Real Estate

Austin's "Second Downtown"--The Domain

The Domain: photo courtesy of domainofficesaustin.com

The Domain: photo courtesy of domainofficesaustin.com

Twenty years ago, when the Endeavor group bought 304 acres in NW Austin, they were envisioning a 5-million-square-foot office space campus that would house the many tech companies that were flocking to Austin in the time of the tech boom. It was given the name “The Domain” to reflect the technology era and its founders’ vision for a tech-focused campus. The branding and plans were completed, and it all sounded perfect; what could go wrong? Answer: the tech bust hit, and across Austin, several million square feet of sublease space suddenly flooded the market.

It was time for developers to go back to the drawing board and get a little more creative with the plans at The Domain. Over the next few years, developers began working on the idea of a retail-driven project for the Domain. This was a part of town that was underserved in the area of retail development, so developers began asking, “Could this be the perfect spot for a sizable retail project?”

At first, finding tenants didn’t go very well. Original tenants such as Target and Crate & Barrel backed out. However, right when it appeared the project was still going nowhere, The Domain landed its first major tenant, and it was a good one: Neiman Marcus. Having such a distinguished “anchor tenant” as Neiman Marcus opened up the door for many others to come.

By March 2007, The Domain opened as one of the city’s signature retail centers, unequaled in its size, scope and tenant mix. Soon after, tech companies began to be drawn to the area, making the vision come full circle back to its original roots of office space that was anchored in the tech sector. The Domain’s 3.4 million square feet of office space is a 200 percent increase since 2010, plus it also has 3,700 apartment units and about 900 hotel rooms.

Due to its retail space, hotels, office space, restaurants, parks, entertainment district and free parking, The Domain today is an appealing alternative to Downtown, and has earned the title as Austin’s “Second Downtown.” Now, The Domain has been successful at providing the ‘live, work, play’ environment that many tech companies are seeking for their workers, drawing such giants as Facebook, VRBO, Indeed, and Amazon.

The latest projects in the works at the Domain are three high-rise buildings — two office towers and one residential — proposed in the South End District of the Domain. In combination, the three towers will have more than 1 million square feet of new space. The residential tower will have an average living space of 908 square feet for a total of 384,000 square feet in the building, and will be located adjacent to one of the Domain Office Towers.

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So, if you haven’t checked out Austin’s “Second Downtown,” get over to The Domain for dinner, drinks, a movie, and perhaps a little shopping. Thank you, tech bust of the early 2000s. Because of you, The Domain is the fantastic multi-purpose development sight that it is today. Northwest Austin has never been better!

The New South Congress

If you haven’t driven down South Congress Avenue in a while, you might be surprised at some of the developments that are popping up in the South Congress/St. Elmo area.

Here are just a few of the projects that you can already find in development in this revitalized area of town:

  1. The Public Lofts (4361 S Congress)- The PUBLIC is the first residential community in this revitalized area of South Congress and St. Elmo. The PUBLIC offers loft-style homes with open floor plans and outdoor terraces. Amenities include a rooftop fitness center & pool, a lounge, yoga & meditation studio, a shaded courtyard square with outdoor fireplace, and an off-leash dog park. Our very own Skelly Home Renovations is one of the storefronts located at the bottom of the The Public Lofts, as well as Urban Betty salon, Fawn and Blu, Flourish!, and many more!

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2. St. Elmo Public Market (4329 S Congress Ave)- Modeled after Pike Place Market in Seattle and Chelsea Market in New York, the St. Elmo Public Market will attract restaurants, music, entertainment, media, technology and related companies to the available office space building around the market. Some food vendors who have already signed on to come into St. Elmo Public Market are Mignette, a bakery and modern diner, a butcher shop/restaurant by the owners of Salt & Time, the Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Company, and a new restaurant from Lick Honest Ice Creams and Family Business Beer Co.

Saint Elmo Public Market will be a place of business for local craftsmen, restaurateurs, farmers, artists and musicians. For the public, it will be a place to gather, dine, or have a drink with friends and family in a relaxed and inspiring environment. Additionally, the market and surrounding spaces will focus on the unique culture of Austin - which includes some of the best food and live music in the world.

The St. Elmo Public Market is expected to deliver sometime in late 2019.

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3. Aloft Hotel (South Congress at East St Elmo)-The site plan & permit have been approved for a 135 room Aloft Hotel on a 2-acre sight right at South Congress and East St. Elmo. Visitors to Austin can stay on South Congress and explore all the Austin culture that this trendy part of town has to offer.

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4. The Yard (440 E St Elmo Rd)- The Yard is a 200,000 square foot complex offering both manufacturing and retail space to artists, makers, creatives and social entrepreneurs, all in the same place.


Once completed, the site will be home to a diverse mix of businesses including The Austin Winery, Drophouse Design, Vuka, Impact Hub Austin, Music Lab, Still Austin Distillery, SUP ATX, The Spokesman, St. Elmo Brewing Co., Soursop, wakaNINE, Raw Paw, Enabler, Sauceda Industries, Blanton Design, ECO Roof & Solar, El Famoso, MADabolic Fitness, Wooly's Beach Volleyball, Sign Depot of Austin, The Loud Juice, and more!

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So, whether you are a local looking for something to do on a Saturday, or a tourist looking to explore Austin this weekend, come check out the new South Congress. You’ll find many good surprises in this newly revitalized part of town.

48 East Condominiums to be Zoned as a Hotel

48 East is the one of the latest and most unique condominium development projects to be approved in the Rainey Street District.  It’s unique because the Austin-based STG Design building will actually be zoned as a hotel, which will be powered by Airbnb.   

It’s confusing, but innovative. The concept is a 33-story, 239 unit building that combines the comfortable qualities of a short-term residential rental with the amenities and efficiency of a hotel. 

Once constructed, the building will offer units for sale in the price range of $300,000 for a 454 square feet studio to up to $1.2 million for a 1390 square feet, multiple bedroom condominium. Residents will have the opportunity to rent out their units via Airbnb for up to 180 days per year. 

Airbnb plans to charge 25% off the top and will provide “MasterHost” services at each property for items such as guest check-in, cleaning and linen service.  An added amenity will be local “Airbnb Experiences” for guests—events that involve hosts sharing their own takes on local culture and activities.

Condominiums can be purchased furnished or unfurnished and will feature additional features such as an extra lockable closet to store sensitive belongings and digital locks for keyless entry.    The building itself will include amenities available to all owners and guests, including co-working spaces, hotel-style food and beverage offerings, a spa-inspired fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck.

Property owners will be responsible for hotel occupancy taxes as well as property taxes and will not be allowed homestead exemptions on property taxes. 48 East is expected to open in 2021. 

What is your opinion of this condo/hotel/Airbnb concept?  Do you like the idea of a downtown condominium building built for short term rentals? Make your opinion known in the comments below!

Bouldin Creek Development to Add Needed Office Space to South Lamar

Austin’s next high end office development is coming to the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood at South Lamar and Oltorf.

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The Bouldin Creek Office Complex will house 165,000 square feet of office development and 2,500 square feet of retail shops, all fronting South Lamar. The location of this office complex, just 1.2 miles from downtown, will attract many potential tenants, including technology, marketing and financial services firms, as well as law and accounting firms.

The project will have an open-air feel and beautiful views of downtown, as it plans to house a rooftop deck and two acres of green space bordering Bouldin Creek.

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When can we expect to see shops and offices open at Bouldin Creek? This project is designed by Austin architect Michael Hsu and is expected to deliver by the summer of 2020.

Interested in homes in the Bouldin Creek Area? Homes sold for a average price of $630,000 in this area last year! Check out all available listings here:



Zoho to Move Its American HQ to Austin

The Silicon Valley continues to shift to the Silicon Hills of Austin, TX, as another global business software company, Zoho, plans to move its HQ to Austin by 2021.  

The company has purchased a 375-acre plot of land in southeast Austin near the airport (Texas State Highway 71 near Kellam Road), and is planning to build a 100,000 SF campus on this site that houses at least 500 employees. 

According to Zoho’s founder, Sridhar Vembu, Zoho is moving its headquarters to Austin because “Austin is how San Francisco used to be 30 years ago. It had the weirdness. It had all this stuff. The artists and the live music.”  And Vembu has pledged that Zoho will help keep Austin weird by doing things a little differently. 

Here Are 5 Ways That Zoho Will Help “Keep Austin Weird”

1. Zoho is privately owned and debt free.  Without the pressure from Wall Street or outside investors, Zoho doesn’t have to worry about making certain numbers and is free to exert more independence in creating a very unique company culture.

2. Zoho doesn’t merge or acquire products from any other company; instead, it develops all of its own software.

3.  Zoho is not going to seek incentives from local or state government or ask for tax abatements on the property. 

4. Zoho is moving to a piece of farmland on the outskirts of Austin rather than renting a space in downtown Austin because it’s a money saver. In fact, it actually costs less to buy the 375-acre plot of land out by the airport than it did to buy Zoho’s other 45-acre main campus in India!

 5.  Zoho plans to start an in-house education program called Zoho University that works closely with local schools to teach students skills and to educate its own employees to advance their positions within the company.  This program, Zoho University, is an alternative to a traditional college education and has been remarkably successful in India. At the school, Zoho pays students to learn how to create and use Zoho software. It hires many of its graduates. In fact, 15 percent of Zoho’s engineering workforce is made up of graduates from Zoho University.

"We create our own talent with Zoho University," said Vembu. And the company is able to acquire talent from a pool of people that end up with a clear understanding of the way things work, and, a respect for the culture that Zoho has created."  Zoho hopes to work closely with local high schools and Austin Community College to develop the American version of this program.

A strong value for independence, a unique culture, and a tech firm (and potential university!) landing out on a piece of farmland near the airport. Welcome to Austin, Zoho; it sounds like you’re a perfect fit here.

Zoho is 23 years old and has grown to 45 million users worldwide across 180 countries.  Bringing the HQ to southeast Austin area should increase property values in the area and create yet another tech “hub,” but this time in the south of Austin!  Are you looking to purchase a home in this area?  Do it now and watch your property values increase as Zoho continues to expand its Austin influence!