Real Estate

Project Catalyst, Recently Renamed "4700 East," Still Moving Forward

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In its August meeting, the Austin City Council approved the re-zoning measures required for Project Catalyst, recently renamed 4700 East, to keep moving forward. If the mixed-use development project proceeds as planned, it will sit on a a 97-acre site in Southeast Austin and will neighbor Oracle’s new 40-acre corporate campus.

Often referred to as Austin’s future “Third Downtown" (with the Domain North being Austin’s “Second Downtown”), Nimes Capital has proposed building 4,700 residential units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of medical and dental office space, and 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space at 4700 East. In short, an “urban village” would be created in this area near the corner of East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley Road that would basically offer, well, everything!

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The city could require developers to offer hundreds of income-restricted affordable housing units, but it would only do so if the developers build structures above the restricted height of 60 feet. To maintain the promise of affordable housing in the area, the developer is currently promising that 8-12% (400-550) of the units will be income-restricted as a trade off for greater building heights. Additionally, the developer formally committed to reserve 10 units for people who are transitioning out of homelessness. These housing units will be paid for with vouchers supplied by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition.

In order for 4700 East to be built, there are some other buildings that will need to be removed for this project to move forward. For this reason, developers have been slowly purchasing apartments in the area over the course of the past several years. The buildings that would be removed, which are roughly 60% student-occupied, are The Ballpark North and Town Lake, as well as the Quad East, West and South. The properties account for a total of 3,702 bedrooms and 1,308 units, according to city documents. Developers will also ensure gradual displacement of current residents in the area—250 of the existing units on site will not be redeveloped or demolished for five years in an effort to defray displacement.

Construction is not envisioned to begin on 4700 East before 2020. However, once the project is officially approved by the Austin City Council, the development will be built slowly over a 25 year period in five different phases along the way. The developer will return to the city council for a third and final hearing in September, at which it will need to receive at least six votes in favor to pass.

East Riverside Development

If you haven’t driven through East Riverside Drive in a while, you might be surprised by the rapidly changing development in the area.  Some support the expansion of business, art, and residential communities in the area, while others are opposed to gentrification and its impact on long-time homeowners. The City of Austin has partnered with UT to study the development of this area and its impact on current residents and have pledged to offer tax credits to affordable housing opportunities in the area.  However, at the same time, private land is being to sold to developers and the area is rapidly evolving.

Oracle’s forsight to build a South Shore Campus really kicked off a chain reaction of East Riverside development. Oracle opened a “South Shore” campus in 2018 and will double its size by the end of 2019. The Austin Business Journal quoted an Oracle executive saying, “The Lady Bird Lake campus will soon employ 3,000 people onsite and that the headcount could grow to 10,000 people as the company expands.”  Oracle landing here has since driven much of the development in the area.

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Here are just a few of the projects that have recently been completed or are currently in development in the area:

www.berkadia.com

www.berkadia.com

UNDER CONSTRUCTION (BLUE):

#54 Foremost-new apartment development

#55 The Elizabeth at Presidio-apartment development; rental units ranging from 504-1938 sq ft.

#57 IO at Tech Ridge- apartment complex

#58 Lenox Oaks- Mixed-use (residential and commercial) property

ALSO UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The Montopolis Recreation and Community Center (1200 Montopolis Drive) is expected to be completed in the Spring of 2020.  This building will be co-operated by Austin Parks &  Rec and the Austin Public Health Department.  It will provide over 33,000 sq feet of new space, including a commercial kitchen, gym, fitness room, computer lab, conference rooms, and classroom areas. 

Montopolis Recreation & Community Center

Montopolis Recreation & Community Center

berkadia.com

berkadia.com

PLANNED DEVELOPMENT (DARK BLUE):

#113 6507 Riverside—apartment complex

#114 Aspen Heights Riverside- 325-unit apartment complex

#115 The Mont-apartment complex

#116 The Riverside-apartment complex

#117 South Shore District Phase IV-322-unit apartment complex

#144-Cambrian East Riverside-65-unit multifamily mid-rise to be located at 1806 Clubview Avenue with a planned 55 units rated as affordable, or available to tenants earning less than 80 percent of the area’s median family income. Only 15 units are one-bedrooms, with the rest a mix of two, three, and four-bedrooms. The living spaces have a total area of 57,268 square feet, and the indoor common areas total 2,444 square feet.

#145 Tierra Skyline-apartment complex; affordable housing development

#146 Vi Collina-apartment complex; affordable housing development

 

berkadia.com

berkadia.com

PROSPECTIVE CONSTRUCTION (BROWN):
#198 Broadstone Riverside-apartment complex

#199 Project Catalyst-97-acre “urban village” along the East Riverside corridor, a mixed-use project including 4,709 multifamily units, 600 hotel rooms, 4 million square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of medical and dental office space, and 435,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

#200 Wickersham-apartment complex

#244 1600 Pleasant Valley-retail center property

#245 5700 East Riverside-retail center property

#246 The Point at Ben White-apartment complex with units ranging from 850-1185 sq ft

#247 Urban East-a mixed-used development with 100,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space.

This brief glimpse should tell investors and home owners alike that East Riverside and Montopolis are emerging areas to keep an eye on in the coming years. Let’s hope the city can continue to work with real estate developers and homeowners to create an East Austin anyone can live in and enjoy.

Republic Square

When you stand in the middle of Republic Square (422 Guadalupe), you are standing on a rich piece of Austin’s history. Edwin Waller’s original design of Austin consisted of a grid with a central square (Capitol Square) and four smaller, secondary “public squares.” Republic square, previously called Hamilton square, was one of these four smaller secondary public squares, and the home of Austin’s “Auction Oaks.” In 1839, Austin’s original 306 lots were sold at auction under these historic trees. Afterwards, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the park had strong associations with the Mexican-American community due to the concentration of Hispanic citizens that lived in the neighborhoods surrounding the square.

Later in the city’s history, Austin’s leaders saw very little use for maintaining these public squares as green spaces, and the city quickly found other ways to use these spaces for storage, garbage dumps, or other city services. Between 1950 and the early 1970s, Republic Square functioned as a parking lot.

In 1976, as a part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebration, Austin’s leaders began to focus on returning Republic Square back to its original purpose as a public green space. It was then given the name Republic Square in tribute to the Republic of Texas.

In more recent years, Republic Square has served as the first site of the city’s summer “Movies in the Park” series, and every Saturday is home to the Sustainable Food Center’s Downtown Farmers’ Market. The newly renovated square is a green space unlike any in Austin. Daily programming and featured events, modern amenities, beautiful art and a café make it a uniquely Austin experience.

Other development has begun in and around Republic Square as well. One of Austin’s best combination butcher shops & restaurants, Salt & Time, is opening a new cafe within downtown’s revamped Republic Square Park at 422 Guadalupe Street, opening sometime between late summer to early fall. The downtown outpost will serve sandwiches, salads, charcuterie, and more. There will be dedicated breakfast dishes, like bowls, sandwiches, and pastries. Drinks will include alcoholic options (a first for the park), like canned and kegged beer and wine, as well as coffee, juice, kombucha, and soda. The cafe will also feature future collaborations with vendors from the SFC Farmers Market Downtown, which takes place at the park every Saturday.

The Hotel ZaZa/Gables Republic Square tower at 401 Guadalupe Street is supposed to deliver sometime in 2019. This tower will be a mix of both a chic boutique apartment community and a renowned boutique hotel, allowing residents to experience the amenities of both, plus have easy accessibility to the entertainment and events at Republic Square. In addition to the Gables building, there is an assembly of vacant properties at the corner of Fifth and Lavaca Streets that will soon be coming down to make way for a 44-story Hanover Republic Square apartment tower, which would mean 310 more apartments, hundreds of parking spaces and possibly another new restaurant near Republic Square.

Although the square has seen many different seasons and years of history, the current revitalization and development of Republic Square means that the most promising years under Austin’s “Auction Oaks” are yet to come! Visit Republic Square for a Saturday Farmer’s Market or a Movie in the Park and take advantage of all this public square has to offer Austin residents.

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.