NewsTalk Texas

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos

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

(9/15/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Colliers: Austin office market 2Q 2014 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the full PDF.

Read more at Realty News Report.

West Austin: the most educated place in Texas 

(9/12/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For the full report, see Business Insider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Texas Real Estate Business.

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

Horseshoe Bay: Fluor completes $500M power plant 

(9/11/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to Podcast 227 for this story and more.

Austin's Colorado Tower 95% leased 

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

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

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

Listed below are the five leases signed:

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

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

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

NAR Austin housing market 2Q 2014 

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

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

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

*Equity gain reflects price appreciation only.

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

Click to see the full report.

Also see more Housing data under Austin Market Data Sources.

Acxiom opening Austin office, to hire 150 

(9/10/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Shopping center to rise at Round Rock Garden Ridge site 

(9/10/2014)

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

The store is set to close Oct. 15.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

California REIT nabs two Austin apartments in $45M deal 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

170 Homes drop into Dripping Springs near Nutty Brown Rd. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Cedar Park 'ion' Voltabox incentives with jobs, facility 

(9/8/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin's downtown condo market on the rise 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Storied lakefront property draws investor to Lake Travis 

(9/5/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

San Marcos' Texas State STAR incubator hatches 20 acres 

(9/3/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin: Seaholm condos under contract reach 80% 

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin Onion Creek homes in buyout 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

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

(8/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

Austin getting to The Point at Ben White with 250 units 

(8/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(8/28/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

ABIA monthly traffic hits 1M for first time 

(8/28/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cedar Park $22M intersection project transformation 

(8/28/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

(8/28/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Seton breaks ground on $295M hospital at UT Austin 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and at Seton.

Seasons changing: Austin's Summer grove apartments sold 

(8/26/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at Muskin Commercial.

Where the wealthy live: Austin area richest ZIP codes 

(8/25/2014)

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

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

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

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

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


Source: ESRI

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

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

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

(8/21/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at Inside Self Storage.

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

(8/21/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Georgetown home sales: July 2014 

(8/20/2014)

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

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


Zip Code Guide:

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

For more information, see Texas Association of Realtors.

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

ABoR: Austin region home sales July 2014 

(8/19/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Board of Realtors.

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

O'Connor: Round Rock apartments Aug. 2014 

(8/19/2014)

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

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


Source: O'Connor and Associates

Click here for the August 2014 report.

Manor Expy. exceeds great expections  

(8/18/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Texas Government Insider.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Newswire.

W Austin Hotel & Residences: 2Q overview  

(8/15/2014)

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

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

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

Source: Online news

Google to lease former children's museum in downtown Austin 

(8/15/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin unemployment stays low in July 2014 

(8/15/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

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

Cornerstone buys Austin's 811 Barton Springs 

(8/14/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

North Austin sale: Northland at Stonehollow apartments 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

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

Southwestern embarking on $24M project in Georgetown 

(8/13/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Round Rock's commerical permits signal strong economy 

(8/11/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

Austin 5th Street Commons, Pressler to Intercontinental 

(8/11/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Expert Eldon Rude: Austin's economic roll 

(8/8/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin area apartment 2Q 2014: Marcus & Millichap 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.

Austin Dropbox here to stay; hunts sales, operations staff 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Mixed-use Lamar Union ready to shine in Austin 

(8/6/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Round Rock's Boardwalk Shopping Center sold 

(8/4/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at Globe St.

Booming tourism driving revenue, jobs in Round Rock 

(8/4/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin ranks highly on Forbes' latest lists 

(7/31/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Weitzman: Austin midyear 2014 retail report 

(7/30/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Buda, Kyle, San Marcos Real Estate Report 

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

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

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

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


Click here for the July 2014 story.

Source: Community Impact Newspaper July 2014 (page 16)

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

(7/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin office 2Q 2014: REOC 

(7/29/2014)

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

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

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

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


Source: REOC Austin.

Click here to see the full 2Q report.

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

Dripping Springs: Morrison buys 100 acres for 204 homes 

(7/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

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

(7/29/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

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

(7/28/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

See Forbes for the full report.

Charles Schwab to bring 823 jobs to Austin 

(7/28/2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

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

Austin ISD 'fine' $40M performing arts center 

(7/23/2014)

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Manor's retail boom drives 148 percent tax revenue growth 

(7/23/2014)

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

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

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

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

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

See the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts for more information.

Vibra Healthcare sets October 1 opening for Lakeway location 

(7/23/2014)

LAKEWAY, TRAVIS COUNTY - Vibra Rehabilitation Hospital of Lake Travis has announced plans to open October 1, 2014. The 58,000-sf hospital is located at 2000 Medical Dr. in the space formerly known as the Lake Travis Specialty Hospital.

Medical personnel in the 36-bed facility will treat patients who have conditions involving a stroke, neurological injury, orthopedic injury, multi-trauma, pulmonary care and cardiac care. The facility will employ 150 to 200 workers.

The property, vacant since its 2011 completion, was leased to Vibra Healthcare in February 2014. The Pennsylvania-based company has facilities in 18 states across the United States.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin housing market blistering through first half 2014 

(7/22/2014 8:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - For the first six months of this year, Austin area home sales were up 3 percent over the same period in 2013. That pace keeps 2014 on track to surpass last year’s record home sales total, according to the Austin Board of Realtors.

There were 13,426 single-family home sales from January through June 2014. The median price of those sales was $239,000, a 7 percent increase from the first half 2013.

The midyear tally was boosted by a surge in sales in June, which came in just shy of 3,000, a 13 percent increase from June 2013’s volume and setting a record for June sales.

The median sales price was $252,520, a 7 percent increase from June 2013, the board said.

Single-family homes spent an average of 39 days on the market in June, four days fewer than the prior June and the fastest rate since 2001.

Amid Central Texas’ ongoing job and population growth, 2014 “could very well turn out to be another ‘best year ever’ for Austin-area home sales,” said Bill Evans, president of the Austin Board of Realtors. “Both homebuyers and sellers can expect the rest of the summer selling season to be highly competitive.”

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto home sales: May 2014 

(7/21/2014)

ROUND ROCK, PFLUGERVILLE, HUTTO - Real estate market data for the Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto area by zip code have been released. Here's the latest.

Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto Monthly Home Sales
Month Number of Sales Median Price
Round
Rock
Pflugerville Hutto Round
Rock
Pflugerville Hutto
May 2014 320 155 66 $271,888 $200,393 $185,047
May 2013 341 168 53 $251,920 $179,465 $153,242
Apr. 2014 260 156 73 $266,341 $199,378 $185,094
Mar. 2014 271 116 45 $257,075 $185,203 $161,259
Feb. 2014 158 87 49 $203,500 $189,000 $156,000
Jan. 2014 147 80 26 $209,000 $174,575 $147,250
Dec. 2013 238 147 42 $232,347 $181,500 $153,458
Nov. 2013 181 103 35 $234,600 $162,125 $145,000
Oct. 2013 238 125 65 $228,875 $183,000 $154,202


Source: Austin Board of Realtors

See the July Community Impact Newspaper. Make your life easier, go to page 42!

Austin Hanover South Lamar apartments to allow move-ins 

(7/21/2014)

AUSTIN - Hanover South Lamar, a luxury apartment complex under construction at 809 S. Lamar Blvd., will open some units to a limited number of residents in August. Preleasing began at the end of June, and substantial completion of the project is slated for fourth quarter 2014 or 1Q 2015.

Hanover South Lamar offers one- and two-bedroom units ranging in size from 491 sf to 1,513 sf. Rent varies from $1,499 to $3,674.

As of now, 3.5 percent of the units have been leased and the company wants to attain its goal of 10 to 15 percent by August 22, according to Rita Anderson, community manager at Hanover South Lamar.

Hanover South Lamar is located close to Barton Springs Road, two blocks south of the Colorado River. The company is marketing the units as being a walkable distance to Zilker Park, downtown Austin and the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal. For more information about the community, see Hanover South Lamar.

Austin jobless rate rises slightly, below state average 

(7/21/2014)

AUSTIN - Austin's jobless rate ticked higher in June 2014, up to 4.4 percent from 4.1 percent in May, though it's still much lower than the 5.7 percent unemployment seen in the Austin area in June 2013.

The local unemployment rate numbers, from the Texas Workforce Commission, are not seasonally adjusted.

Austin's unemployment rate remains far below the average national rate of 6.3 percent unemployed, and also below Texas' 5.1 percent unemployment rate, which remained steady in June.

In Austin, an extremely competitive job market caused by the low unemployment is making it hard for many companies — especially in the technology industry — to fill vacant jobs.

Statewide, the Texas economy added about 19,100 seasonally-adjusted non-farm jobs in June 2014, bringing the total number of new jobs since June 2013 to 371,000.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

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

Austin industrial 2Q 2014: REOC 

(7/18/2014 6:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The latest survey of more than 38 million sf of industrial lease space showed activity slowed in second quarter 2014. NAI REOC data closed 2Q with a citywide vacancy rate of 12.1 percent — up sharply compared to 10.6 percent in 1Q 2014.

Despite the increased vacancy, asking rental rates for area flex properties remained unchanged and currently range between $0.70 and $1.00 per sf per month.

The negative absorption generated from Dell’s move out of 300,000 sf at 13301 McCallen Pass building dragged the citywide market into the red with a total of 168,774 sf of negative absorption for 2Q 2014.

However, gains in 1Q 2014 reduced the overall setback, bringing the year-to date absorption to a loss to 86,367 sf.

Austin Industrial Market 2Q 2014
  Office/Bulk/
Manufacturing/Warehouse
Flex/R&D
Sector Existing
SF
Current
Vacancy
Under Construction* Existing
SF
Current
Vacancy
Under
Construction*
Round Rock 2,498,932 12.5% 240,000 633,446 4.0% 22,000
North 10,067,522 11.3% 109,547 5,233,778 6.5% 0
Northeast 4,025,032 7.6% 0 3,016,576 34.8% 0
East 1,283,858 4.5% 0 0 0.0% 0
Southeast 4,882,511 10.0% 0 4,259,656 15.5% 0
South 1,945,884 10.8% 0 131,848 0.0% 0
Total 24,703,739 10.2% 349,547 13,305,304 15.6% 22,000

*Expected to deliver within six months

See REOC Austin's full report. For other commercial firms, see Industrial under Austin Market Data Sources.

Austin multifamily 2Q 2014: Hendricks-Berkadia 

(7/18/2014 6:34:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Rental demand jumped in second quarter 2014 with 2,950 newly occupied apartments, up from the 1,320 units absorbed in 1Q 2014. Recent leasing activity was more than double the quarterly average of 1,260 units absorbed since mid-2009.

In 2Q 2014, 2,520 multifamily units came online. Overall deliveries were up 85.2 percent from the 1,360 units added in 2Q 2013. Heightened leasing activity amid elevated deliveries resulted in a dip in vacancy to 4.7 percent.

Average asking rent was $1,063 per month in June, up 1.7 percent from March. Rents were up 3.8 percent from 2Q 2013.

Austin Multifamily 2Q 2014 / 2Q 2013
Comparison by Rent $1,000+
Submarkets* Vacancy Average Rent
2Q 2014 2Q 2013 2Q 2014 2Q 2013
Central 6.2% 5.0% $2,018 $2,021
Far Northwest 4.7% 4.4% $1,082 $1,036
Far South 4.2% 4.8% $1,118 $1,056
Hwy. 183/Cedar Park/Leander 5.0% 4.8% $1,001 $948
Near Northwest 3.9% 4.3% $1,034 $1,005
Near South Central 5.9% 3.6% $1,323 $1,328
Northwest Austin 5.8% 4.8% $1,115 $1,081
West 6.1% 6.3% $1,322 $1,237
Total** 4.7% 4.8% $1,063 $1,024

*Listed submarkets include those which have an average rent over $1,000.
**Total represents all 15 submarkets in the Austin area.

See the Center's free Austin Market Data Sources. Office, industrial, retail, multifamily data all in one spot.

In a hurry? Then see the latest at Austin NewsTalk Texas.

ABIA Airport passenger activity up 207,215 YTD 

(7/18/2014)

AUSTIN - Passenger traffic at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport edged up in May over 2013. May year-to-date traffic of domestic and international showed an increase of 5.3 percent in total activity.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Passenger Statistics
  May 2014 May 2013 May 2014
YTD
May 2013
YTD
Domestic enplaned 459,402 445,013 2,057,805 1,963,812
Domestic deplaned 447,709 440,861 2,046,989 1,965,388
International enplaned 8,429 1,948 23,367 6,941
International deplaned 7,441 1,837 22,854 7,659
Passenger total 922,981 889,659 4,151,015 3,943,800


Source: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Georgetown home sales: June 2014 

(7/17/2014)

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

Georgetown Monthly Home Sales
Month Number of Sales Median Price
78626 78628 78633 78626 78628 78633
June 2014 52 69 72 $186,389 $310,000 $300,505
June 2013 33 55 66 $152,500 $258,000 $243,000
May 2014 54 58 46 $182,225 $304,070 $289,950
Apr. 2014 52 50 41 $178,000 $298,000 $258,000
Mar. 2014 41 41 56 $190,000 $309,309 $324,500
Feb. 2014 33 42 36 $159,900 $252,750 $257,200
Jan. 2014 20 30 37 $155,750 $214,500 $292,000
Dec. 2013 20 42 50 $156,500 $241,150 $279,750
Nov. 2013 34 42 57 $156,962 $254,950 $248,500

Zip Code Guide:

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

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper. See page 25 in the July issue to find information quickly!

Pflugerville Falcon Pointe sales gain momentum 2014 

(7/17/2014)

PFLUGERVILLE - New home sales were up 30 percent in the first half 2014 in the 700-acre master-planned community Falcon Pointe. Through June, 116 new homes were sold in the housing community, compared to 89 in the first six months 2013.

Falcon Pointe recently opened a model home village showcasing five model homes from Houston-based Chesmar Homes, Florida-based Lennar Corporation, Austin-based Centerra Homes and California-based Ryland Homes. The community's new homes are priced between $200,000 and $350,000.

Falcon Pointe's new south entrance will serve as a direct connection to the Texas 45 and Texas 130 toll roads, and to the Pflugerville Pkwy.

Newland Communities is also developing the Teravista community in Round Rock and Georgetown, and the Rancho Sienna community in Williamson County.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Dripping Springs: Deep Eddy to open 30,000-sf distillery 

(7/16/2014)

DRIPPING SPRINGS - Austin-based distiller Deep Eddy Vodka will soon move into a 30,000-sf facility on US 290. The cost of construction is estimated at $2.1 million, according to state filings.

The five-acre tract will house an expanded distillery and a large event space. A state law passed in September 2013 allows owners of distilleries and breweries to sell their products directly to customers directly on site.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of tourists coming into Austin to visit that will come visit the Deep Eddy distillery,” said Deep Eddy co-founder Clayton Christopher.

He expects Deep Eddy will ship 100,000 cases — 12 bottles to a case — this year to liquor stores, restaurants and bars in Texas, Florida and Colorado, primarily. “Last year we beat our forecast by 30 percent. We’ll have over 100 percent growth again this year, and we should beat it by 20 to 40 percent,” Christopher said.

Read more at KXAN and the Austin Business Journal.

Austin office occupancies, rents rise in 2Q 2014 

(7/15/2014 7:20:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The Austin-area office market remained on solid footing in second quarter 2014, with rents and occupancies for Class A space higher than 2Q 2013, according to Cushman & Wakefield  | Oxford Commercial.

The occupancy rate for top-tier office space in 2Q 2014 was 89.4 percent, up from 88.4 percent from 2Q 2013. Rent for that space averaged about $33 per sf in 2Q 2014, up 4 percent from just over $31 per sf a year ago.

White-collar job growth drives demand for office space, and the Austin area saw more than 31,000 new jobs created in the 12 months that ended in May, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

About 1.6 million sf of new office space is expected to hit the market by the end of 2014, with that number expected to reach 2.5 million sf by the end of 2015.

Downtown is one of the region’s hottest sectors. Nearly 900,000 sf of new office space will be coming online in five downtown buildings within a year, and “surprisingly, almost 80 percent of this new supply has already been leased,” said Ryan Bohls, a vice president in Austin with JLL.

Much of that leasing activity is due to companies that are relatively new to Austin, including Athenahealth, Dropbox, Parsley Energy and Atlassian.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

For more on the Austin office market, see Austin Market Data Sources.

TAR: Austin area housing stats June 2014 

(7/15/2014)

AUSTIN-ROUND ROCK-SAN MARCOS - The Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) has released local market trend numbers for June 2014.

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos 2014 Market Trends
  Austin Round Rock San Marcos
Category June 2013 June 2014 June 2013 June 2014 June 2013 June 2014
Median sold price $280,306 $311,000 $208,500 $224,400 $155,500 $152,500
New listings 1,817 1,745 376 355 40 20
Average days on market 34 32 36 28 146 48
Closed sales 1,416 1,356 306 297 15 33
Under contract 1,422 1,393 261 287 29 40
Months supply of inventory 1.9 1.8 1.7 1.5 6.6 2.1


For more market trends, please visit the Texas Association of Realtors. For more housing stats, see Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos Market Data Sources.

Lake Travis, Dripping Springs growth in home starts 

(7/14/2014)

LAKE TRAVIS, DRIPPING SPRINGS - For the first time in history, in 2013 the Austin metro area experienced more construction starts on homes than San Antonio.

A lot of that growth is being directed at the north and west parts of the Austin area, according to Madison Inselmann, regional director of Metrostudy Austin.

The Lake Travis area — stretching from River Place and Westlake west to Spicewood — saw 1,123 home starts in first quarter 2014, up 4.8 percent from 1Q 2013, which was up 47.9 percent from 1Q 2012.

“With one of the top school districts in the state, the influx of young families to the area has been abundant,” said Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce president Laura Mitchell. “It’s also the charm and beauty of the lake, hills and small community atmosphere.”

The number of home starts within Dripping Springs ISD has also increased in recent years. Home starts increased more than 22 percent from 2012 to 2013 and more than 35 percent from 2013 to 2014.

According to Inselmann, the Austin metro area is expected to complete 12,132 new apartment units in the next year, 10 percent of which will be in the Lake Travis area.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

$42.5M paid for Overwatch Campus in Austin 

(7/11/2014 6:59:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The 170,357-sf Overwatch Systems LTD (OS) building 5301 Southwest Pkwy. has been sold for $42.5 million, or about $250 per sf. The Class A building was constructed in 2007 and serves as the corporate headquarters for OS, an operating unit of Textron

San Francisco-based Drawbridge Realty Trust purchased the building  from CBRE Global Investors.

The property is 100 percent leased to OS and includes 48.1 acres, which could support another 120,000 sf of office space and a parking structure. Overwatch is an operating unit of Textron Inc.

Read more at CoStar Group and the Austin Business Journal.

Calif. investors trade Austin's Manor Palms 

(7/11/2014)

AUSTIN - The 124-unit Manor Palms, 6103 Manor Rd., has been sold with 100 percent occupancy.

The 12-building property was built in 1973 on 4.3 acres. Manor Palms offers 40 one-bedroom units and 84 two-bedroom units that range from 653 sf to 1,007 sf. The total rentable area is 106,614 sf.

REMM Legacy Properties LLC of Hacienda Heights, California, purchased the property from Los Angeles-based Yes We Can LLC.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Rackspace clouds Austin CC Highland campus 

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

AUSTIN - Austin Community College (ACC) has entered into a public-private partnership with tech company Rackspace Hosting that will move 570 of Rackspace’s Austin employees into ACC’s Highland campus, formerly Highland Mall.

Rackspace — a San Antonio-based cloud management company — plans to open its Highland offices in late 2015 in a renovated space that was formerly home to Dillard’s. Rackspace also plans to expand its local workforce there in the future.

The partnership is expected to include paid internships for ACC students, as well as enhanced technology training and other educational benefits, while allowing Rackspace to benefit from proximity to the college.

Live Oak-Gottesman will renovate the four-story, 194,000-sf former Dillard’s space, funded by a portion of Rackspace’s lease payment.

The college’s first phase of development at Highland, including ACCelerator — which is being billed as the nation’s largest learning lab — will open fall 2014.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin's 265,000-SF Centerpoint @ Colorado Crossing sold 

(7/10/2014)

AUSTIN - The 265,099-sf Centerpoint @ Colorado Crossing complex at 7,500 Burleson Rd. has been sold. Mississippi-based Properties Inc. purchased the four-building industrial campus from a Boston-based pension fund.

The Class A development was constructed in 2009 and is 100 percent leased to tenants including OriGen Biomedical, Hisco and OnRamp Access. The four buildings are made up of an average of 24 percent office and 76 percent light industrial.

Centerpoint @ Colorado Crossing is in the East Austin submarket, one of Austin’s highest performing industrial submarkets. Tenants have access to SH 71 and are in close proximity to US 183, I-35 and SH 130.

Read more at CBRE.

Investment, jobs lured to Austin with TEF 

(7/10/2014)

AUSTIN - The Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) has spent at least $11 million in 2014 to lure companies and jobs to Austin. The incentive money promised so far could bring 1.222 jobs to the city, according to Governor Rick Perry’s office.

The Legislature created the TEF in 2003 and reauthorized funding in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 to fuel growth of Texas businesses and create jobs statewide. TEF projects must be approved by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House.

To date, the TEF has invested more than $560 million and closed the deal on projects generating about 74,800 new jobs and more than $24 billion in capital investment in the state.

Here's a look at the projects funded by the TEF in 2014:

Texas Enterprise Fund Projects in 2014*
Company City Jobs
created
TEF award
Athenahealth Austin 607 $5 million
Websense Austin 445 $4.5 million
Dropbox Austin 170 $1.5 million
Active Network LLC Dallas 1,000 $8.6 million
Maverick Arms Eagle Pass 50 $300,000
Prudential Insurance and HGS El Paso 300 $1.2 million
Toyota Motor North America Inc. Plano 3,650 $40 million

*Ranked alphabetically by city

Read more at the Austin Business Journal. For more on Austin's job growth, see previous story Austin's job factory gears up 2014.

Austin's St. Gabriel's Catholic adding 30,000 SF 

(7/10/2014)

AUSTIN - St. Gabriel’s Catholic School, located at 2500 Wimberly Lane, will complete a 30,000-sf expansion by the start of school in August 2015, according to Head of School Daniel McKenna.

The $6.6 million project will add a chapel, a performing and visual arts area, a science lab, a multimedia library and research center and an indoor sports practice center to its current 58,500-sf facility.

The school opened its 32-acre campus in 1999 with 327 students in grades ranging from prekindergarten through eighth grade, and added a middle school campus nine years later.

The expansion, which is expected to begin fall 2014, will allow for additional differentiation within the school’s curriculum. For instance, 2015’s eighth-graders will be able to choose among four different math courses offered.

In the 2012–13 school year, 393 students were enrolled, and that total increased to 438 students for the 2013–14 school year. St. Gabriel’s is not at full capacity, but will reach capacity in the near future without the expansion.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Downtown Austin: $20M Capital Studios affordable housing 

(7/9/2014)

AUSTIN - Capital Studios, Austin's first affordable housing project in 45 years, is under construction at 11th St. and Trinity St. and is set to open in October 2014.

Capital Studios is a $20 million public/private partnership, according to KEYE-TV.

Rents will range from $400 to $650 per month, including utilities. The new community will include 135 efficiency apartments for single adults, and 25 percent of the units will be reserved for homeless individuals.

Residents will also have access to onsite social services, such as adult education classes, computer labs, and case management and counseling services.

Additional features include 24-hour monitored access to the property; a private community space for residents that includes a computer lab, TV lounge and fitness area; street level retail space and a publicly accessible bike-share kiosk.

Capital Studios is being built to meet LEED Platinum standards and is located close to public transportation.

The project is a key part of fulfilling the Downtown Austin Plan, the city's blueprint for area development that calls for more affordable housing and permanent supportive housing.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Metrostudy: new home sales strong in Austin; prices rise 

(7/8/2014 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - New home sales across the United States soared to six-year highs in May, and the situation appears equally robust in Austin, according to Metrostudy.

Austin builders closed 2,446 homes during second quarter 2014, a 10 percent increase compared to 2Q 2013.

For the 12 months ending June 30, builders have sold 9,203 homes in Austin, a 14 percent increase over the previous 12-month period.

Builders started 2,688 homes in 2Q 2014 and 9,716 in the past 12 months. There are now 4,924 homes complete and ready for purchase, or a 6.4 month supply.

More homes are being built in higher price ranges. Increased permitting and development costs are making it increasingly difficult to build homes priced below $150,000, which is what is typically considered affordable for first time homebuyers.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

People surge in Travis County unincorporated areas 

(7/8/2014)

TRAVIS COUNTY - Austin has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade, but not as fast as areas of Travis County that aren’t included in any city’s limits.

The population of unincorporated Travis County increased by 43 percent between 2000 and 2010 while incorporated areas taken together grew by 23 percent.

This pattern of growth — about 15 percent of Travis County’s population lived in unincorporated areas in 2000, compared with 17 percent a decade later — has emerged in other metropolitan counties.

The portion of San Antonio-centered Bexar County’s population living in unincorporated areas increased from about 10 percent to 15 percent in the same time frame.

Harris County’s unincorporated population around the Houston area grew from 31 percent of the total to 38 percent in a decade.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Buda signs three deals to drive development, job creation 

(7/6/2014)

BUDA - The Buda City Council has approved economic development agreements that could drive as many as 130 new jobs to the city.

The City Council and the Buda Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) have offered as much as $210,000 to three companies that are expected to generate $5.6 million in new capital investment.

The City Council approved a $62,000 cash incentive to help Spohn & Associates Inc. create Pinballz Kingdom — a video arcade, bar and music venue. The project will create at least 25 full-time equivalent jobs.

BEDC will provide as much as $38,000 in sales tax rebates over ten years and the city will provide as much as $38,000 in tax rebates to Buda Mill & Grain. That project, which will redevelop Buda’s historic mill into restaurant and retail spaces, is required to create at least ten full-time equivalent jobs, but could eventually exceed 80.

Buda EDC will provide $36,000 in cash incentives to The Fat Quarter Shop for fees associated with the construction of a 60,000-sf facility. The Fat Quarter Shop — which specializes in quilt fabric — is investing more than $4.5 million in this project that will retain 85 existing jobs and create at least 12 more jobs through five years. Under the deal, the city will also offer a property tax rebate of up to $36,000 over five years.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For more on Pinballz Kingdom, see previous story Pinballz Kingdom lowers the drawbridge to Buda.

Austin: Retreat at Barton Creek sold to California buyer 

(7/2/2014 1:16:00 PM)

AUSTIN - The Retreat at Barton Creek, a 600-unit apartment complex at 3816 S. Lamar Blvd., has been sold. The complex, which was constructed in 1984 and covers about 30 acres, was deeded in two parcels, with one appraised at $28.2 million and the other at $27.5 million.

The Retreat at Barton Creek offers one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as studio floor plans. Units range from 505 sf to 972 sf and from rent varies from $918 to $1,394. The community was 95 percent leased at the time of sale.

The property was purchased by La Jolla, California-based Paydar Properties. The seller was San Francisco-based Hamilton Zanze & Co., who invested about $7 million to renovate all of the units during its seven-year hold on the property.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Software firm to add 75 workers to Austin operations  

(7/2/2014)

AUSTIN - Personify, a Virginia-based software company, has announced plans to grow its local technology center from 28 workers to 100 by the end of 2015.

The firm will be hiring for product developers, human resource workers and other positions over the next year, according to President Eric Thurston. The company will add ten workers in July, hit 50 workers later in 2014 and continue expanding to 100 employees by the end of 2015.

Of the 100 workers, an estimated 80 percent will be hired locally. The company has offices on River Place Blvd. near RM 2222.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin to open 107 acres for manufacturing 

(7/2/2014)

AUSTIN - The City of Austin will invest $3 million and release 107 city-owned acres near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to private manufacturers in an effort to jump-start industry in the area.

The goal is to use low-cost, long-term leases and access to shipping corridors and recycled materials to attract manufacturers that work with recycled or reused materials to land near a former city landfill.

The effort is projected to drive more than $30 million in private sector development and create as many as 1,250 jobs, while also helping Austin to recycle more.

The deal will rely on a $1 million federal grant from the Federal Economic Development Administration and $2 million in matching funds from Austin. The money will be used to build infrastructure out to the site, which includes lots from two to 20 acres in size.

The city expects to open the 107 acres to a competitive development process later in 2014, and the first businesses could break ground in early 2015.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin senior population brings silver tsunami 

(7/1/2014)

AUSTIN - The senior population in the Austin area grew at a faster rate than any other age group between April 2010 and July 2013, according to the most recent census estimates.

The estimates bolster a previous city report that found Austin has the third-fastest growing senior population in the country, and the nation’s fastest growing “pre-senior” population, or those 55 to 64.

That “silver tsunami” carries implications for everything from Austin’s health care system to its transportation to the seemingly inevitable balancing the city will have to do between the costs of programs for the growing elderly population against the region’s other needs.

It isn’t clear from the census estimates how much of the growing senior population has recently moved to Austin from somewhere else, and how much of it is simply baby boomers reaching their silver years.

Austin Population Estimates July 2013
  Travis County Williamson County Hays County
Age Group Est. Pop. Chg.* Est. Pop. Chg.* Est. Pop. Chg.*
65 - 69 34,158 32% 18,023 33% 6,732 40%
70 - 74 20,926 24% 12,410 35% 4,012 24%
75 - 79 14,329 11% 8,189 26% 2,708 21%
80 - 84 10,544 9% 5,268 18% 1,735 10%
85+ 11,348 21% 5,151 29% 1,744 23%

*Change from April 2010
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin jobless rate up, but job growth stays strong 

(6/30/2014)

AUSTIN - The Austin metro area had a jobless rate of 4.1 percent in May 2014, up from 3.8 percent in April 2014, but down from a 5.2 percent rate seen in May 2013, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Texas as a whole saw its unemployment rate dip to 5.1 percent after adjusting for seasonal workforce patterns. The state posted its largest net year-over-year job gain in nearly 17 years.

Overall, the Austin area added a net 5,300 jobs in the region that includes Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties.

Those gains were led by construction and by the leisure and hospitality sector, which each had a net gain of 1,200 workers.

Texas’ economy added 56,400 jobs in May 2014 and 383,100 jobs since May 2013, marking the largest annual job gain since September 1997.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

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

Whole Foods leasing downtown Austin 40,000-SF office 

(6/27/2014)

AUSTIN - Whole Foods Market Inc., the Austin-based organic grocery giant, is leasing an additional 40,000 sf of office space in downtown as part of its expansion strategy.

The space will be leased at The Bowie, a mixed-use development near W. 5th St. and Bowie St., and company workers will move into the new location in 2015.

Currently, Whole Foods has about 280,000 sf in Austin office space. It also has five retail stores and operates its 200,000-sf headquarters from atop the company’s flagship store at 525 N. Lamar Blvd., across from the newly-acquired space at The Bowie.

The retailer also has a distribution center in East Austin totaling 143,000 sf.

Whole Foods employs 2,800 workers in Central Texas, and has plans to expand from its current 350-store portfolio to 500 by 2017.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin's Forest Park Medical Center topping out 

(6/26/2014)

AUSTIN - Construction on the $90 million Forest Park Medical Center has ‘topped out’, as crews reached the 64-foot final height of the building. The 145,000-sf, four-story hospital will feature 46 private inpatient rooms, including 12 suites, six intensive care rooms and ten fully integrated operating suites.

Other parts of the development include an 80,000-sf medical office building and an 181,000-sf garage.

The project is being built on an 8.5-acre site inside of a 59-acre master campus located near SH 45 and La Frontera Blvd. in Williamson County.

Forest Park Medical Center broke ground in fourth quarter 2013, and is expected to be completed in 1Q 2015.

Read more at PRWeb.

Thermo Fisher to lay off 115 Austin employees 

(6/25/2014)

AUSTIN - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., a Massachusetts-based life sciences company with two Austin facilities, has informed employees it will eliminate about 115 positions at its Central Austin location on Woodward St., off Ben White Blvd. near I-35.

The reductions will begin in late July 2014 and are focused in manufacturing and distribution operations. All staff changes are expected to be complete by May 2015.

About 160 employees in research development, product management and other functions will remain in the Central Austin facility.

All operations related to the company’s RNA products will be transferred to facilities in California and Lithuania.

Thermo Fisher is focused in the areas of accelerated research, patient diagnostics and increased lab productivity. The company claims to have 50,000 employees in 50 countries and reported $17 billion in revenue in 2013.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

$52M Hybrid not a car: Austin two hotels under one roof 

(6/24/2014 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Hotel Indigo/Holiday Inn Express downtown is being built as a $52 million hybrid hotel at E. 9th St. and Neches St. The 283,241 sf-building will include a Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn Express, which will have separate entrances.

The Hotel Indigo portion will have 133 rooms, while the Holiday Inn Express will contain 167.

The ten-story hotel, which will be operated jointly by Intercontinental Hotels Group, is expected to open late summer 2015. In addition to hotel rooms, the building will contain restaurant and bar space, office space and guest parking.

JCI Companies is the development arm of Austin-based Journeyman Construction. For more on JCI, see previous story Belterra Springs in to Dripping Springs with 152 units.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Belterra Springs in to Dripping Springs with 152 units 

(6/24/2014)

DRIPPING SPRINGS - JCI Residential has begun work on Belterra Springs, a 104,787-sf, 152-unit apartment community.

The nine-acre property will be completed in June 2015. It will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 745 sf to 1,220 sf. The cost of construction is estimated at $18 million.

The community’s clubhouse will include a movie theater, 24-hour fitness center, meeting rooms, and a resort-style pool.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and Texas Real Estate Business.

Austin area home sales surge 3 percent in May 

(6/24/2014)

AUSTIN - Central Texas’ housing market saw another month of higher sales in May, while the median price of the homes sold climbed about 8 percent to $249,000, according to the Austin Board of Realtors.

Just over 2,900 single-family homes changed hands in May 2014, up 3 percent from May 2013. The median increase follows year-over-year gains seen every month for nearly 2.5 years in the local housing market.

Among single-family properties, the number of homes listed for sale rose for the first time in more than three years, with a 4 percent increase that pushed active listings in May 2014 to almost 6,000.

As in other months of 2014, the pace of sales has abated from 2013’s heady double-digit year-over-year increases. So far in 2014, sales gains have been in the single digits, due in large part to exceptionally strong sales in 2013.

In the townhouses and condominiums category, there were 368 sales — a 14 percent increase from May 2013. The median price for those sales was up 11 percent to $214,900.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

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