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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!