NewsTalk Texas

Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos

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.

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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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

NW Austin Holiday Inn $13.5M sale 

(6/23/2014)

AUSTIN - The 194-room Holiday Inn Austin NW Arboretum Area has been sold for approximately $13.5 million, or $70,000 per key. The hotel is located at 8901 Business Park Dr., near the intersection of the MoPac Expy. and SH 183.

RLJ Lodging Trust sold the hotel, which it purchased in 2006 as part of a 100-hotel portfolio. The property was built in 1984.

The sale price represents approximately a 7.9 percent capitalization rate on the hotel’s 2014 net operating income, fully loaded for pending capital expenditures.

The Holiday Inn had a 2013 revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) that represents a discount of more than 27 percent to RLJ’s pro forma RevPAR reported for 2013.

RLJ Lodging Trust is a self-advised, publicly traded real estate investment trust. With the sale, RLJ owns 147 properties comprising 145 hotels in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

Read more at Hotel News Resource.

NerdWallet: Austin second-best in U.S. for working women 

(6/23/2014)

AUSTIN - Austin is one of the nation’s top cities for women in the workforce, according to a recent report by financial website NerdWallet.

Austin came in second out of 60 large cities. Cities were ranked based on a combined score calculated from women's earnings, income equality and population growth between 2009 and 2012.

Female full-time, year-round workers in Austin earn a median income of $40,356, and their earnings are 93.34 percent of what men earn.

Aurora, Colorado, is the only large city to beat Austin. Women there earn slightly less — $39,712 — but have slightly better income equality with men — 95.44 percent.

Fort Worth was the only other large city in Texas to make the top 20. It ranked 17th overall, with women earning 68.59 percent of what men earn and median income of $36,089.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal. For the full ranking, see NerdWallet.

Belmont races to West Lake Hills with senior-living facility 

(6/23/2014)

WEST LAKE HILLS, TRAVIS COUNTY - Belmont Village Senior Living has received its state licensing and residents are moving into the new campus at 4310 Bee Cave Rd. The three-story facility had an estimated cost of construction of $22 million, according to state filings.

Units start at $4,500 per month and include chef prepared meals, daily transportation, housekeeping, a 24-hour nursing staff and a swimming pool.

The 13-acre site includes 141 units that cater to a wide spectrum of tenants from seniors with minimal assistance needs to those serious cognitive diseases.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Strong Austin economy staying ahead of the pack through 2020 

(6/23/2014)

AUSTIN - The Austin economy led the entire nation in percentage growth of gross metro product in 2013 and is expected to stay on top through 2020, according to an economic analysis released by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Austin led the nation's cities in 2013 with a gross metro product growth — the sum of all goods and services produced annually in a city — of 4.6 percent.

The city is expected to hold onto the No. 1 ranking though 2020, with an average annual gross metro product growth of 4.4 percent from between 2013 and 2020.

The Austin area's hot economy has seen its unadjusted employment rate recently plummet to less than 4 percent, highlighting a powerful demand for labor in the area.

Other top-performing cities for average gross metro product growth for 2013 through 2020 were Raleigh, North Carolina, at 4.3 percent, Houston at 4.0 percent and Phoenix at 4.0 percent.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's vacant 220,000-SF AMD corporate campus sold 

(6/19/2014)

AUSTIN - The 219,425-sf former Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) campus has been sold. The 46-acre property, which has access from both Ben White Blvd. and Oltorf St., has been renamed 5900 Corporate Campus.

The existing two-story office building on the site includes a cafeteria, fitness room and basketball courts. The site previously housed functions including AMD’s corporate data center and computer-chip testing lab, along with executive offices and board rooms.

Austin-based developer Riverside Resources has purchased the property from AMD with plans to spend more than $1 million on improvements in hopes of landing a new corporate user.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Warm Springs brings 54,000-sf hospital to Kyle 

(6/18/2014)

KYLE - A 54,000-sf rehabilitation and long-term acute care hospital will open in August at 5980 Kyle Pkwy.

Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital of Kyle is 40-bed facility consists of a two-story building occupying 3.2 acres. It will provide rehab programs specializing in stroke, neurological disorders, brain injuries, major trauma, spinal cord injuries and amputations, among other medical care.

The amount of medical sf in Kyle has doubled since 2010, according to city officials. There is now more than 800,000 sf in the city.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Hawaiian Falls cruises into Pflugerville 

(6/18/2014)

PFLUGERVILLE - The $23.5 million Hawaiian Falls Water and Adventure Park has opened at 18500 N. SH 130 or Texas 130 Toll Service Road and East Pflugerville Parkway.

The 25-acre park has a football field-sized wave pool, a 10,000-sf children's activity pool, a 1,000-foot-long river and multi-slide towers.

The park’s construction is still not entirely complete. Though the park’s water features were largely operational on opening day, the adventure park — the facility’s dry play area — is not scheduled to open until July 1.

The adventure park section will feature ropes courses, climbing nests, a 60-foot high-climbing and rappelling wall, a free fall and 500-foot zip lines.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper, Austin American-Statesman and myFOXaustin.

Sustainable road? Check out Travis County 

(6/18/2014)

TRAVIS COUNTY - Road crews are breaking ground on a new sustainable roadway in Eastern Travis County. The new 1.5 mile extension to Parmer Ln. from US 290 to SH 130 costs $9 million.

The cost is being split between Travis County, the City of Austin and developer Dwyer Realty, who has big plans for the 1,400 acres that surround the roadway known as Wildhorse Ranch.

What makes the new road unique is the way that water runs off it. Typically, roads are constructed with curbs that trap rain and runoff water and drain it into a concrete retention pond. This road will drain the water into ditches that have native Texas plants.

“We’ll trap that water and have it try to sink into the ground and then respire up into the atmosphere again to help it keep raining,” said Pete Dwyer, President of Dwyer Realty.

The surrounding development is planned to build out over a ten-year period with the first homes being constructed in early 2015. “We’ll have about 2,000 homes, 3,000 apartments and condos, and then a couple million sf for business,” said Dwyer.

Read more at KXAN-TX.

MapMyFitness Seaholm to Keep Austin Weird - The Running Good 

(6/16/2014 6:14:00 AM)

AUSTIN - MapMyFitness, a growing fitness technology firm, has leased 35,000 sf at former Seaholm Power Plant spanning nearly eight acres on downtown Austin’s southwestern edge.

MapMyFitness will occupy the second floor of a two-story building under construction at the Seaholm site on West Cesar Chavez St. The bottom floor of that 66,000-sf building will be occupied by Trader Joe’s, which is due to open by the end of 2014.

MapMyFitness will leave its current, 7,700-sf space at 610 W. Fifth St. The company currently has 118 employees, 80 of which are based in Austin.

The new lease leaves 10,000 sf of space remaining in the low-rise building, which is scheduled to be ready for tenants in November 2014. The building is part of an estimated $133 million public-private project that is transforming Seaholm with new condominiums and office, restaurant and retail space.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

PPD renews 225,000-SF lease at Austin's Mercer Business Park 

(6/16/2014)

AUSTIN - Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) has renewed its lease for 224,979 sf at MetCenter 10, a 345,600-sf building that is part of the 550-acre, mixed-use MetCenter Business Park on SH 71, just west of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

PPD, which will use the medical office space as a 300-bed drug trial facility, is a leading global contract research organization providing drug discovery, development, lifecycle management and laboratory services and products for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies.

The MetCenter 10 building features state-of-the-art communications technology, back-up generation, and access to the business park's two 400 megawatt substations, fiber optics, five national hotels and hike and bike trails.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Olympus mounts 130,000 SF in Pflugerville business park 

(6/13/2014 6:58:00 AM)

PFLUGERVILLE - The first large-scale, Class A office building in Pflugerville is a step closer to construction. The first building at Olympus Plaza will be about 60,000 sf and cost about $11.2 million to build.

The Pflugerville Community Development Corp. (PCDC) sold 5.7 acres at 130 Commerce Center, a mixed-use development at the southwest corner of SH 130 and Pecan St., to Russell Interests Inc.

Russell will spend an estimated $25 million to develop Olympus Plaza, a three-building, 130,000-sf office park on the land. The project was approved by PCDC prior to the sale.

The first building, Olympus Plaza I, is expected to break ground by the end of 2014.

As part of the deal, PCDC will prelease 60 percent of Olympus Plaza I — about 40,000 sf — which it will sublease to business or organizations.

The 160-acre property is rapidly filling with tenants, including two hotels, a FedEx distribution center, El Lago Mexican Foods Inc., Cortec Precision Sheetmetal Inc. and gun maker TrackingPoint.

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

Hutto's 402-unit Mansions at Star Ranch sold 

(6/12/2014 11:00:00 AM)

HUTTO - The Mansions at Star Ranch Country Club, a 402-unit, Class A community located at 605 Winterfield Dr., has been purchased by BRE MF Star Ranch LLC.

The three-year-old community is 97 percent occupied. The community features one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans, ranging in size from 608 sf to 1,910 sf. Average rents are in the $1.06- to $1.26-per-sf range.

The garden-style community is situated on 20.6 acres. Property amenities include attached garages, fitness center, jogging trail, playground, media room, clubhouse, billiard room and swimming pools.

The property was purchased from Western Rim Investors 2008-4 LP.

Read more at O'Connor & Associates.

Northwest Austin spices up the hills with 29 homes 

(6/11/2014)

AUSTIN - Two small single-family communities in the Great Hills area of Northwest Austin will break ground soon.

The first community, Spicewood, will feature 13 detached homes with a common pool at 4101 Spicewood Springs Rd. The 2.5-acre site east of Mesa Dr. was acquired from an individual. The homes will range from 2,100 to 3,400 sf with three to five bedrooms. Prices will start in the $600,000s.

The second community, Cima Hills, will include 16 detached homes at 3710 Cima Serena Dr. The site was also acquired from an individual. The homes will be a more modern styling than at Spicewood and will average about 2,500 sf, starting in the $500,000s.

All the homes at both locations will incorporate energy efficient building techniques and appliances along with solar features. Homes will be available in early 2015.

PSW Real Estate is the developer for both projects.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

SafeGuard set to vault Austin jobs to 400 workers 

(6/10/2014)

AUSTIN - SafeGuard World International Ltd. plans to grow its headquarters' headcount to 400 within five years, according to CEO Bjorn Reynolds.

SafeGuard, a British company, set up its headquarters near the intersection of Loop 360 and Wild Basin Rd. when it relocated its headquarters to Austin in February 2014. The firm now employ 14 workers, but growing international demand is fueling growth.

As a result, the payroll and employment outsourcing firm plans to employ 60 local workers by the end of 2014 and 400 in five years.

SafeGuard, which was founded in 2008 by Reynolds, also operates offices in North Carolina, the United Kingdom, and Mexico City. The company employs 280 workers globally and has customers in more than 165 countries.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Pinballz Kingdom lowers the drawbridge to Buda 

(6/10/2014)

BUDA - A $6 million project will convert the abandoned Dorsett truck stop near I-35 and Main St. into Pinballz Kingdom, a 25,000-sf family entertainment center.

The owners of Pinballz Kingdom are constructing an arcade, full restaurant, laser tag and live music venue at the building and the surrounding 13 acres. The project’s second phase will include construction of walls and a drawbridge to mimic the look of a castle.

Pinballz Kingdom will have a capacity of several hundred when it opens and will eventually expand to accommodate more than 1,000 customers at a time. The project is expected to open summer 2014, and will hire between 25 and 30 workers.

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

Austin's Apple cart full with 700-plus new jobs 

(6/10/2014)

AUSTIN - Apple Inc.'s northwest Austin campus isn't done just yet, but the company created 743 new local jobs in 2013, according to documents filed with the City of Austin.

The documents also reveal that Apple spent at least $56.5 million on its Austin expansion in 2013.

In 2012, Apple secured nearly $37 million in incentives from city and state government inventive programs to help the company expand its American Operations Center. Those incentive agreements require the company to more than double the size of its already 3,100-strong local workforce by creating 3,600 more jobs.

The company’s local investment is expected to include seven new office buildings with a combined 1 million sf or more.

Most of the new-hires so far have been locals. About 67 percent of Apple’s workers had Austin addresses before they were hired.

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

San Marcos former post office stamped Torchy's Taco 

(6/10/2014)

SAN MARCOS - A former 18,000-sf post office building in the heart of downtown will be redeveloped into a shopping center anchored by Torchy’s Tacos.

The building is located at 301 N. Guadalupe St. and has been vacant for more than a year after the U.S. Postal Service shut it down as part of a nationwide effort to cut costs.

New owners purchased the building in December and plan to transform it this year into Guadalupe Station, a center that, in addition to Torchy’s Tacos, will feature Jersey Mike’s Subs, Sport Clips and Smoothie King.

At 4,000 sf, Torchy’s will occupy about a quarter of the space in the shopping center. Being within walking distance of Texas State University with more than 35,000 students made the project appealing to the growing chain.

Opening dates for the businesses have not been determined.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Cedar Park, Leander home sales: Apr. 2014 

(6/9/2014 6:41:00 AM)

CEDAR PARK, LEANDER - Real estate market data for the Cedar Park and Leander Multiple Listing Service areas has been released for April.

Cedar Park, Leander Monthly Home Sales
Month # of Sales Median Price
CLN* CLS* CLN* CLS*
Apr. 2014 132 95 $215,000 $277,500
Apr. 2013 143 142 $179,900 $235,000
Mar. 2014 123 75 $188,000 $273,500
Feb. 2014 101 62 $230,886 $274,342
Jan. 2014 84 67 $183,809 $243,000
Dec. 2013 126 95 $179,900 $250,000
Nov. 2013 123 66 $174,000 $252,480
Oct. 2013 123 62 $177,500 $225,000


*Beginning in 2007, the Cedar Park/Leander area was changed from Multiple Listing Service area CL, which included all of Leander and Cedar Park, to MLS areas CLN and CLS, divided by FM 1431. CLN includes most of Leander, while CLS includes most of Cedar Park.

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper. See page 45 in the May Issue!

Austin apartments Laurel Woods, Hidden Villas snapped up 

(6/6/2014)

AUSTIN - Two apartment complexes — Laurel Woods and Hidden Villas — have been purchased by Dallas-based Presidium Group.

Laurel Woods was sold for $13.2 million by Berkshire Income Realty Inc.

The 150-unit Laurel Woods, 8312 Fathom Circle, offers one- and two-bedroom units that range from 677 sf to 980 sf. Rent ranges from $792 to $1,030, which was built in 1984.

Hidden Villas is a 156-unit complex at 7607 Blessing Ave. The community offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units that range from 699 sf to 1,152 sf and from $700 to $900.

Presidium purchased Hidden Villas from Los Angeles-based St. Johns Apartments.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal and the SEC.

No water in the well! Spicewood Beach area new wells swell 

(6/5/2014)

SPICEWOOD BEACH - A new water system is taking shape for the drought-stricken Spicewood Beach area.

Considered the first Texas city to “run out of water,” the situation prompted the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to start hauling five to seven tankers of water each day, at an estimated cost of $35,000 per month, to replenish storage tanks that fed the system.

Now, the new water system signals the near-end of these several communities and elementary school having to rely on water trucked in for domestic use.

“We’re getting very close. We’re essentially complete with the construction for the new wells,” said Utilities Operations Manager Darrin Barker of Corix the contractor handling construction. “We’re doing the final plumbing and wiring.”

By June 2, officials unveiled completed equipment and structures, including infiltration galleries and a water treatment plant. Officials expect to launch testing and assess lab results sometime after June 9.

The startup could end restrictive conservation measures throughout the communities since the initial system failure. When the system is fully operational, LCRA is expected to halt water hauls into the community.

LCRA is the owner of the Spicewood Beach system. Corix, negotiating the purchase of the system from LCRA, is the contractor and construction management partner.

Read more at The River Cities Daily Tribune.

Pflugerville incentive package lands Courtyard Marriott 

(6/5/2014)

PFLUGERVILLE - City officials approved an incentive package in May with a development team that could be worth up to $22.9 million over 30 years in an effort to secure the development of a Courtyard Marriott hotel and conference center.

The hotel will be located on the southwestern corner of the intersection of Pecan St. and SH 130 in 130 Commerce Center, a new mixed-use commercial development now under construction.

Construction on the hotel is expected to begin before 2015 and finish in spring or summer 2016.

The 142-room hotel will cost more than $20 million and have at least 20,000 sf of conference space, enough for a 1,000-person reception. The hotel will also feature a full-service restaurant, fitness center, bar and pool, according to a presentation by developers.

According to the contract, the city will rebate all of the Courtyard group’s hotel occupancy taxes for 30 years. In addition, Pflugerville will take 75 percent of the next four hotels’ occupancy taxes and pay that amount to the Courtyard group for one decade starting the year each new hotel begins operation.

The incoming Best Western Plus hotel slated to open mid-2015 in 130 Commerce Center will count as one of those four hotels.

The City of Pflugerville has also agreed to rebate all the hotel’s property taxes for 15 years. The city will also rebate half the sales tax paid by the hotel every year for 30 years up to $55,000 per fiscal year and waive all city-mandated building and utility connection fees.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Buda, Kyle, San Marcos home sales: Apr. 2014 

(6/5/2014)

BUDA, KYLE, SAN MARCOS - Real estate market data for the Buda, Kyle and San Marcos Multiple Listing Service area have been released.

Buda, Kyle, San Marcos Monthly Home Sales
Number of Homes Sold Median Price
Month Buda Kyle San
Marcos
Buda Kyle San
Marcos
Apr. 2014 41 66 30 $224,000 $167,835 $169,000
Apr. 2013 51 51 21 $189,900 $155,000 $169,900
Mar. 2014 46 64 30 $209,400 $157,000 $180,000
Feb. 2014 40 52 15 $197,950 $152,500 $157,817
Jan. 2014 32 40 25 $184,950 $161,995 $149,900
Dec. 2013 29 51 11 $180,954 $150,000 $160,000
Nov. 2013 28 50 14 $199,000 $148,900 $172,450
Oct. 2013 40 53 11 $208,000 $159,000 $152,000
Sept. 2013 56 70 22 $186,820 $153,000 $168,000


Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper. Make your life easier, go to the May Issue page 23!

Lake Travis / Westlake home sales by zip: Apr. 2014 

(6/5/2014)

LAKE TRAVIS / WESTLAKE - Real estate market data for the Lake Travis / Westlake Multiple Listing Service include:

Lake Travis / Westlake Home* Sales by Zip Code
Month Number Sold / Median Price
78726 78730 78732 78733 78734 78735 78738 78746
Apr. 2014 16/$447,500 23/$519,435 35/$455,000 8/$622,575 40/$330,720 18/$575,000 46/$550,500 33/$855,000
Apr. 2013 14/$367,000 24/$698,000 36/$399,500 14/$1,006,800 53/$375,000 28/$476,250 56/$434,975 45/$860,000
Mar. 2014 6/$518,000 17/$561,000 18/$460,500 14/$557,000 41/$320,069 16/$425,625 25/$486,500 30/$711,502
Feb. 2014 9/$367,931 6/$176,450 18/$442,500 8/$572,300 23/$297,775 15/$427,000 28/$527,500 24/$867,784
Dec. 2013 4/$371,000 29/$570,000 21/$415,000 13/$451,385 34/$310,000 19/$390,000 38/$496,079 31/$935,000
Sept. 2013 11/$352,500 18/$357,500 33/$362,500 12/$569,000 40/$329,280 19/$425,000 38/$515,000 36/$767,000

*Market data include condominiums, townhomes and single-family homes.

Zip Code Guide:

• 78726 Four Points
• 78730 River Place
• 78732 Steiner Ranch
• 78733 Bee Caves Road area
• 78734 Lakeway
• 78735 Barton Creek
• 78738 Bee Cave
• 78746 West Lake Hills/Rollingwood

Source: Austin Board of Realtors

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper. To find data quickly, see page 61 in the May Issue!

Georgetown home sales: April 2014 

(6/4/2014)

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 Average Price
78626 78628 78633 78626 78628 78633
Apr. 2014 52 50 41 $178,000 $298,000 $258,000
Apr. 2013 35 54 69 $173,000 $273,250 $238,150
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
Oct. 2013 29 57 48 $153,000 $240,000 $233,500
Sept. 2013 35 43 54 $170,000 $220,000 $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 36 in the May Issue to find information quickly!

SpareFoot jumps into Austin office with both feet 

(6/4/2014)

AUSTIN - SpareFoot Inc. has expanded its presence at the Perry Brooks Building at 720 Brazos St., leasing 11,000 sf.

With the added space, SpareFoot will occupy 24,687 sf across five floors in the 12-story, 126,585-sf building. The web-based storage space company secured 8,054 sf on the first floor and 2,950 sf on the fifth floor.

Construction on the first floor should begin in late June and will house the customer service team. The fifth floor construction likely will begin in late August and will be occupied by product and development teams, along with a cafeteria.

SpareFoot has grown rapidly since its inception in 2009. The company counts 160 employees, and expects that number to reach 190 by the end of the year.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

For more on SpareFoot stats, see Austin Market Datas Sources under retail.

Round Rock lands global electronics manufacturer 

(6/3/2014)

ROUND ROCK - International manufacturer Benchmark Electronics has announced that it will open a new manufacturing and assembly facility this summer.

The new facility will be located in the Corridor Park business development, located off of southbound I-35, south of the intersection of I-35 and SH 45 N.

The new branch is expected to bring between 75 and 80 jobs to the area, according to Ben White, vice president of economic development at the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce/Economic Development Partnership.

The chamber’s Economic Development Partnership incentivized the company to move to Round Rock by fast-tracking city inspection and permitting procedures, White said. The chamber also worked with the Texas Workforce Commission to assist in getting Benchmark’s new local workers trained through Austin Community College.

Benchmark Electronics makes a variety of electronic components for the industrial controls, medical and telecommunications markets among others.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Round Rock Preserve(s) homes at Mayfield Ranch 

(6/3/2014)

ROUND ROCK - The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch, a gated garden home community, had its grand opening event in May. The community is located at the corner of Mayfield Ranch Blvd. and Hwy. 1431.

The Preserve offers seven floor plans ranging in size from 1,297 to 2,609 sf, each with a covered patio to enjoy the views of the Texas Hill Country. Prices for the garden homes start in the low $200,000s.

The homes feature granite countertops, ceramic tile, cathedral ceilings, two-car garages, side entry and leading-edge GE appliances.

Read more at Multi-Housing News.

Whitestone Blvd. busy as Walmart opens in Cedar Park 

(6/3/2014)

CEDAR PARK - A 185,000-sf Walmart has opened at 2801 E. Whitestone Blvd.

The store features a Subway restaurant and SmartStyle Hair Salon, and will also be the first Texas location to offer fresh-made sushi every day, according to Manager Keith Mitchell.

The store employs 350 people including ten salaried managers. About 30 percent to 40 percent of the workforce are part-time employees.

The new Walmart is also expected to draw customers from north of Cedar Park, including the cities of Leander and Liberty Hill. This is the second Walmart in Cedar Park

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Looking for Austin office space? Here's 2M SF 

(6/3/2014)

AUSTIN - For the past decade, hardly any new office construction occurred in Austin, but it is hard to imagine how stagnated the market used to be based on activity today.

The Austin Business Journal has pulled together a list of the major office buildings under construction that cumulatively are impressive. More than 2 million sf of Class A office space is rising from the ground.

The top five projects are listed below and are ranked by rentable sf.

Top Five Largest Office Projects in Austin
Building Name Address Rentable
SF
Delivery
Colorado Tower 303 Colorado St. 371,348 Dec. 2014
3700 San Clemente 3700 San Clemente 250,000 May 2015
Domain 7 Domain 222,000 Oct. 2014
Champion Office Park 6500 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. 220,000 Oct. 2014
Rollingwood Center S. Mopac and Bee Cave Rd. 215,000 May 2015


For the full list, see the Austin Business Journal.

Austin Boys & Girls Club site going condo 

(6/3/2014)

AUSTIN - A longtime Boys & Girls Club site located at 211 W. Johanna St. has been sold to make way for a new condominium project. The property was sold to Barton Creek Capital LLC in a $2.75 million deal.

The 38- to 40-unit development will be a mix of townhomes and flats. This project marks another chapter in the development of the sought-after 78704 area code.

Although pricing remains to be determined, units will range from 700 sf to 2,250 sf, which could retail for anywhere from $250,000 to $700,000.

The project will incorporate the existing church building on the site, as well as preserve the heritage trees on the property. It could break ground by September or October this year and be completed in 2015. There are no current plans to request zoning changes or variances for the project.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Sprouts sets up shop in Cedar Park 

(6/3/2014)

CEDAR PARK - Sprouts Farmers Market will open a 27,000-sf store at 1530 Cypress Creek Rd. on August 27, 2014.

Job applications are being accepted online at sprouts.com/careers. About 100 employees will be hired for the new store. When the Cedar Park store opens, Sprouts will have the same number of stores in the Austin region as Whole Foods.

Sprouts is also scheduled to open three other Texas stores by the end of summer — two in Dallas and one in Houston. Sprouts operates 170 stores, mostly in the western U.S.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Box lands a knockout with Austin office, 200 employees 

(6/3/2014)

AUSTIN - California-based Box Inc. has announced plans to open a 200-worker office in downtown across the street from its biggest competitor which also happens to be adding 200 jobs.

Box, which provides an online file-sharing service much like Dropbox Inc., said it will open an office this fall at One American Center with workers in several areas such as customer experience, finance and technical operations.

It plans to employ up to 90 local workers by the end of 2014, with plans to eventually expand the workforce to 200.

The new office would be across Congress Avenue from Box’s chief competition, Dropbox, which also plans to employ 200 workers in Austin by the end of 2015.

Box, founded in 2005, claims more than 25 million users and operates offices in San Francisco, London and Japan. In March, Box disclosed plans to raise up to $250 million in an initial public offering.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Sheraton Austin Hotel sold; $6M renovation coming 

(6/2/2014)

AUSTIN - The 365-room Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol has been purchased by Carey Watermark Investors Inc. (CWI) in a joint venture with JMI Realty (JMI). The hotel, located downtown at 701 E. 11th St., will receive an approximately $6 million renovation.

The hotel features more than 17,000 sf of meeting space. Management of the property will remain in the hands of an affiliate of HEI Hotels & Resorts.

CWI, the majority owner of the full-service hotel with an 80 percent stake, has not disclosed the financial terms of the transaction. The 15-story property last changed hands in 2011 when Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers purchased it from HEI for $95.2 million.

CWI also recently purchased the 296-room Hyatt Place Austin Downtown at the beginning of April for $87 million.

Read more at Commercial Property Executive.

Go east, young man: East Austin housing booms 

(5/30/2014 5:55:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Median home value data released by the Census shows booming growth in East Austin between 2010 and 2012. The Census only releases its most accurate tract-level estimates of median home value every two years, so this is the latest data available.

Some of the tracts with the greatest gain in median home value include:

•  The area south of E. Cesar Chavez St. between I-35 and Springdale Rd., where median home values rose 44 percent to $241,400, up from $159,000. It is the greatest gain in the Austin area.

•  The area bound by East Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Airport Blvd., Oak Spring Dr., Webberville Rd., Northwestern Ave., Chestnut Ave., E. 12th St. and the Capital Metro tracks, where median home values rose 39.67 percent to $174,600 up from $116,800, the third greatest gain in the Austin area.

•  The tract that encompasses Central San Marcos saw median home values rise 34 percent to $127,300 from $89,900, the fifth-highest gain in the Austin area.

On average, median home value in the four counties which make up the Census Bureau's Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos statistical area rose 4.76 percent between 2010 and 2012.

Demographically, speaking, the areas which gained the most value are relatively consistent with the demographics of Central Texas as a whole, which has a population that is 75 percent white, 7 percent African-American, and 31 percent Hispanic.

The ten tracts that saw the highest percent gains in median home value were, on average only slightly more diverse, with a population 72 percent white, 10 percent African-American and 37 percent Hispanic.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's 293-unit Landmark Double Creek goes to Canada 

(5/30/2014)

AUSTIN - The 293-unit Landmark Double Creek apartments at Onion Creek Pkwy. in South Austin have been sold to Toronto-based Bass Enterprises. The complex features one-, two-, and three-bedroom units ranging from 450 sf to 1,388 sf.

Prices range from $900 to $1,760 per month. The property was built out in June 2013, and a 276-unit phase two is planned to begin construction in 2014. The building was 91 percent occupied at the time of purchase.

The 200,000-square-foot Landmark Double Creek was built on 14.1 acres at 11301 Farrah Ln. Situated in the Outer South Multifamily submarket, the community is conveniently located minutes from I-35 and the Southpark Meadows shopping center.

Bass Enterprises acquired the apartments from Austin-based developer Ogden Hughes LLC.

Read more at CoStar Group.

Three-building 176,000-SF portfolio sold on ABIA grounds 

(5/29/2014 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Origin Capital Partners has acquired a three-building, 176,060-sf industrial portfolio located on the grounds of Bergstrom International Airport.

The portfolio was originally developed in 1996. The acquisition was made in partnership with the Lynxs Group. At the time of closing, Origin and Lynxs were immediately able to bring up the occupancy from 82 percent to 96 percent.

The properties are home to numerous national and Fortune 100 companies, including FedEx, ESPN Productions, DHL and UPS. Simultaneous to the acquisition of the portfolio, Origin and Lynxs were able to secure a long-term renewal for the ground lease that now runs for more than 25 years.

The portfolio includes three of only five buildings in the area that offer direct access to the tarmac and airport runways.

GE Capital was the seller. Lynxs had developed the properties prior to selling the assets to GE Capital.

Read more at REJournals.

REIT acquires huge office development in Southwest Austin 

(5/28/2014 11:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The land and development rights have been sold for Encino Trace, a 320,000-sf office complex under construction on Southwest Pkwy. Brandywine Realty Trust (REIT) purchased the 54-acre development for $14 million from Koontz McCombs.

The first building in the complex, which is 159,000 sf, has been 75 percent preleased. That building will be completed in second quarter 2015 at a cost of $43.6 million. There is no timeline for the second building. About 1,375 parking spaces are included in the plan.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Granny flats in Austin? 

(5/28/2014)

AUSTIN - Councilman Chris Riley and Councilman Mike Martinez have posted a resolution to make it easier for homeowners to build and rent small secondary residences in neighborhoods across the city.

Secondary dwellings, called accessory dwelling units in city code and sometimes called granny flats, are small homes that often share a lot with a larger dwelling.

These granny flats can offer an affordable option for renters as well as a stream of income for residents. Other cities have had success providing low-cost housing by encouraging granny flats.

Austin's City Code currently allows granny flats of up to 850 sf to be built on lots of at least 7,000 sf by right, or on lots of 5,750 sf if the neighborhood allows them. However, other city code rules make the flats very hard to build, such as a requirement that apartments be served by a nine-foot-wide driveway.

The proposed resolution specifically mentions eliminating driveway and parking requirements. In its current form, it would direct the city manager to develop an ordinance reducing regulatory barriers to the development of accessory dwellings that are less than 500 sf in size.

The ordinance would also ask the city manager to come up with additional recommendations to encourage the smaller units, including reducing the minimum lot size, upping the allowed impervious cover and reducing building separation requirements.

The resolution will be considered on June 12. The current wording directs the city manager to return with amendments in 120 days.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin's Boardwalk on Lady Bird Lake ready for a stroll 

(5/27/2014)

AUSTIN - The Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake, a 1.1-mile passage that connects the south portion of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, is set to open to the public June 7.

Project costs totaled $27.5 million, said David Taylor, project manager for the City of Austin. The Trail Foundation contributed $3 million toward the project to help ensure it was complete in one phase.

The boardwalk’s debut will include children’s activities, live music and remarks from public officials. Blue Lapis Light, a site-specific aerial dance company, will perform under I-35.

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin multifamily 1Q 2014: Hendricks-Berkadia 

(5/27/2014)

AUSTIN - Developers delivered 2,850 units in first quarter 2014, 53.1 percent more than 4Q 2013. The Central submarket had the most completions for the metropolitan area with 590 units.

Rental demand has remained healthy as 2,000 units have been absorbed in 1Q 2014. Leasing activity has accelerated from the 1,330 units absorbed in 4Q 2013.

Developers submitted multifamily permits for 17,200 annualized units in March, up 24.6 percent from December 2013. The recent surge elevated permitting activity 33.5 percent from March 2013. The 1Q 2014 submission rate was a three-decade high.

With an influx of new inventory, vacancy elevated 30 basis points to 5 percent by the end of 1Q 2014. The rise matched the 30 basis-point increase in 4Q 2013.

Austin Multifamily 1Q 2014 / 1Q 2013
Comparison by Rent $1,000+
Submarkets* Vacancy Average Rent
1Q 2014 1Q 2013 1Q 2014 1Q 2013
Central 4.9% 4.0% $1,938 $1,925
Far Northwest 4.8% 4.7% $1,059 $1,002
Far South 5.0% 4.5% $1,079 $1,031
Near Northwest 4.9% 4.6% $1,022 $968
Near South Central 5.7% 3.8% $1,332 $1,298
Northwest 6.9% 5.4% $1,101 $1,035
West 6.0% 6.4% $1,342 $1,234
Total** 5.0% 5.1% $1,048 $1,002

*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.

Gone to Buda: population boom on the horizon 

(5/27/2014)

BUDA - Having grown 39 percent since 2010, Buda is the fastest growing Texas city with a population greater than 10,000. One scenario projects the population to balloon by 700 percent from May 2014 until 2040, according to the City of Buda.

Buda’s population currently hovers around 11,000, but if the Sunfield, Meadows at Buda and Stonefield neighborhoods are annexed by 2036, the population is predicted to hit 80,000, according to modified projections based on Texas State Data Center forecasts.

Despite the estimated growth, Buda has little room to expand geographically, which is why its planning documents have deeply explored high-density development, said Mayor Todd Ruge. Once Buda is fully developed, it will likely be a seamless transition from Austin to Buda.

Buda is projected to have a budget surplus of $7 million at the end of the current fiscal year, according to Sidonna Foust, city finance director.

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper.

Car go? No, but Austin to London cargo one-way trip pays off 

(5/20/2014 6:15:00 AM)

Austin - Everything from computer equipment to Mexican peppers and Norwegian salmon is being shipped in cargo to London Heathrow.

As 200 or so passengers fly directly to London or return to Austin each day, about 25,000 to 30,000 pounds of freight goes with them.

The trans-Atlantic passenger flight is giving international shippers an alternative to trucking goods to airport hubs in Dallas or Houston — as well as direct access to London’s Heathrow Airport, one of Europe’s major cargo hubs that serves markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

It also will help reverse a 13-year decline in air freight at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and, if it succeeds, make the case for the city’s first trans-Pacific flight.

“This is the biggest story in logistics since the airport was built,” said Ray Brimble, who helped build Austin’s cargo port in the mid-1990s. “It changes where Austin sits in the global supply chain.”

The arrival of British Airways 787 Dreamliner and IAG Cargo, the freight arm of British Airways and Iberia, is expected to grow Austin’s international market.

IAG Cargo officials say the route already is successful. They said the cargo holds are 90 to 95 percent full — both ways.

Unlike passengers who tend to fly from and return to the same airport, cargo is a one-way trip.

The 787’s technical advantages make the Austin-to-London route possible. With only a couple of hundred passengers, it is easier to sell out than larger planes, but its wide-body structure helps airlines realize 20 to 45 percent more cargo revenue than similarly sized airplanes, according to Boeing.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Cedar Park delivers 24,000-SF office project 

(5/20/2014)

CEDAR PARK - Two commercial buildings suitable for medical or professional offices have been delivered in Cedar Park near the Cedar Park Regional Medical Center.

The two properties are each 12,000 sf and were developed by Austin Long View Equity Partners Ltd. One 1,493-sf lease has been signed for Building B at 1120 Cottonwood Creek Trail, leaving about 22,000 sf of space. Leases are available as small as 1,250 sf.

According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration, each building cost over $1 million to complete.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Leave it in the Dropbox at 501 Congress in downtown Austin 

(5/19/2014 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - The six-story office building under construction at East Fifth St. and Congress Ave. in downtown Austin has landed its biggest tenant — Dropbox.

San Francisco-based Dropbox will lease about 60,000 sf — the top three floors of the new building called 501 Congress.

In February, the Austin City Council voted for an incentive deal for Dropbox totaling $244,500 over ten years. Under the agreement, Dropbox must create 170 jobs during that time with an average annual salary of $59,000 and make a $5.5 million capital investment.

Stream is developing and leasing 501 Congress, which is being built at a cost of more than $30 million.

Dropbox — a cloud-storage and file-sharing service with more than 275 million users — plans to move into the building when it opens in January 2015.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Austin office trend: deliveries, construction jump 1Q 2014 

(5/16/2014 6:45:00 AM)

AUSTIN - During first quarter 2014, 12 buildings totaling 435,033 sf were completed, compared to one building totaling 1,805 sf completed in 4Q 2013.

The 115,000-sf Power Plant Building and Apple Campus–Phase I, an 88,000-sf facility, were both delivered in 1Q 2014 and are now 100 percent occupied.

There was 2,412,129 sf of office space under construction at the end of 1Q 2014. The largest projects underway were Green Water — a 485,327-sf building — and Colorado Tower — a 371,348-sf facility that is 35 percent preleased.

Total office inventory in the Austin market area amounted to 87,940,715 sf in 4,268 buildings at the end of 1Q 2014. The Class A office sector consisted of 31,473,317 sf in 228 projects.

There were 1,888 Class B buildings totaling 41,090,976 sf, and the Class C sector consisted of 15,376,422 sf in 2,152 buildings.

National office deliveries and construction saw 321 buildings totaling 16.1 million sf complete construction, with an additional 90.1 million sf of office space still under construction at the end of 1Q 2014.

Total office inventory in the U.S. market totaled almost 10.4 billion sf in more than 499,500 buildings at the end of 1Q 2014.

Read more at CoStar Group and Austin Chamber of Commerce at Market Data Sources under the Office category.

$172M, 458,000-SF Rowling Hall set for UT-Austin debut 

(5/16/2014 6:30:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Robert B. Rowling Hall, a $172 million, 458,000-sf building at the corner of Guadalupe St. and East Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., has been approved by the University of Texas Board of Regents.

Construction on Rowling Hall will begin in fall 2014 and should be completed by early 2017. The facility will house the McCombs school’s Texas MBA and masters of technology commercialization programs and double the space available for Texas Executive Education programs.

Rowling Hall has been partially funded through donations including $25 million from Robert and Terry Rowling, part of a $40 million gift from Jim and Miriam Mulva and $5 million from StarTex Power of Houston.

The board of regents also approved the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business, which will be supported by the McCombs school and the UT School of Law and combine three existing centers under one umbrella. The center is named after Hutchison, the former long-serving U.S. Senator from Texas.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Saucy deal: Tortilla chip maker dips into Pflugerville digs 

(5/16/2014)

PFLUGERVILLE - El Lago Mexican Foods Inc. will bring 40 jobs and move into 24,000 sf of a 120,000-sf building under construction near SH 130 and I-45 in Pecan 130 Business Park within the 130 Commerce Center. The move will occur in August 2014.

The Pflugerville City Council approved an incentive agreement worth $60,000 to El Lago in return for bringing jobs to the city.

The company’s new location is gaining interest from companies that need to move product quickly and don’t want their trucks stuck in the heavy traffic along I-35 and MoPac Expy., according to Floyd Akers, Pflugerville Community Development Corp. Executive Director.

El Lago has operated its tortilla chip factory in East Austin at 1700 E. Fourth St. for many years.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Listen to Podcast 215 for this story and more about Texas news.

Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto home sales: Mar. 2014 

(5/16/2014)

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
Mar. 2014 264 116 58 $240,000 $172,150 $150,000
Mar. 2013 253 122 45 $222,900 $163,950 $145,500
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
Sept. 2013 256 139 61 $219,250 $173,000 $148,000
Aug. 2013 325 161 77 $229,250 $188,319 $150,000


Source: Austin Board of Realtors

Read more at the Community Impact Newspaper. Make your life easier, go to the May Issue page 53!

McCormick Mountain adds lake view homes to Austin 

(5/15/2014)

AUSTIN - Vistas of McCormick Mountain, a 71-homesite development located at 5228 McCormick Mountain Dr. near Hudson Bend Rd., is set to begin construction this summer.

The homesites will range from 0.5 acres to 1.7 acres, and homes will start at 3,500 sf. Homes may be available for purchase before the end of the year.

Three streets — McCormick Mountain Dr., Watumba Rd. and Weletka Dr. — surround the property. Each of the three streets will have an individual driveway into the development.

A builder has a contract pending on the 45-acre tract, which was the last undeveloped parcel in the Hudson Bend area with hilltop and lake views. The development’s amenities and price range will be left up to the builder.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin: 231,872 SF, two offices, one retail sold 

(5/14/2014 3:00:00 PM)

AUSTIN - Two office buildings encompassing 171,872 sf and a 60,000-sf retail property have been sold.

Mira Vista, located at 2705 Bee Cave Rd., The Overlook at Gaines Ranch, located at 4330 Gaines Ranch Loop, and The Whole Foods building at 11920 Domain Dr. were included in the sale.

Clarion Partners purchased the office buildings, which were 98.2 percent occupied at time of closing, from Houston-based The Lionshare Group.

The Whole Foods building was acquired from Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group in partnership with RREEF, now known as Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management. Whole Foods has a long-term lease for the property.

In March 2014, Clarion purchased Las Cimas IV at 900 S. Capital of Texas Hwy. for $43.2 million, according to the CoStar Group. Additionally, in May 2014, Clarion acquired University Park Tech Center — 165,007 sf of Class A flex/office space — in San Antonio.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Georgetown Airport flies high in $8M improvements  

(5/12/2014)

GEORGETOWN - Nearly $8 million in improvement to the Georgetown Municipal Airport are expected to begin this summer. The improvements will be completed during the next two years.

The airport’s fuel station and storage will be converted to an above-ground fuel farm.

Runway clear zones and runway lighting for visibility will be improved.

The parking area near the terminal will be rebuilt along with a taxiway for airplanes adjacent to one of the runways.

Read more at Community Impact Newspaper.

Austin mod squad with 1,300-SF units 

(5/7/2014)

AUSTIN - A modular apartment complex in the West Campus area is under construction. The project will be completed in about six weeks, and It is located at 2304 Leon St. 

It includes five 1,300-sf apartments geared for student housing. Each unit includes three bedrooms and a den, and monthly rent will average $3,000.

The individual components were manufactured at a Dallas facility and shipped to Austin, and have been assembled in the past week. Connecting the units and completing the interior finishing currently is underway.

The project is being built by Walter Tarr who owns an engineering consulting firm. In addition to Palomar, Cotera + Reed Architects handled much of the design, Fletcher Ventures LLC is the site contractor and UT Metro Realty will be the property manager.

Read more at the Austin Bsiness Journal.

Austin ranks No. 3 on Forbes' best cities for jobs list 

(5/7/2014)

AUSTIN - The city rebounded to take the No. 3 spot on Forbes’ “Best Big Cities for Jobs 2014” list. The Austin area recorded 881,000 jobs and growth of 4.1 percent in 2013. Its growth rate from 2008 to 2013 was 13.7 percent. Austin was ranked at No. 1 in 2012, but dipped down to No. 10 in 2013.

The ranking is based on five factors: recent employment growth, mid-term growth (average annual 2008-2013 growth rate), long-term trend and momentum, current year growth and the average of each year's growth rate for the past ten years.

The Houston area recorded 2.83 million jobs and growth of 3 percent in 2013. It also held the No. 5 position on the 2013 list, down from No. 2 on the 2012 list.

The Dallas metropolitan division slipped from No. 6 last year to No. 9, and the Fort Worth metropolitan division dropped from No. 4 last year to No. 11. San Antonio came in at No. 12.

The tech meccas of Silicon Valley and San Francisco snagged the top two spots.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

215,000-SF Capital Ridge office underway in Austin 

(5/6/2014 6:56:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Construction has begun on Capital Ridge, a 215,000-sf Class A office building by Riverside Resources. The seven-story building is located on a hillside overlooking Loop 360, near the intersection of Loop 360 and Bee Cave Rd.

The building sits on a 38 acre office/hotel campus site of which 32 acres is dedicated green space. The complex includes Hotel Granduca Austin, and the hotel and office share a common structured parking garage, three floors of which are underground.

The office building features a glass facade, a three-story lobby and private terraces on various building levels. The building will be built to LEED standards.

Read more at MarketWatch.

Rancho Sienna to open 11 model homes in NW Austin 

(5/5/2014)

WILLIAMSON COUNTY - Nine home builders will participate in the creation of 1,455 homes at Rancho Sienna, a 550-acre master-planned community near Texas State Hwy. 29 and Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Northwest Austin.

The home builders are Centerra Homes, Wes Peoples Homes, MileStone Community Builders, Chesmar Homes, Partners In Building, Sitterle Homes, D.R. Horton, Emerald Homes, and Ryland Homes.

The homes range in size from about 1,400 sf to more than 4,000 sf and range in price from the $200,000s to $500,000s. Eleven model homes will be open this fall. RVI Planning + Landscape Architects is the Rancho Sienna master planner and landscape designer.

The Sienna House, the resident’s 6,600-sf clubhouse, is under construction. It was designed by Clayton & Little Architects. The contractor is Epic Design-Build LLC of Round Rock.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Upscale 168-room Archer hotel has a domain in Austin 

(5/5/2014)

AUSTIN - A new 168-room upscale hotel is slated to break ground this fall. The Archer Austin will be across from a planned Nordstrom store at the Domain in North Austin.

The eight-story hotel will have a rustic “Texas chic” theme, with design features including native Texas limestone, terraces with fireplaces and canopy beds. Photos of local bands and Austin’s favorite musical venues will be featured throughout.

The hotel is being developed by LodgeWorks Partners, a privately-held hotel development and management company, and Endeavor Real Estate Group, the original developer of the mixed-use Domain near North Mopac Blvd. (Loop 1) and Burnet Rd.

Read more at the Austin American-Statesman.

Dobie Center $4M sparkle added to UT Austin 

(5/5/2014)

AUSTIN - The 27-story Dobie Center near the University of Texas campus is getting a $4 million makeover. The building at 2021 Guadalupe St. is owned by Dobie Austin LP. It’s a private student housing project with 979 beds.

Dobie Austin LP has owned the property since December 2005 and spent about $2 million in upgrades in 2007. The new renovations at the residence hall are currently underway and will be completed this fall.

Enhancements will be made to the individual rooms, kitchen, dining hall, fitness center, multimedia room, lobby and basketball and volleyball courts. The technology infrastructure also will be improved.

The company hired New York designer Daun Curry’s firm Modern Declarations to do the design. Dobie Center is currently managed by Campus Living Villages.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

Austin apartment tally: 19,767 units in 1Q 2014 

(5/2/2014 7:00:00 AM)

AUSTIN - Apartment occupancy remains high and rents continue to rise throughout the Austin market, according to the Austin Multifamily Report by Austin Investor Interests LLC.

There are 17,627 units currently under construction and another 2,140 units poised to start. The average price per unit for investment sales is $102,538.

During first quarter 2014, occupancy rates came in at 94 percent, a drop of 0.85 percent from the previous quarter. That puts the annual decrease at 1.14 percent, which is the largest drop since 2009.

Rental rates, however, increased 1.44 percent during the quarter to an average of $1.20 per sf across all classes of properties. The cost of living downtown in a new apartment far exceeds that average. Rent in the Central Business District average $2.51 per sf.

Read more at the Austin Business Journal.

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