 percent hike in 2013. Driving the recent slowdown was softness in the top-end of the market.

Properties Sampled 745 Units Sampled 167,388 Submarkets 15

Quarterly apartment demand in Austin showed seasonal weakness during fourth quarter 2014, as 802 units were absorbed. Meanwhile, new supply easily outpaced net demand, which led to a 1.1-point decline in the overall occupancy rate. In response, operators cut effective rents 0.4 percent quarter-over-quarter, the first quarterly decline since 4Q 2012.

4Q 2014 Austin Apartment Trends
Effective Rent Occupancy Annual Job Change Annual Permits Annual Demand Annual Completions
$1,087 94.6% 28,600 jobs 9,484 units 8,868 units 12,115 units

Read more at MPF Research.

tags: 2015 IRR Multifamily Annual Viewpoints,  Transwestern Multifamily MarketWatch Feb. 2015, ARA Multifamily Stats 2014, Multifamily under Austin Market Research.

Austin: 258,000-SF Southpark Meadows III sold 


AUSTIN - Southpark Meadows III, a 257,988-sf Class A commercial area that is part of the 425-acre Southpark Meadows mixed-use development, has been sold.

Southpark Meadows III sits on 25 acres at 9900 S. I-35.

The property includes a Conn’s, Cinemark Theatre, Spec’s, Sheplers Western Wear and Half Price Books. The center has room for another junior anchor taking up about 40,000 sf as well as a few smaller tenants.

Southpark Meadows III was purchased by Rainier Companies and Harbert Mangement Corporation.

Real estate firm CBRE’s National Retail Investment Group marketed the property.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Report: Austin leads U.S. in downtown job growth 

(3/2/2015 10:15:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Although most newcomers choose to live a suburban life, job growth in Central Austin is now outpacing job growth in the suburbs, according to a new report from City Observatory, an Oregon-based think tank.

In fact, Austin now leads all other U.S. cities in terms of the percentage of its overall workforce working downtown and in downtown job growth.

According to the report titled "Surging City Center Job Growth," the downtown-oriented job growth in Austin mirrors trends seen in metro areas across the nation, reversing suburban-oriented job growth trends that stretch back more than 50 years.

As recently as the five years from 2002 to 2007, job growth was still suburban-oriented around U.S. cities. Then, job growth in suburban areas was growing at about 1.2 percent annually, compared to 0.1 percent in urban cores.

Between 2007 and 2011, a switch happened, with job growth in urban cores rising to 0.5 percent annually, while suburban jobs shrank by 0.1 percent.

In Austin, the urban core job growth flip has been more dramatic.

Between 2002 and 2007, city-center job growth in Austin was about 0.6 percent annually and suburban job growth was about 3.1 percent annually.

Between 2007 and 2011, though, city center job growth in Austin surged to 3.4 percent annually while suburban job growth slowed to 2.3 percent annually. That's the fastest-growing urban core job growth in the nation in that time.

Austin, with 28.8 percent of its jobs located in the urban core, now has the highest level of core employment in the nation, ahead of even New York City, which only has about 23 percent of its employment in its urban core.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Calif. MIG loves Austin; buys 562-unit Midtown Commons 

(2/26/2015 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Midtown Commons at Crestview Station, a mixed-use property consisting of 562 multifamily units and 58,883 sf of commercial space has sold. The buyer was Newport Beach, Calif.-based MIG Real Estate.

Midtown Commons at Crestview Station is MIG Real Estate's fourth investment in Austin, following the 2014 acquisition of Adagio Swenson Farms Community, the 2013 acquisition of Barton Oaks Plaza and the 2012 acquisition of The Cottages.

"Austin is consistently on the Milken Institute's list of Best Performing Cities where America's jobs are created and sustained, reaching No. 2 in 2014," said Greg Merage, CEO of MIG Real Estate.

The property is located in Central Austin at 810 W. St. John's Ave., adjacent to the Crestview MetroRail Station.

Midtown Commons at Crestview Station consists of five two-, three- and four-story buildings and three parking structures. The commercial portion features two, two-story buildings with ground level retail space and top level creative office space.

The retail portion features tenants such as Midtown Grocery & Cafe, Black Star Co-op Pub & Brewery, Fuzzy's Tacos, Subway, Modo Yoga and Fat Cat's Desserts.

The multifamily component offers studio, one- and two-bedroom floorplans. Common area amenities include two resort-style swimming pools, pool courtyards with fire pits and outdoor kitchens, two fitness centers and more.

Read more at Marketwired.

REOC Austin industrial market 4Q 2014 

(2/26/2015 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Demand for industrial space led to increased leasing velocity in the final three months of the year resulting in a solid fourth quarter performance for the Austin industrial market.

New leases and expansions generated a robust 548,474 sf of positive net absorption for the period — which measured more than the first three quarters combined.

The local industrial market closed the year with a citywide vacancy rate of 10.9 percent, which is improved compared to 11.9 percent last quarter and relatively stable compared to 10.6 percent recorded in the same quarter of the previous year.

Looking ahead, steady demand for space is expected to continue to tighten vacancy although the delivery of new supply may cause some fluctuations.

Austin Industrial Market 4Q 2014
Sector Existing
Round Rock 2,498,932 17.8% 240,000 663,446 3.5% 22,000
North 10,177,069 10.3% 0 5,002,017 6.4% 0
Northeast 4,115,363 5.2% 153,000 3,016,576 32.5% 0
East 1,283,071 3.8% 0 0 0.0% 0
Southeast 4,882,511 5.0% 351,805 4,259,656 13.8% 0
South 1,945,884 11.7% 0 131,848 0.0% 0
Total 24,902,830 9.0% 744,805 13,073,543 14.6% 22,000

*Expected to deliver within six months

See REOC Austin's full report. See more categories under Austin Market Research.

tag: CBRE Austin Industrial MarketView 4Q 2014 (PDF); Transwestern 2014 Austin Industrial MarketWatch (PDF)

Jobs, construction show Apple's continuing growth in Austin 


AUSTIN - Apple Inc. is continuing its expansion in Austin, according to city and county documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman.

The technology giant has already created more than 900 full-time jobs in its Austin operation as of the end of 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, according to a report the company filed with Travis County.

That’s on top of 3,100 local positions the company agreed to retain. As of the end of 2013, Apple reported 4,091 full-time employees in Austin.

What’s more, in a report last month to the City of Austin, Apple said it is about 67 percent completed with its Americas Operations Center, which it has valued at more than $348 million.

Taken in total, the documents suggest that Apple is outpacing its agreed-upon performance metrics, for which it is scheduled to receive millions in incentive payments from the city, county and state.

In 2012, the Austin City Council approved $8.6 million in tax breaks for Apple in exchange for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company establishing its Americas Operations Center here. Apple also is in line for $21 million in state incentives for the project, along with between $5 million and $6 million from Travis County.

Apple, in turn, agreed to create more than 3,600 new full-time jobs in Austin while retaining at least 3,100 existing full-time jobs. The company also agreed to spend $282 million on new buildings and equipment in Austin over the next decade.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Texas State adding $10M wet lab in San Marcos 


SAN MARCOS - Texas State University plans to spend $10 million to pay for an addition to the STAR Park research facility that will provide facilities for life sciences companies in Central Texas.

The addition to the STAR One building will feature wet lab space that will be used by companies requiring chemistry work and other research conducted for the development of pharmaceuticals and biotech-related products.

Another component of the addition will be office space that will be made available for outside leasing.

The university has also committed to building out the 6,000 sf of shell space in the building with the hope of attracting research work from businesses involved in geospatial tools, computer engineering, water and environmental science, advanced education and advanced infrastructure materials, among others.

Local need for wet lab space is expected to heat up as the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas nears completion and more life sciences startups go into business in Austin.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Lakeway: All-Ways Storage sells to Maryland firm 


LAKEWAY - The 538-unit All-Ways Storage facility at 15402 Kollmeyer Dr. and 911 N. Ranch Rd. has been sold.

The site includes 131 climate-controlled and 386 non-climate-controlled units, along with 21 uncovered outside storage parking spaces. The property sits on three tracts of land with frontage along RR 620.

A Maryland-based self-storage company purchased the property.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Colliers: Austin Office Market Research and Forecast 4Q 2014 


AUSTIN - Office vacancy rates decreased by 13.1 percent between third quarter 2014 and 4Q 2014, according to Colliers International.

However, citywide absorption slowed to 206,565 sf in 4Q 2014 compared to 728,703 sf in 3Q 2014.

The citywide average rental rate decreased 1.5 percent from $28.20 per sf to $27.79 per sf when compared to 3Q 2014, but increased from $27.19 per sf to $27.79 per sf since 4Q 2013.

Demand for office space remains strong spurring new development. Of the 26 buildings currently under construction citywide, 41.5 percent of that office inventory is already preleased.

The report shows CBD and suburban data with rental rates and vacancy

Austin Office Market Indicators 4Q 2014
Indicator 3Q 2014 4Q 2014
Net absorption (SF) 728,000 207,000
Avg. vacancy 9.7% 9.6%
Avg. rental rate
(per SF)
$28.20 $27.79
inventory (SF)
0 131,500

Find CBD, suburban and citywide data in Colliers International Research and Forecast Report.

tag: Austin Market Research, Austin office NewsTalk

TACC adding sweet 'Pickle' with 38,000-SF center in Austin 


AUSTIN - Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has announced its third expansion in 13 years to accommodate the center's growth and demand for computing systems.

TACC has broken ground on a new three-story, 38,000-sf building adjacent to its existing facility, which is expected to be completed in January 2016.

TACC sits on The University of Texas’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus at 10100 Burnet Rd.

TACC is able to keep growing because users can tackle more challenging problems in science and engineering and access more types of systems, such as data storage and cloud computing, according to TACC Executive Director Dan Stanzione.

Users are more diversified because more industries, such as biomedical, realize the usefulness of computing in their fields. Stanzione said in the biomedical field, genomics — the study of genetics and molecular biology — is now a digital science instead of just a lab-based science.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Mixed-use Summit at Rivery underway in Georgetown 


GEORGETOWN - Construction is underway on one of Georgetown's first luxury mixed-use developments, which will include a seven-story, four-star Sheraton hotel and conference center.

The Summit at Rivery Park project has been in the works for some time, and finally the tax increment financing and development team has moved it first shovel of dirt on a 32-acre site west of I-35 and north of SH 29.

Hines, based in Houston, is teaming up with Georgetown-based Novak Brothers.

The 222-room hotel, which will include a 30,000-sf conference center, is scheduled to deliver in summer 2016.

A three-level parking garage, along with various Rd. and utility infrastructure, also will be built in part with public monies — about $13.25 million.

Novak Brothers has already built 31 brownstone homes at the site. About 114 brownstones ultimately will be built along with 223 apartment units.

The project also will include restaurants and retail shops.

The City of Georgetown, the Georgetown Economic Development Corp. and the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corp. are jointly involved in the complex financing package. Property and sales tax receipts generated by the development will be collected into a fund that will reimburse the parties over the long run.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

$400M Lakes at TechRidge underway in North Austin 

(2/24/2015 7:15:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on The Lakes at TechRidge, a $400 million commercial development near I-35 and Howard Lane.

The 66-acre development is being developed by a joint venture of two Canadian companies — Ledcor Group and Qualico.

The two-phase project will compete head-to-head with Parmer, another large suburban mixed-use development under construction to the northeast.

Both developers are appealing to the value-driven tenant that doesn't want to pay the extreme rates being charged for downtown Austin high-rises.

In all, there will be about 800,000 sf of office space — enough to fill out two Austin-sized skyscrapers if it had been built downtown — with an emphasis on appealing outdoor spaces, breezeways and a dog park.

Phase I — about 137,000 sf — should welcome its first tenants in October.

Though no tenants have finalized contracts, interest has intensified particularly for the larger Phase II, which could accommodate single or multiple users of as much as 700,000 sf.

"The look and design of the property is geared more toward creative and technological users, but we have also had a lot of interest in traditional office users that are seeking efficiencies in their real estate cost but do not want to sacrifice quality in construction," said JLL Vice President Brent Powdrill.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

See The Lakes at TechRidge for more information about the development.

Transwestern: Austin retail market watch Feb. 2014 

(2/24/2015 6:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Transwestern has released its February MarketWatch report for the Austin area's retail sector.

Austin Retail Lease Statistics by Submarket*
Submarket #
Inventory YTD Net
Avg. Net
Central Business District 14 773,895 0 98.1% $32.00
Central & West Central 86 6,758,626 11,149 95.8% $17.51
North 73 5,074,413 1,488 95.0% $14.14
Northeast & East 73 4,495,271 -9,908 96.7% $14.73
Northwest & Far Northwest 96 6,812,399 -16,002 91.2% $16.05
Round Rock & Cedar Park 139 11,589,059 57,225 94.3% $16.15
South 102 7,822,899 1,775 97.5% $22.19
Southeast 23 1,470,398 0 99.6% $9.96
Southwest 65 5,779,049 0 97.8% $18.44
Austin total 671 50,576,009 45,727 95.5% $16.30

*Survey includes Austin retail buildings larger than 25,000 SF

See Transwestern for the current report and previous reports.

tag: Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Research (office, industrial, multifamily, retail and hotel reports)

Transwestern: Austin apartment MarketWatch Feb. 2015 

(2/23/2015 9:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Transwestern has released its Apartment MarketWatch released in February 2015. Below are some statistics from 4Q 2014 that were included in the report.

Austin Apartment Statistics 4Q 2014
Submarket Units Occ. Avg.
Bastrop 734 97.5% $0.94
Central 9,458 89.4% $1.76
CBD 2,900 92.7% $2.39
Cedar Park/Leander 4,951 95.9% $1.11
Far North 20,066 95.6% $1.18
Far Northwest 5,166 91.2% $1.05
North 10,741 95.9% $1.12
Northeast 9,838 94.2% $1.22
Northwest 17,262 94.7% $1.14
Northwest Hills 13,352 94.7% $1.26
Round Rock 10,690 92.5% $1.09
South 14,274 94.7%  $1.32
Southeast 14,673 93.7% $1.24
San Marcos 6,354 95.6% $1.14
Southwest 13,417 92.5% $1.32
Austin MSA total 156,558 94.1% $1.25

See Transwestern for the current data and previous MarketWatch reports.

You can always find data on multifamily and more at Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Research.

Sold for $128M: Austin's 591,000-SF River Place 

(2/23/2015 8:10:00 AM)

AUSTIN - River Place, a 591,000-sf office complex, has been sold for $128.1 million.

The property consists of seven Class A office buildings and is located on River Place Blvd. near the intersection of RM 2222 and RM 620.

River Place was acquired by Brandywine Realty Trust.

Read more at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Transwestern: Austin office MarketWatch Feb. 2015 

(2/20/2015 7:58:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Transwestern has released its February 2015 MarketWatch report for the Austin area's office sector.

Office Lease Statistics by Submarket
Submarket # of
Total SF YTD Net
Quoted Rate
CBD 66 10,424,742 49,965 92.9% $26.96
Central & West Central 55 3,602,553 18,242 90.6% $20.74
North 66 6,318,544 -349 89.7% $19.94
Northeast & East 54 3,875,151 -21,505 84.3% $12.58
Northwest & Far Northwest 204 16,083,201 73,796 87.6% $19.95
Round Rock & Cedar Park 22 1,586,807 -8,813 88.8% $16.18
South 32 2,172,103 -3,495 96.6% $16.50
Southeast 17 1,749,304 -2,523 69.1% $15.50
Southwest 107 8,380,475 -29,377 92.3% $22.46
TOTAL 624 54,192,880 75,941 89.4% $20.46

*Survey includes Austin retail buildings larger than 25,000 SF.

See Transwestern for the current report and previous reports.

tag: Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Research for office, industrial, multifamily, retail and hotel reports.

REOC Austin office market 4Q 2014 


AUSTIN - A construction boom is underway in the Central Texas office market, according to REOC Austin’s fourth quarter 2014 report.

“Twenty major office projects totaling roughly 3 million sf are currently pushing through the development pipeline,” says Kim Gatley, Senior Vice President and Director of Research for REOC Austin.

By the close of 2015, the Austin office market will boast an inventory of approximately 46 million sf — an increase of nearly 7 percent.

Many projects are reporting strong pre-leasing activity, such as Colorado Tower, reportedly 95 percent pre-leased already. In fact, buildings currently under construction are closing in on a pre-leasing rate of nearly 40 percent.

Vacancy rates may fluctuate as new projects come online but area job growth will continue to translate into demand for office space.

Austin 4Q 2014 Office Report
Submarket Total
Vacancy YTD SF
Avg. Quoted
Rent Rate
CBD 8,550,031 9.0% 267,487 $36.52
Central 2,246,769 12.5% 77,898 $25.22
North 1,619,764 14.6% 103,864 $20.07
Northwest 13,414,009 11.6% 269,385 $28.19
Far Northwest 3,532,895 8.9% 180,161 $23.20
Northeast 1,855,269 12.5% 21,472 $18.26
South 1,688,035 4.3% 9,646 $27.10
Southeast 915,462 12.7% 35,704 $21.29
Southwest 8,464,371 7.5% 200,524 $29.13
Round Rock 884,716 10.8% 49,965 $22.56
Totals 43,171,321 10.0% 1,216,106 $27.24

Source: REOC Austin

Or see REOC's full report here.

For other commercial reports, see Office under Austin Market Research.

Inland treasure in Austin's Lakeshore Pearl 


AUSTIN - Lakeshore Pearl, an upscale apartment complex near East Riverside Drive, has been sold to Inland Private Capital Corp.

The 230-unit complex at 2223 Waterloo City Lane was 95 percent occupied at the time of sale. The garden-style multifamily development sits on 6 acres near Lady Bird Lake's south shore and Pleasant Valley Road.

Lakeshore Pearl offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 517 sf to 1,480 sf.

Austin-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors and its affiliate Argyle Residential developed Lakeshore Pearl.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Arise Healthcare sets up in 36,000-SF MOB in Manor 


MANOR - Arise Healthcare of Austin has opened its 14th medical facility in the area, a 36,000-sf building that is the first home for specialists and other professionals beyond primary care physicians in the area. The building is located at 14008 Shadow Glen Blvd.

The $9 million facility employs approximately 60 people between all of the specialist offices.

Manor Medical Tower at Shadow Glen has offices for specialists in cardiovascular care, wound treatment, hyperbaric care, plastic surgery and neurology in addition to an urgent care facility from Texan Urgent Care.

The center also features a timeshare suite for other specialists from around the Austin area looking to move into the Manor market east of Austin, which has more than 35,000 people in the area without many specialists nearby.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Aquarena Springs Drive's $21M overpass gateway to San Marcos 


SAN MARCOS - Construction will begin this spring on a $20.7 million project on Aquarena Springs Dr. that officials hope will improve mobility, safety and aesthetics of the area.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will construct an overpass above the train tracks that currently cross Aquarena Springs near Bobcat Stadium. Construction is expected to take about 2.5 years, according to TxDOT spokeswoman Kelli Reyna.

City officials said construction could begin as soon as April.

The project is intended to improve mobility in the area. According to City of San Marcos estimates, more than 30 trains travel through the city each day.

According to TxDOT estimates, there were about 31,000 vehicle trips on Aquarena Springs each day in 2012.

The overpass will begin its elevation near Charles Austin Dr. west of Strahan Coliseum, span the railroad tracks and level off near Mill St., east of the stadium, according to Rey Garcia, project engineer for the City of San Marcos.

Garcia said the city is incorporating a hike and bike trail on the north side of Aquarena Springs to the plan as well.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Mansfield Dam: 70 years later, rehab's gonna cost 'yah' 


TRAVIS COUNTY - The Lower Colorado River Authority has launched a ten-year, $10 million plan to completely overhaul the Mansfield Dam’s floodgates.

The project is the first time the gates have been overhauled in the more than 70-year history of the dam, which was completed in 1942.

The floodgates are removed and repaired one at a time, leaving the remaining 23 gates to operate in the rare-chance of a flood, according to Ryan Rowney, LCRA vice president of water operations.

The 50,000-pound gates cost about $600,000 each and take six to eight months to repair. The majority of the repair work is done at LCRA facilities, such as the Fayette Power Projects machine shop.

The project, which was budgeted and paid for as a capital improvement project by LCRA, will not affect local water prices and outside of a monthly parts delivery, should have a minimal effect on traffic on RR 620, Rowney said.

“These gates need to work like they were designed to, that way when we do get that next flood — which is going to happen someday — they are ready to go and operate exactly how they were designed in the 1940s.”

The Mansfield Dam work is part of a project to work on all six of the dams of the Highland Lakes.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin scene adds 1,012-room JW Marriott 

(2/17/2015 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The 34-story JW Marriott at E. Second St. and Congress Ave. is open, adding 1,012 rooms to the Central Texas hotel market. The hotel is helping boost the city into a higher tier as a tourism destination, according to area officials.

The hotel is not only the largest hotel in Austin but also the largest JW Marriott in North America and second largest Marriott hotel in the world.

It cost $300 million to build. The hotel will create about 800 full- and part-time jobs.

Before it even opened its doors, the JW Marriott said its sales team had already booked 520,000 room nights through 2021.

The first convention guests started checking in on February 13, according to Jay Spurr, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing.

A third convention-sized hotel, the Fairmont Austin, recently started construction at Red River St. and E. Cesar Chavez St. and is set to debut in 2017. The Fairmont, when it opens, would unseat the JW Marriott as the city’s largest hotel, promising 1,066 rooms.

Several other downtown hotels are in the works, including a 366-room Westin that opens this summer at East Fifth St. and San Jacinto Blvd.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman and

tag: Texas city hotel data by Source Strategies (REVPAR, occupancy, rate by brand)

Austin's 300-unit Bluffs at Townlake draws Calif. buyer 


AUSTIN - The 300-unit Bluffs at Townlake at 2005 Willow Creek Dr. has been sold.

Built in 1974, Bluffs at Townlake is a garden-style apartment community that includes efficiency, one- and two-bedroom units.

Amenities include a sand volleyball court, indoor basketball court, a health and fitness center, a dog park and an urban oasis pool. The property is also within walking distance of Lady Bird Lake as well as the Roy Butler hike and bike trail. Occupancy was 97 percent at the time of sale.

California-based The Lighthouse Group sold the property to Thrive FP, an Austin-based real estate investment firm.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

445,952-SF mixed-use underway on Austin's 6th St. 

(2/16/2015 10:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on a two-building mixed-use project on a 4.2-acre site at the intersection of E. 6th Street and Comal Ave. The first building is a 94,500-sf creative office building, which is scheduled for completion in January 2016.

The second building, called the Arnold, is slated for delivery in July 2016 and consists of 346 apartment units with 9,600 sf of specialty retail at three key intersections of the property.

Each unit in the Arnold will feature quartz countertops, custom wood cabinets, a gourmet prep island, stainless steel appliances, full-sized washer and dryer connections, bike storage and private balconies.

The project, 1621 and 1645 E. 6th St., is building developed by Transwestern Development Co.

Read more at PRNewswire.

Austin senior living? Pub, bistro, spa in new Elan Southpark 

(2/13/2015 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on the $22 million Elan Southpark Meadows — a 110-unit senior living community near I-35 and Slaughter Lane.

The project, a collaboration between Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Titan Senior Living and Guggenheim Real Estate, is located within the Southpark Meadows mixed-use development.

The community features a restaurant, a bistro, a pub, a salon and spa, a wellness center and concierge services, all within a four-acre plot.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Why drive when you can fly? Austin-Big Bend non-stop and ... 


AUSTIN, DALLAS, HOUSTON - Texans looking for a quicker way to Big Bend have another option, as Dallas-based Resort Air Services has announced non-stop service between the famed West Texas vacation destination and Texas' largest cities.

Austin, Dallas and Houston will all offer one-way flights to Lajitas Resort in Big Bend.

The Austin flight departs from Austin Executive Airport, located in Manor off SH 130 and lands at a private airport at the Lajitas Resort in Big Bend.

A 30-seat twin-engine jet operated by Ultimate Jet Charters will be used for the flights.

According to a schedule posted on Resort Air Services' website, the Big Bend flights will begin the first week of March.

The Austin-Lajitas Resort flight is scheduled to run one to two times per month, flying out of Austin Executive Airport on Mondays at 9:15 a.m. and landing at 10:30 a.m. Return flights are scheduled for Tuesdays, flying out of Lajitas at 3:30 p.m. and landing in Austin at 4:45 p.m.

Round trip flights start at about $400 for adults and $99 for kids under age 16.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Downtown Austin tract sold for Waller Creek development 


AUSTIN - The developers of a proposed downtown Austin development have purchased more land that could allow their project to grow to 2 million sf of development.

New York-based MG Properties and The Sutton Co. purchased a 1.4-acre tract at E. Cesar Chavez St. and Red River St., along the banks of Waller Creek. The land is across from the three-acre site the group already owns.

The new site provides an additional 607,640 sf of development, which potentially could be used for a second phase, said Mac Pike, chairman of the Sutton Co.

Construction is expected to start this summer on the larger site, where three buildings are still planned, according to Pike.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Home Depot to hire 585 in Austin for DIY season 


AUSTIN - The Home Depot is preparing to hire 585 people at its 13 stores in the Austin area as part of the company's national workforce ramp-up for its spring season, when people traditionally tackle long-awaited do-it-yourself projects at the house.

Atlanta-based The Home Depot is looking to hire 80,000 people nationwide for its busiest selling season. Some 500 people are expected to be hired at its 16 San Antonio-area stores as well.

The company is accepting applications for these positions online. Once online, applicants should select "Austin" or "San Antonio" and search for available positions at individual locations. The company encourages college students, retirees and veterans to apply.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Southwest Austin: Bell rings for Estancia sale, rebranding 


AUSTIN - Greensboro, NC-based Bell Partners has purchased the 276-unit Estancia apartments in southwest Austin.

The community consists of 12 three-story buildings on a 45-acre site just off Route 71 in Austin's West Oak Hill Multifamily submarket.

Rebranded as Bell Hill Country, the community features a unit mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with eight different floor plans.

CoStar Group

Metrostudy: Austin housing starts end 4Q 2014 on high note 

(2/10/2015 6:16:00 AM)

AUSTIN - February 2015: The count of the quarterly numbers from Metrostudy’s survey shows the Austin market finished 2014 on a high note, exceeding expectations in the process.

The annual rate of starts as of 4Q 2014 was 10,686 units, up 500 units from 3Q 2014. Metrostudy recorded 2,627 housing starts in the Austin area, up 23.5 percent compared to the number of starts in 4Q 2013.

There were 2,364 new home closings in the market in 4Q 2014, a 4 percent increase compared to 4Q 2013.

Total housing inventory has risen over the past twelve months but remains at low levels. There were 5,850 homes in inventory at the end of 4Q 2014, which represents 7.5 months of supply based on the current Annual Closings rate.

Metrostudy documented 3,871 homes under construction at the end of 4Q 2014, up 815 units from 4Q 2013. The inventory of finished vacant units totaled 1,576 homes at the end of 4Q 2014.

In addition, there were approximately 8,500 lots under construction at the end of 4Q 2014. The months of supply of vacant developed lots has decreased from a high point of 41.3 months reached in 2Q 2009 to the current supply of 16.6 months.

Read more at Metrostudy.

Canadian firm ships FedEx 200,000 SF to Pflugerville 


PFLUGERVILLE - A 200,000-sf distribution center at 130 Commerce Center has been completed.

Canada-based Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust (PIRET) announced the completion of the property, which was built as part of a 1.9 million-sf deal with FedEx Ground, who will occupy the space.

The 33.4-acre tract of land was sold for $4.1 million. FedEx has taken occupancy of the space and has leased the property through January 2025.

The building cost $33 million, according to the Austin Business Journal. When fully expanded, FedEx will employ 120 drivers and warehouse workers at the location with an average annual salary of $40,000.

The facility will generate $1.6 million in net operating income, according to PIRET.

A 202,000-sf facility that is also part of PIRET’s deal with FedEx is under construction in San Antonio and is expected to be completed in February 2015.

Read more at CNW, Pure Industrial Real Estate Trust and the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's Lakeway Resort & Spa sells for $34M 


AUSTIN - Ashford Hospitality Trust has purchased the 168-room Lakeway Resort & Spa for $33.5 million or $199,000 per key.

Located on the shore of Lake Travis at 101 Lakeway Drive in Lakeway, the hotel features 24,000 sf of meeting space.

The hotel achieved RevPAR of $108.67, with occupancy of 62.5 percent and an Average Daily Rate of $173.87.

The Lakeway Resort & Spa recently benefited from capital improvements of $6 million ($36,000 per key) over the past 24 months including a complete renovation of the guestrooms.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin: Post South Lamar 344 units, $65M phase two underway 

(2/9/2015 8:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Post Properties is underway on the development of the second phase of its Post South Lamar apartment community located at 1500 South Lamar Blvd.

Post South Lamar II is planned to have 344 luxury apartment units with an average unit size of approximately 734 sf and 5,800 sf of retail space.

The second phase is expected to have a total estimated development cost of approximately $65.6 million. The Company anticipates first apartment unit deliveries first quarter 2017.

In total, Post has 1,705 units in five apartment communities and approximately 5,800 sf of retail space under development or in lease-up with a total estimated cost of $309.2 million.

Read more at InsuranceNewsNet.

CoStar: Austin retail market 4Q 2014 

(2/9/2015 6:40:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin retail market experienced a slight improvement in market conditions in fourth quarter 2014.

The vacancy rate went from 5.1 percent in 3Q 2014 to 4.7 percent in 4Q 2014.

Net absorption was positive 303,447 sf, and vacant sublease space increased by 9,796 sf. In 3Q 2014, net absorption was positive 67,693 sf.

Tenants moving into large blocks of space in 2014 included LA Fitness moving into 46,245 sf at 4001 S. Lamar Blvd. and LA Fitness moving into 40,794 sf at Lacks Home Furnishings.

Quoted rental rates increased from 3Q 2014 levels, ending at $17.88 per sf per year.

Six retail buildings with 55,788 sf of retail space were delivered to the market in 4Q 2014, with 387,769 sf still under construction at the end of the quarter.

This trend is compared to the U.S. National Retail vacancy rate, which decreased to 6.1 percent, and with net absorption positive 34.91 million sf in 4Q 2014. Average rental rates increased to $14.90, and 561 retail buildings were delivered totaling almost 14.7 million sf.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Georgetown police, fire operations to 76,600 SF 


GEORGETOWN - The City of Georgetown has completed construction on new facilities for its police, fire and emergency operations.

The 76,604-sf main building includes space for Georgetown’s entire police department as well as the administrative offices of the Georgetown Fire Department, the city’s emergency operations center and the Texas attorney general’s cyber crimes unit.

The facility is located at 3500 DB Wood Rd. The city’s voters approved $29.5 million in bonds in 2011 to pay for construction of the new facility.

The project replaces the police’s current 19,000-sf building, which was built in 1910.

The new Public Safety Operations and Training Center has an outdoor driving track, gym, lockers, conference rooms, padded floors for combat training, an area where cars can be lifted up to search for evidence and even two rooms where police can relax in easy chairs.

The complex also includes areas for police training that are below a catwalk system, allowing instructors to observe the officers in action.

The facility is so big that it will only be about 65 percent full when everyone moves in, said Roland Waits, a spokesman for the police department. It was built to accommodate Georgetown’s growth, he said. Georgetown’s population is expected to double in the next ten years.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

210,000-SF buy for Extra Space Storage in Austin 

(2/6/2015 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Extra Space Storage has purchased a three-property self-storage portfolio in Central Texas. The facilities encompass 210,084 sf of storage space and 1,919 units.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but recent appraised values are available through the Travis Central Appraisal District.

Properties are:

  • 9300 Brodie Lane, built in 2011 and valued at $5.5 million,
  • 2631 S. Capital of Texas Highway, built in 2013 and valued at $7.85 million,
  • 9215 S. First St., built in 2014 and valued at $4.5 million.

Extra Space Storage purchased the portfolio from Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group.

Read more at the Inside Self-Storage.

Austin rents ease as new units come into market 

(2/4/2015 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Central Texas apartment dwellers are about to get some relief in 2015, as thousands of new units enter the market and ease the metro area’s demand crunch.

More than 10,000 apartment units opened in the metro area last year, and another 8,000 or more units are expected to enter the market this year, according Charles Heimsath, president of Capitol Market Research.

The boom in apartment supply dropped the area’s occupancy rate to 94 percent in the last half of 2014 — the lowest occupancy level in more than three years, and nearly 4 percent below the recent high of 97.8 percent in June 2012.

The 10,000 new units added last year in the region, which stretches from Georgetown to San Marcos, marked the largest increase Heimsath has recorded since he began tracking the numbers in 1991.

The influx expands the region’s apartment inventory by 6 percent, to 180,280 units in all.

With all those new units entering the market, supply is catching up to demand. That means apartment rents are stabilizing after rising rapidly — sometimes as much as 7 percent per year — from 2010 through 2013.

The average rent in the metro area was $1,107 a month in December — an all-time high, but an increase of only $8 from the average rent for June.

“That’s virtually unchanged,” Heimsath said. “You can clearly see that the rapid pace of increase has slowed to almost nothing.”

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

CoStar: Austin office market 4Q 2014 


AUSTIN - The Central Texas office market ended fourth quarter 2014 with a vacancy rate of 8.6 percent, according to CoStar Group.

The vacancy rate was unchanged from 3Q 2014. Net absorption totaled 136,619 sf in 4Q 2014, down from 762,325 sf in the 3Q 2014. Vacant sublease space increased in 4Q 2014, ending at 738,190 sf.

Tenants moving into large blocks of space in 2014 include SolarWinds moving into 229,792 sf at The Summit at Lantana  — Building 4; HomeAway, Inc. moving into 114,665 sf at Domain 2; and Acxiom moving into 32,945 sf at River Place Corporate Park — Bldg. III.

Rental rates ended 4Q 2014 at $28.44, a decrease over the previous quarter.

Two buildings were delivered to the market in 4Q 2014 totaling 131,500 sf, with 3,235,427 sf still under construction at the end of the year.

This trend is compared to the U.S. National Office vacancy rate, which decreased to 10.9 percent from 3Q 2014, with net absorption positive 37.5 million sf in 4Q 2014.

Average rental rates increased to $22.65, and 194 buildings delivered to the market totaling almost 15.9 million sf.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Cool vacant building on South Congress! It's been sold. 

(1/30/2015 7:50:00 AM)

AUSTIN - An iconic 25,000-sf building built in 1936 at 220 S. Congress Ave. has been sold.

The South Austin brick building once housed Brink's cash handling and security business as well as a commercial garage and a furniture store.

It was purchased by Cielo Property Group, which recently bought the Austin Music Hall.

The three-story building had fallen on hard times in recent years and was sold by an Austin family.

"You couldn't lease it the way it was," said Cielo co-founder Bobby Dillard. "It didn't have any good stairs or an elevator."

Demolition and the construction of infrastructure including stairs, elevator and a new heating, air conditioning and ventilation system will commence quickly, as Cielo hopes to have a tenant in place by summer 2015.

The area is one to watch now that the Hyatt Regency Austin has completed its renovation and parking garage addition and The Catherine high-rise apartment is delivering its first units soon.

The Embassy Suites Austin is across the street. Another apartment is under construction on South First Street around the block.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Kendra Scott to anchor Austin's Lamar Central project 


AUSTIN - Kendra Scott Design, a locally based jewelry retailer with customers worldwide, has signed on to be the anchor tenant in a new mixed-use project under construction in Central Austin.

Headquarters for the company, which got off to a humble start in founder Kendra Scott’s home in 2002, will move into 43,500 sf — the entire fourth floor — at Lamar Central, 3800 N. Lamar Blvd.

The lease runs for ten years with Kendra Scott Design expected to relocate from its current headquarters at 1400 S. Congress Ave. by the end of 2015, according to Houston-based Highland Resources Inc., Lamar Central’s developer.

Kendra Scott Design currently has about 85 employees in its corporate offices and expects to grow to about 160 workers within the next year.

As part of the deal, Kendra Scott Design will also open a 1,500-sf flagship retail store — the chain’s 37th U.S. location — on the building’s ground floor. The new store will create between 15 and 25 additional jobs.

The Kendra Scott Design lease, Lamar Central’s first, accounts for about a quarter of the space in the four-story, 165,000-sf building, which is on the site of the former Lamar Plaza shopping center at West 38th St. and North Lamar Blvd.

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

CBRE: Austin Industrial MarketView 4Q 2014 

(1/28/2015 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Central Texas industrial market ended fourth quarter 2014 with 325,620 sf of positive net absorption, pushing vacancy down to 10.6 percent, according to CBRE.

Net absorption finished up 265,989 sf for the year.

Construction remained unchanged in 4Q 2014 with 469,423 sf in progress. Almost 240,000 sf of that total was in the Southeast submarket, which made up over half of the construction in progress.

For the year, developers have delivered 578,109 sf of new industrial space to the Austin market.

Austin Industrial Market Statistics 4Q 2014
Market Rentable
Area SF
Rate (%)
CBD 26,776 0.0 0
Central 1,426,566 7.8 -5,806
East 3,554,975 22.5 -13,661
Far Northeast 2,476,336 10.4 86,337
Far Northwest 510,465 1.9 3,641
Georgetown 1,238,554 0.6 3,150
Hays County 593,663 32.8 0
North 13,829,571 9.7 157,781
Northeast 7,830,210 14.4 93,029
Northwest 2,600,971 10.6 13,719
Round Rock 3,274,070 14.7 20,428
South 1,761,700 1.7 -2,717
Southeast 10,210,364 8.6 -15,272
Southwest 415,046 15.2 -15,009
Totals 49,749,267 10.6 325,620

Source: CBRE Research

See CBRE's 4Q 2014 Austin Industrial MarketView.

tag: Austin industrial news

Lookout! 600-Acre Clearwater Ranch set for Liberty Hill 


LIBERTY HILL, WILLIAMSON COUNTY - Model homes are open to the public on the 600-acre Clearwater Ranch master-planned development on CR 200 just north of SH 29

The Clearwater Ranch project includes 500 custom homes on one-acre lots. The builders are Austin-based Giddens Homes, San Antonio-based Sitterle Homes and Kentucky-based Drees Custom Homes.

Model homes are open to the public and the community's official opening is set for March 1.

The Lookout Group will develop Clearwater Ranch. The company has also developed Crystal Falls, a 5,000-acre master-planned community in Leander, and Esperanza, a 1,200-acre community in Boerne.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's Promontory Point(s) to apartment sale 


AUSTIN - The 228-unit Promontory Point Apartments at 2250 Ridgepoint Dr. has been sold in Austin's Northeast submarket.

The garden-style apartment complex was constructed in 1983 and renovated in 2007. It consists of 48 studios, 120 one-bedroom units and 60 two-bedroom units.

The property received capital improvements in 2012 with major investments in exterior painting and modifications in the drainage and erosion system.

San Francisco-based Hamilton Zanze & Co. purchased the property from China-based Standard Portfolios Asset Management Co.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Weitzman: 2015 Austin Retail Survey & Forecast 


AUSTIN - Austin's retail real estate market is the tightest it's been since the end of 2004 with an overall occupancy rate of almost 96 percent, according to the 2014 year-end report by The Weitzman Group and its affiliated Cencor Realty Services.

Though 1.2 million sf of new retail space was added, much of that included the opening of three Walmart Supercenters in outlying markets — Elgin, Manor and Cedar Park.

The numbers may improve in 2015 based on projects in the pipeline, but much of that activity will be in the form of large single-user stores. No major shopping centers are on tap, even though Austin's population and overall building construction continues on a torrid pace.

Other major retail projects scheduled to open in 2015:

•  Lamar Union, the mixed-use project on S. Lamar Blvd., which already includes Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and the Highball.
•  At the Seaholm LLC multi-use project downtown, Trader Joe's and True Food Kitchen should be finished shortly.
•  Redevelopment of the former Round Rock Garden Ridge property near I-35 and SH 45;
•  Lamar Central, an office project with 34,000-sf of ground level retail at North Lamar Blvd. and 38th St.;
•  Sam's Club in Cedar Park;
•  Walmart in Kyle;
•  HEB Grocery Co. in Cedar Park and in Wimberley;
•  55,000-sf Hobby Lobby in Bastrop.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

See the full report from The Weitzman Group and Cencor Realty Services for more.

Underway: 20-story $54M University House near UT Austin 

(1/27/2015 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on the 185,000-sf University House just one block west of the University of Texas. The $54 million 20-story project is on the site of the former University Lutheran Student Center at 21st St. and San Antonio St.

The project, just one block west of the University of Texas at Austin campus, is expected to be completed by the start of fall semester 2016, and preleasing will begin summer 2015. The project includes 188 apartments with 504 beds.

A variety of fully furnished floor plans will be offered, including studio, one-, two-, three, and four-bedroom units. The building will also include a five-story covered parking facility.

University House will strictly cater to students and includes 6,000 sf of ground level retail that will be leased by the new University Lutheran Student Center. The religious-based organization first built on the site in 1971.

The total estimated cost is $53.5 million, according to Inland American Real Estate Trust. This represents 100 percent of the development’s estimated costs, including the acquisition cost of the land and building, if any, and excluding capitalized interest.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and Inland American Communities.

tags: Transwestern Apartment Market Watch 2014, multifamily market conditions 2014, Austin data, Texas student housing

DPF dips into Austin, ducks out of Dallas with buy and sale 

(1/27/2015 7:55:00 AM)

AUSTIN, DALLAS - Dividend Capital Diversified Property Fund (DPF) has bought one Texas office property and sold another.

In Austin, DPF acquired Rialto I and II from Lincoln Property Co. for $37.3 million or approximately $240 per sf.

The 155,000-sf, two-story office portfolio is located at 7500 Rialto Blvd. within Southwest Austin's Lantana Corporate Center.

It is 94 percent leased to 21 tenants and features a 205-space parking garage.

In Dallas, DPF sold Park Place on Turtle Creek to a third party for $46.6 million or approximately $263 per sf.

The 177,000-sf, 14-story office property was constructed in 1986 at 2911 Turtle Creek Blvd. in Uptown. Renovated in 2012, the Class A property is currently 87.5 percent leased to 27 tenants.

Including these transactions, DPF owns 25 office properties totaling approximately 5.1 million sf.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Report: Austin population boom happening no matter what 


AUSTIN - Even under the most pessimistic projections — if some sort of plague and economic slump were to take hold in the region — the Austin area's population will still grow by more than 30 percent over the next 15 years, a report from the Urban Institute shows.

If migration and the birth rate are higher than expected, the Austin area could grow by more than 80 percent by 2030.

The report includes an interactive mapping element that lets readers select different projected birth, death and migration rates to see how demographics across the United States could be affected.

Here is how Austin's population growth is expected to play out, using a range of projections:

•  Under a worst-case scenario with a low birth rate, a high death rate and a low migration rate, the Urban Institute projects the area's population will increase by 30.5 percent, from 1.7 million in 2010 to 2.3 million by 2030.

•  With average birth, migration and death rates, the report projects the Austin area will increase its population by 55.3 percent, from 1.7 million in 2010 to 2.7 million in 2030.

•  At the high end of the spectrum, a scenario with a higher-than-average birth and migration rates and lower-than-average death rates, Austin could grow its population by 81.7 percent by 2030, with population jumping from 1.7 million in 2010 to 3.2 million in 2030.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and the Urban Institute.

East Coast buyer snags Austin's Elan East 


AUSTIN - Elan East, a 251-unit apartment complex at 2900 Manor Rd., has been sold.

The Class A community was 95 percent leased at the time of sale. It was built in 2014 and offers one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 505 sf to 1,356 sf.

Elan East is an urban, garden-style community with amenities including include a pool with outdoor lounge area and full kitchen with grilling stations/prep space, a gym, business center and club lounge.

South Carolina-based Greystar and Washington, D.C.-based The Carlyle Group sold Elan East to a Boston-based institutional buyer.

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

Bryson bringing 1,200 homes to Leander 


LEANDER - Construction has begun on Bryson, a 500-acre master-planned community near San Gabriel Pkwy. and Toll 183A.

Crescent Communities will build 1,200 single-family homes at Bryson, ranging in price from the high $200,000s to the low $400,000s.

The first homes in Bryson will be under construction by summer with move-in dates during the fall.

Home builders include David Weekley Homes, Drees Custom Homes, Grand Haven Homes and Scott Felder Homes. The site plan includes an amenity center and an additional 250 to 500 multifamily or high-density units.

Crescent purchased the property, formerly called the Villages of Messina, in early 2014.

Prior to the sale in December 2013, Leander City Council approved a set of agreements that require Crescent to contribute $1.5 million for improvements to the nearby intersection of Toll 183A and US 183.

The amenity center will open in spring 2016, and the neighborhood will be built out in about ten years.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

129,000-SF Aspen Lake Two takes root in Austin 


AUSTIN - Construction on Aspen Lake Two, a 129,000-sf office building in far northwest Austin near Lakeline Mall, is underway. The address is 13785 Research Blvd., which is in the City of Austin but sits in Williamson County.

The Class A office building is already 54 percent leased to Q2 Holdings Inc., and Austin-based financial services company. Construction is expected to be complete in fall 2015.

About 59,000 sf remains available for lease — about 34,200 sf on the second floor and 26,000 sf on the first floor.

Crimson Real Estate Fund is partnering with San Antonio-based USAA Real Estate Co. as the owners of the project.

Crimson purchased the first phase of the platted development in a distressed financial state. Aspen Lake One, which although it was shiny and new, sat vacant for a long time during the recession. The original developer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Crimson picked up the property in March 2011.

Crimson then leased it up to 100 percent as Austin's economy surged ahead — largely on the strength of technology growth. One of the first major tenants Crimson secured was Q2 Holdings, which provides cloud-based banking solutions.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin HQ to Dripping Springs; housing affordability cited 


DRIPPING SPRINGS - HHS LLC, a medical housekeeping company, will relocate its corporate headquarters from Austin to a new facility at 12495 Silver Creek Rd.

The company will move from its current location at 216 E. 4th St. in downtown Austin, bringing 86 jobs that pay an annual average salary of $60,000 along with it.

"We chose to move out of downtown Austin and settle in Dripping Springs … to help our team members access more affordable living opportunities close to their work place," said HHS Chief Executive Joe Terry.

The move was facilitated with an economic incentive agreement approved by the Hays County Commissioners in mid-December. The agreement will give a 75 percent property tax rebate over ten years to HHS in exchange for the company's $9 million capital investment.

HHS was founded in 1975. It now claims more than 350 hospitals as clients.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's 64,000-SF Executive Plaza sells in off-market deal 


AUSTIN - The 64,158-sf Executive Plaza office building at 14205 Burnet Rd. has traded hands.

Travis County Appraisal District records show the multitenant office building is valued at about $5.9 million and includes almost 2.7 acres.

Located near MoPac Expy. and Wells Branch Pkwy., the six-story structure was built in 1985.

CAD-WAL Ltd. purchased Executive Plaza from Sage-Executive Ltd., who has owned the property since 2000.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin: Iron Rock Ranch saddles up $35 million buy 


AUSTIN - Iron Rock Ranch, a 300-unit apartment community located at 1215 Slaughter Ln. W., has been acquired by Philadelphia-based Independence Realty Trust.

Acquired for $35.3 million, or approximately $118,000 per unit, Iron Rock Ranch is located immediately west of I-35 along the Slaughter Ln. thoroughfare in Austin's Outer South Multifamily submarket.

Completed in 2001, the 316,644-sf community on a 22.67-acre site offers one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans.

The community traded at roughly 96 percent occupancy and has an effective rent per occupied unit of $1,146 for the three months ending November 30, 2014.

Source: CoStar Group

tags: Austin apartment, Austin multifamily data

Austin area: Ryland opens five housing communities 


AUSTIN - Ryland Homes Austin has opened five communities across the region. Each community offers homeowners a quality new homes, prime locations and excellent community amenities.

Here are the new developments:

•  Saratoga Hills, Austin
•  Rancho Sienna, Georgetown
•  Santa Rita Ranch, Georgetown
•  ShadowGlen, Manor;
•  Rockwell at Wyoming Springs, Round Rock

Saratoga Hills, featuring large estate homes on acreage homesites, offers nine floor plans ranging from 2,947 sf to 4,598 sf. The community is less than 20 miles from downtown Austin.

Rancho Sienna boasts a prime location, allowing an easy commute across the greater Austin area. The floor plans range from 2,422 sf to 3,619 sf.

ShadowGlen is home to an 18-hole golf course, a retail center, a four-acre waterpark, a 4,300-sf amenity center, a fitness center and an on-site elementary school that will open this fall. It offers floor plans ranging from 2,422 sf to 3,317 sf.

Rockwell at Wyoming Springs offers a selection of four condominiums that range from 1,369 sf to 1,578 sf.

Santa Rita Ranch, set to open this month, exhibits 135 acres of natural landscape, which includes hiking, biking and nature trails and a four-mile San Gabriel River Trail.

Homebuyers can select from six floor plans, ranging from 1,788 to 3,081 sf. The community also features two welcome centers, swimming pools and splash parks.

Read more at BusinessWire and Ryland Homes.

tag: Austin housing

RR 620 boom: Lakeway 

(1/16/2015 9:30:00 AM)

LAKEWAY, TRAVIS COUNTY - With plans in the works for major projects in Bee Cave, Lakeway, Hudson Bend and Four Points, a wave of new construction along the RR 620 corridor during 2014 points to continued growth for the region in the coming year.

Below is a snippet of completed and upcoming projects in Lakeway.

Construction on the city’s largest project, the 175,000-sf Oaks at Lakeway, began in late 2014, said Jon Andrus of Stratus Properties, the project’s developer.

The 90-acre development is expected to be a “true neighborhood retail center” driven by anchor H-E-B that is anticipated to open Oct. 30.

The 65-acre Lakeway Medical Village is also under construction, with its Goddard School — a preschool and after-school care program — expected to be up and running in April, school owner Raul Alvarez said.

The Harbor at Lakeway, a 150-room, assisted-living and memory-care community in Lakeway Medical Village, is expected to open in 2015. 

Lakeway witnessed the opening of its first acute medical rehabilitation facility — Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital — on November 24.

This is one part of a four-part story on the boom occurring along the RR 620 corridor. See similar stories about Bee Cave, Four Points and Hudson Bend at Newstalk Texas.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

RR 620 boom: Bee Cave 


BEE CAVE, TRAVIS COUNTY - With plans in the works for major projects in Bee Cave, Lakeway, Hudson Bend and Four Points, a wave of new construction along the RR 620 corridor during 2014 points to continued growth for the region in the coming year.

Below is a snippet of completed and upcoming projects in Bee Cave.

During the past year the City of Bee Cave paved the way for additional development on RR 620.

In March, developer Adrian Overstreet led a groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s first major hotel — Sonesta Bee Cave in the Hill Country Galleria. The 195-room hotel is slated to open in June.

Sister projects Terrace at Bee Cave and The Backyard at Bee Cave were approved to add entertainment venues, movie and television production studios, office buildings, dining, parking garages, residences and hotels to the planned development districts located just off RR 620.

Hill Country Indoor, an 85,000-sf sports facility, will be going forward with construction in 2015.

City Council approved site plans Oct. 28 for the 16.8-acre Park at Bee Cave commercial project. It will offer office, retail, and commercial space beginning in early 2015, developer Bill Walters said.

Phase One of Gateway to Falconhead — an open-air commercial project including office, dining and retail space — was greenlighted in December by Bee Cave City Council.

The site development permit approved for Phase One includes 46,000 sf of retail with the remaining 80,000 sf of office space reserved for Phase 2. Groundbreaking on the development is expected in January.

Three apartment developments added residential space to the city in 2014, beginning with the July opening of the Estates at Bee Cave, a 316-unit apartment complex.

Construction on the 315-unit Cielo Apartment Living was finished in August, and the adjacent 228-unit Madrone Apartment Homes opened its first units in October, with completion slated for March.

This is one part of a four-part story on the boom occurring along the RR 620 corridor. See similar stories about Lakeway, Four Points and Hudson Bend at Newstalk Texas.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

RR 620 boom: Four Points 


AUSTIN - With plans in the works for major projects in Bee Cave, Lakeway, Hudson Bend and Four Points, a wave of new construction along the RR 620 corridor during 2014 points to continued growth for the region in the coming year.

Below is a snippet of completed and upcoming projects in the Four Points area.

Last fall, Taylor Morrison broke ground on its final Steiner Ranch neighborhood — the 84-home The Grove at Steiner Ranch, Vice President Adib Khoury said.

Shopping center High Pointe Village is being offered for lease and purchase, said owner Nancy Bui of the planned 70,000- to 80,000-sf commercial development.

Four Points received two major medical facilities along RR 620 in 2014 — the Austin Diagnostic Clinic and the Austin Regional Clinic.

Embrey constructed 344 apartment homes at Escape at Four Points in 2014. Standard Pacific is completing The Preserve at Four Points’ 146 single-family homes.

Phase two of Trails at 620 is slated to include new dining, entertainment and a 35,000-sf child care facility — Children’s Learning Adventure — in 2015, adding to a Holiday Inn Express hotel now under construction in Phase 1.

Three new residential projects on RR 620 are zoned to Leander ISD and Vandegrift High School:

•  Taylor Morrison’s Montebello, a 50-acre gated community slated to begin construction early this year, will offer single-family homes.
•  A 25-acre tract along RR 620 at Buckner Rd. is being developed into residential neighborhood and retail center, Stokes Ranch. The project will include 30 single-family homes and an 8,000- to 10,000-sf neighborhood retail center.
•  Land on RR 620 has been cleared for a 120-unit affordable housing complex, Windy Ridge Apartments, set to open this fall.

This is one part of a four-part story on the boom occurring along the RR 620 corridor. See similar stories about Bee Cave, Lakeway and Hudson Bend at Newstalk Texas.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Central Texas ranks No. 2 in U.S. for STEM jobs 


CENTRAL TEXAS - Central Texas ranks No. 2 in the nation for workers in jobs involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), according to the latest analysis by WalletHub.

The Austin area ranked No. 5 for the largest percentage of STEM workers and No. 7 for STEM-related employment growth. It also ranked No. 7 for the annual median wage of STEM workers factoring in the adjusted for cost of living, according to the report.

Central Texas ranked No. 13 in the number of job openings per capita for STEM graduates and No. 21 for the annual growth of median wages for such workers.

In the overall STEM job ranking, Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 23 and the San Antonio area ranked No. 48.

In Central Texas, 47 percent of the area's job openings were found to require STEM skills — the ninth-highest percentage in the study that compared 100 U.S. metro areas. Overall, local job openings took an average of 35 days to fill — the 41st-longest time in the study.

WalletHub analyzed the 100 most-populated metropolitan areas across 11 metrics to produce the report.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Click here for the full report.

Up! Home starts, inventory, sales all up in Austin 

(1/14/2015 7:10:00 AM)

AUSTIN - New home inventory in Austin has increased dramatically in the past year but demand could still outstrip supply if population growth remains robust and building cycles continue to increase, according to a report from Residential Strategies Inc.

Home starts, home closings and inventories were all up in 2014 compared to a year earlier.

New home inventory — which includes model homes, homes under construction and finished vacant homes — stood at 7,279 units at the end of 2014, up 46 year over year.

Here are some other highlights of the report:

•  Builders reported that sales activity through fourth quarter 2014 surpassed their own business projections.
•  There were 12,354 new home starts through Dec. 31, up 24 percent from 2013.
•  There are 20,828 vacant but entitled homesites at the end of 2014, a 20.2-month supply.
•  At the end of the year, 9,284 lots were under development, considered a record pace by Residential Strategies.
•  Resale listings remain tight with a 2.4-month supply, though the inventory at the end of November was 8 percent higher than in 2013 at the same time.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin: 390 acres near airport sell 


AUSTIN - Nearly 400 developable acres in Southeast Austin have been sold to local investors who say they plan a mixed-use commercial project on the site, which is just east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The site is known as Eastbourne Crossing.

The area is in the Triple Freeport Zone where goods are exempt in transit when stored for no more than 175 days before being shipped out of state.

The land is located at the corner of SH 71 and SH 130. It is near the Circuit of The Americas racetrack and amphitheater.

The sale involved two tracts. Eastbourne Crossing was the seller of 385.7 acres, while an Eastbourne affiliate sold an adjoining 4.9 acres at the corner of FM 973 and SH 71.

Charles Heimsath, a local real estate consultant, said the land — which has City of Austin utilities — is a good fit for any commercial or industrial use.

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

RR 620 boom: Hudson Bend 


HUDSON BEND, TRAVIS COUNTY - With plans in the works for major projects in Bee Cave, Lakeway, Hudson Bend and Four Points, a wave of new construction along the RR 620 corridor during 2014 points to continued growth for the region in the coming year.

Below is a snippet of completed and upcoming projects in the Hudson Bend area.

Residential development in the traditionally moderately priced Hudson Bend area gained ground in 2014 with four communities slated for construction in the City of Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Lakeside Villas is slated to have its 32 duplex units completed in 2015, said developer Rob Swett. Each unit will have about 400 sf of outdoor space and an elevator, with the project’s driveway located on Mansfield Dam Rd.

A 71-home development — Vistas of McCormick Mountain — had been on hold for seven years following the area’s economic downturn, but was greenlighted in 2014.

A 14.8-acre project — Canopy at Hudson Bend — is being developed jointly in the La Hacienda Estates subdivision by builder Castle Rock Communities and Eck Lane Properties.

The gated neighborhood will feature 38 detached homesites with 40 percent of the property dedicated to greenspace, said Lance Wright, owner of Castle Rock Communities.

Waterfront community Waterfall on Lake Travis will feature lake views from some of its 36 condominium units, said developer Cosmo Palmieri, who is developing the project with Kelly Gray.

This is one part of a four-part story on the boom occurring along the RR 620 corridor. See similar stories about Bee Cave, Lakeway and Four Points at Newstalk Texas.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

ABoR: Austin area home sales Dec. 2014 

(1/13/2015 3:00:00 PM)

AUSTIN - The Austin Board of Realtors has released home sales facts for December 2014. Below is a snippet of cities that you might want to see.

•  The median price of existing single-family homes increased to $244,900, up 1.9 percent from November 2014.
•  Existing single-family home sales increased 13.0 percent from November with 1,877 sold units.
•  Condos increased in price to $215,000, up 2.7 percent from November 2014.
•  Existing condo sales increased 19.1 percent from November with 181 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
  Dec. 2014
Price Chg.
Dec. 2013
Units Sold
Dec. 2014 
Sale Chg.
Dec. 2013
ACTRIS* (single-family) $244,900 10.8% 1,877 7.1%
ACTRIS (condo) $215,000 6.0% 181 -3.7%
Region Cities**        
Austin $307,155 10.5% 779 5.1%
Round Rock $212,250 4.6% 184 -8.5%
Georgetown $255,000 3.2% 109 4.8%
Pflugerville $192,000 6.9% 103 -6.4%
Cedar Park $259,900 13.4% 87 -22.3%
Leander $201,750 13.0% 78 -7.1%
Kyle $167,000 11.5% 59 22.9%
Buda $235,000 35.3% 51 70.0%
Hutto $159,000 7.4% 50 43.9%

*Austin/Central Texas Realty Information Service
**Data include single-family only and represent select region cities that sold 50 or more units during December 2014.

See the full report from the Austin Board of Realtors.

tags: Austin data, Austin housing

Germans invest in 'Prominent' Austin office space 


AUSTIN - Prominent Pointe I and II, located at 8310 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. in Northwest Austin, have been sold to Munich, Germany-based GLL Real Estate Partners.

Prominent Pointe I and II encompass about 256,000 sf. Prominent Pointe I was built in 1985 and remodeled in 2013, while Prominent Pointe II was built in 2008.

The offices have about 900 parking spaces. The project is on 21 acres near Spicewood Springs Rd.

Current tenants include IXIA, JMJ Associates, Sony Online, UTC Fire and Security Americas, Texas Hospital Insurance Exchange and the law firm of Naman Howell Smith & Lee LLP.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

AT&T calls veterans and others for 200 jobs in Austin 


AUSTIN - AT&T Corp. has 200 job openings in Austin. The Dallas-based company said the positions include technicians for U-verse installation and customer-service representatives for call centers and retail stores. The salaries vary by position and experience.

The company is asking Texas-based veterans to visit AT&T's online veteran career website that includes tools for veterans to match their military skills with job openings.

Prospects can apply online at

AT&T, founded in 1983, employs more than 243,000 workers.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Mattress Firm puts 99,000-SF Austin lease to bed 


AUSTIN - Mattress Firm can sleep easy now that it has secured its new distribution center location.

The American retail company and mattress store chain signed a lease for 99,200 sf at 401-B Parker Dr., Building 9 in Northeast Austin's Corridor Park Corporate Center, effectively tripling the size of its current Austin facility.

"Bulk distribution space in Austin is challenging to locate. We were very fortunate to secure this space with the help of Prologis, who continues to assist Mattress Firm in their national expansion," said Damian Rivera of E Smith Realty Partners, who represented the tenant in negotiations.

Read more at CoStar Group.

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