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Brohn Homes Announces New Homes in Austin’s Pflugerville

24 Jan 2014, 9:05 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Brohn Homes, a family operated and owned business with focus on custom home building, has announced the start of construction in Pflugerville’s established neighborhood The Commons at Rowe Lane. Prices start in the $220,000s.

The community is only 25 minutes from Downtown Austin with easy access to I-35 and Highways 130 and 45. The nearby Stone Hill Town Center, La Frontera, and Round Rock Premium outlets are just a few of the shopping options, at the same time convenient to major employers such as Dell, Apple, Samsung and National Instruments. For recreation the community offers miles of hike and bike trails, and the nearness of the beautiful Lake Pflugerville.  A large community center and a swimming pool are part of the community’s amenities.

The Commons at Rowe Lane offer floor plans that range in size from 1,793 square feet to 3,490 square feet. The future owners can choose from nine available floor plans that feature three to five bedrooms, two to four baths, and multiple living areas, displayed on one or two story elevation. Flexible outdoor living spaces are available in many of the plans. The warm New French Country Style homes feature gourmet kitchens with stainless steel appliances, wood burning fireplaces and mahogany front doors.

Pflugerville has been named one of the 50 best places to live in America for the last two years by Money Magazine due to strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and various recreational activities.

“All the advantages cited by Money Magazine are the very reasons we chose to build in new homes for sale in Pflugerville at The Commons at Rowe Lane,” says Aaron Boenig, owner and managing member of Brohn Homes. “It’s a beautiful community located close to I-35, Highways 130 and 45, major employers, and Lake Pflugerville recreation. Everything a family needs is minutes from their front door.”

Photo courtesy of Brohn Homes.

HID Global Opened New World Headquarters and North American Operations Center

20 Jan 2014, 7:09 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

HID Global recently announced the opening of its new world headquarters and North American operations center at 611 Center Ridge Drive in North Austin’s Tech Ridge area. The state-of-the-art complex is expected to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2015.

“HID’s decision to move their worldwide headquarters to Texas is proof positive that our focus on low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and a skilled workforce helps create jobs and strengthen our economy,” Texas Governor Rick Perry said in the company’s press release. “I’m pleased HID has chosen to call Texas home, and look forward to their continued success in the Lone Star State.”

The expansive project is managed by a team of Austin- and Houston-based firms, including Harvey Cleary Builders, Austin’s commercial real estate developer Live Oak-Gottesman, and a commercial general contractor from Houston. The plant cost $35 million, and the whole project investment is of $50 million. The facility pursues the goal of earning LEED certification. Studio 8 Architects from Austin took responsibility for the overall design, in collaboration with engineering consulting and design service partners Bury, Endeavor Real Estate Group LLC, and Carrillo Dean Landscape Architecture (CDLA).

The plans for the campus were announced in 2012 and works have been completed ahead of schedule. By 2015, 400 people are expected to be employed at HID’s new World Headquarters and North American Operations Center. The project is spread on 22 acres and encompasses 250,000 square feet of manufacturing, office and warehouse space. It has been designed to support future expansion. The development will include the consolidation of the company’s corporate functions, manufacturing, assembly and test operations, distribution, and sales operations.

Photo courtesy of HID Global.

Brandywine Realty Trust Buys Austin’s Four Points Centre

28 Dec 2013, 12:30 am

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Brandywine Realty Trust recently paid $47.3 million to buy Four Points Centre and related land parcels in Austin.  The acquisition was announced on December 20. At the same time, Brandywine, one of the largest, publicly traded, full-service, integrated real estate companies in the United States, also announced it purchased the remaining common ownership interest in One and Two Commerce Square, in Philadelphia’s Central Business District, for $331.8 million.

Four Points Centre consists of two LEED-Gold buildings constructed in 2008 and located in Austin’s Northwest submarket. Both buildings are three stories tall and offer a total of 192,396 square feet of space. They are currently 100 percent leased. According to Brandywine, Four Points Centre is valued at $41.5 million, or $214 per square foot.

The Radnor, Pennsylvania-based real estate investment trust also said it paid $5.8 million for the land parcels. Up to 480,000 square feet of additional office space can be constructed on them. Brandywine funded the acquisition of the land parcels and the Four Points Centre with available corporate funds.

“We are delighted to complete the Commerce Square and Four Points Centre transactions and congratulate the Parkway and Thomas teams on the closing of their transaction,” says Gerard H. Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. “The acquisition of Four Points Centre and the land parcels further expands our operating platform and provides a quality addition to our Austin portfolio at an attractive price along with a value-add development opportunity.”

According to a Marcus&Millichap Market Report for Q3 2013 demand for office properties in the Greater Austin area is high. The median sales price reached $200 per square foot, a sizable uptick from last year’s $170 per square foot price. Office vacancies in the metro area are going down, expected to reach 12 percent at the end of 2013. Over the past 12 months, the average asking rent for local office space increased 4.9 percent to $26.30 per square foot. Rents are expected to end the year at $26.50 per square foot.

Photo credits: Brandywine Realty Trust

Charts courtesy of Marcus&Millichap.

Las Colinas Apartments Sold Through ARA

13 Dec 2013, 10:04 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The apartment community located at 1500 Reagan Hill Dr. in northeast Austin has again switched owners. The last time the property was on the market was in 2012 when it was acquired by San Diego-based Quez Capital.

The seller was represented by Atlanta-based ARA, the nation’s largest privately held, full-service investment advisory brokerage firm, through Principal Andrew Shih and Broker Matt Pohl from the Austin office. The buyer is a private Minnesota entity and the details of the transaction have not been disclosed. The occupancy rate at the time of sale was of 97 percent.

The garden-style community was built in the 1960’s and 1970’s and offers 178 one- and two-bedroom units. Amenities feature a playground and tree-lined interior courtyards. The renovations Quez Capital invested in during the past year include painted building exteriors, renovated clubhouse, updated courtyards, new faux-wood flooring, new appliances, and updated cabinetry in many of the units.

“Quez Capital purchased the property in 2012 and embarked on an extensive rehabilitation of the property in order to address the high level of deferred maintenance left from the prior ownership group,” Shih says.

Pohl added:  “Although significant renovations were completed, Quez Capital intentionally left a number of the units ‘as-is’ to provide new ownership with the opportunity to complete the rehab of the property.”

Arc Capital Partners Acquires The Establishment Apartment Community in Austin

9 Dec 2013, 7:10 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

On November 22, 2013, the Los Angeles-based boutique commercial real estate platform Arc Capital Partners, formed by industry veterans Quincy Allen and Neville Rhone, entered into a joint venture with Cardinal Group Investments (CGI) to acquire an apartment community located in the South Congress submarket of Austin. The Establishment is a 139-unit residential complex located at 3501 South 1st St., only 10 minutes from downtown Austin.

“We are pleased to partner with Arc Capital Partners, and to help bring affordable, high-quality rental housing to such a vibrant community in Austin,” says Jason Luker with Cardinal Group Investments. “Neville has a strong track record of success in the Austin market, and his existing relationships and ability to move quickly were instrumental in closing on the acquisition of The Establishment.”

The acquisition was performed through an off-market transaction and the details have not been disclosed. In the upcoming months, the community will go through a series of enhancements, renovations and a rebranding process, joining CGI’s successful multifamily platform Mint Urban™. The Establishment offers one- and two-bedroom units and the community amenities include a barbeque/picnic area, pool, courtyard, clothes care center with credit card reload, and dedicated car2go parking.

“As investors in Austin for over a decade, we immediately recognized this as an opportunity to generate an attractive risk-adjusted return in a market with a growing population and employment base,” says Neville Rhone, Managing Partner of Arc Capital Partners. “We are very excited to partner with Cardinal Group Investments in our first investment since forming Arc Capital Partners. They have a demonstrated commitment to quality with the Mint Urban brand and are focused on improving the resident experience on the property.”

Photo courtesy of Mint Urban Apartments | Establishment

Investcorp Acquires University Village & University Estates in Austin

2 Dec 2013, 9:50 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Investcorp, one of the prominent providers and managers of alternative investment products headquartered in New York, announced the acquisition of several residential properties in separate transactions, in Austin, Chicago and Las Vegas.  The amount paid for all transactions was approximately $270 million.

“These recent residential acquisitions are consistent with our strategy of targeting high quality assets with what we believe are attractive yields and the potential for near- and long-term upside through operating improvements and renovations,” says Christopher Hoeffel, managing director in Investcorp’s real estate group.

In Austin, the firm has purchased two student housing communities located in the Riverside submarket: University Village & University Estates. When combined, the two properties total 846 units of two-, three- and four-bedroom units, or 2,700 beds. Amenities include full size washer/dryer in every apartment, large bedrooms with private baths, walk in closets, free high-speed internet, and free cable with HBO. Leases are of the By-the-Bed type, with the lease holder being responsible only for their portion of the rent, without penalties in case of late payments from the roommates.

The nearness to the University of Texas at Austin and other colleges with significant student population ensure a high occupancy rate, as Brian Kelley, one of Investcorp’s Principals reported.

“These properties not only have high occupancy rates but, also, are located near major employment centers in areas with solid economic fundamentals,” he says.

Since 1995 the company has acquired around 200 properties valued at approximately $10 billion, and holds another $4 billion in property and debt funds under management. The company has offices in New York, London, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Photos courtesy of University Village at Austin and University Estates at Austin.

American Housing Ventures Announces Legends at Onion Creek Development

27 Nov 2013, 3:19 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

American Housing Ventures is a young company created by Mark Wolf and partner Spencer Rinker and they recently secured a 115-acre parcel east of one of Austin’s most popular communities, Onion Creek. The duo is planning to build Legends at Onion Creek, which would bring 287 single-family homes to the market.

“Based on our team’s extensive and proven track record in real estate investment, AHV is well positioned to capitalize on high growth markets such as Austin and bring distinctive neighborhoods and communities to fruition,” says Mark Wolf, CEO of AHV. “Our premier for-sale communities will give residents the opportunity to fulfill the American dream of owning a beautiful, affordable, brand new, high-quality home in a desirable location.”

Conveniently located near Interstate 35, Highway 130/45 and retail centers such as Southpark Meadows, the new neighborhood will benefit from the community’s parks, homeowner’s association and other amenities, including the historic Onion Creek Golf Club. Legends at Onion Creek will be the first community in the Austin area featuring the New House – a top-quality crafted home that has, as an end result, a higher quality structure with increased energy savings and impeccable design. The new development will offer houses that range in size from about 1,930 square feet to 3,000 square feet and will include 20 to 30 acres of open space.

Works are slowly taking off, and Wolf assured that recent floods have not affected the site.

“It’s fully entitled and we have the second quarter of 2014 as our target to begin phase one,” Wolf reports.

Pricing has not been announced, but the new homes are expected to be priced for first-time buyers.

Photo courtesy of American Housing Ventures.

Joint-Venture Acquires Hampton Inn Austin Airport

18 Nov 2013, 8:15 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

A newly created joint venture between Hostmark Hospitality Group and Pendo Investments announced the acquisition of Hampton Inn Austin Airport. The managing company will be Hostmark Hospitality Group, an award winning hospitality management firm for Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, IHG, Wyndham and Choice.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity to expand our relationship with Hilton and the Hampton Inn brand in one of the premier markets in the United States,” says Jerome F. Cataldo, president and CEO of Hostmark Hospitality Group.

The hotel offers 102 rooms and is only minutes away from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as well as five miles from the new Circuit of the America’s Formula 1 Racetrack and Austin 360 Amphitheater. Located at 7712 E Riverside Drive, the hotel is positioned at the gateway of the city and near Austin’s cultural attractions, corporations, universities, and music scene. The services and amenities include free hot breakfast, a business center, meeting rooms, fitness center, pool, basketball and tennis court. High speed internet is available throughout the hotel.

The property will undergo complete renovations to provide a best-in-class guest product and experience.

“We have assembled a premier team with Hostmark, Hilton and Pendo Investments, to capitalize on a great hotel in a fantastic city,” says Brian Buchhagen, president of California-based Pendo Investments.

Pendo Investments is a private real estate investment company focused on under-performing properties with current cash flow. Its team has more than 50 combined years of real estate experience, having closed transactions worth over $4 billion.

Photo courtesy of Hostmark Hospitality Group

Oracle Adds Third Office in Austin

8 Nov 2013, 10:18 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The property located at 7700 W Parmer Lane in Williamson County will accommodate Oracle’s new office building. The structure is currently occupied by Freescale Semiconductor Inc., which announced it would relocate its operations to South Austin by the end of 2013.

According to Oracle’s website, the company currently maintains offices in Northwest Austin at 9600 N MoPac and 5300 Riata Park Court. Oracle America Inc. intends to create 200 new jobs for a new 50,000-square-foot office, an investment estimated at $5.4 million. The expansion is meant for the sales and marketing departments.

Williamson County commissioners authorized an economic development agreement with Oracle to deduct 50 percent of the company’s incremental real and personal property revenues over the next seven years, starting with tax year 2014.

“By helping companies to choose to come to Williamson County, they’re hiring many of those folks [who] already live here,” Precinct Two Commissioner Cynthia Long says.

Precinct One Commisioner Lisa Birkman added that “half of the 200 new jobs will be hired in 2013 and the rest by 2017,” adding that the “average annual salary will be $66,000.”

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce supported the expansion through their Opportunity Austin initiative, designed to foster job-creating investment in Central Texas.

“We are grateful that Oracle has decided to further its growth and investment in Austin, and look forward to continuing our mission to build a strong future for our residents and businesses,” says Gary Farmer, chairman of Opportunity Austin and president of Heritage Title Company of Austin Inc.

Governor Rick Perry’s office announced that Oracle would get $1 million for this investment. The amount will be provided from the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund, a business incentive fund used for ensuring the growth of business in Texas.

“We’ve enjoyed building a home in Austin, and now, as the second-largest software company in the world, [we] are looking forward to continued growth and success in Central Texas,” says Randy Smith, Oracle’s vice president of global real estate and facilities.

Forestar’s Eleven Welcomes Its First Tenants

6 Nov 2013, 8:22 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The southeast corner of East 11th Street and Interstate 35, regarded as a gateway into East Austin, has been changed by the podium-style community developed by Forestar Group Inc. in partnership with Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds. The grand opening ceremony took place a few days ago and the first residents have already moved in.

The community, Eleven, is a four-story wood-framed 257-unit multifamily complex with splendid views over the downtown area. It offers studio, loft, one- and two-bedroom floor plans with striking interiors that feature 10-foot ceilings, oversized windows, 8-foot entry doors, polished concrete or wood flooring, stainless steel appliances and private balconies or patios. A two-story parking garage occupies the ground area. The community amenities include a rooftop deck with resort-style swimming pool, outdoor living area, grilling area and courtyard with bocce ball, chess, yoga area and a dog grooming station. The clubhouse includes a leasing office, fitness center, 24/7 business center and community club room. A fully outfitted bike workshop and car charging stations support the community’s interest in alternative transportation.

The development is located at 811 East 11th Street, which is conveniently close to restaurants, shopping areas and entertainment venues in east and downtown Austin. As sign of commitment to the community, the developer donated $25,000 to the Austin Revitalization Authority  for the preservation of the historic Herman Schieffer House.

“Eleven reflects the vision and innovation of Forestar’s multifamily team who, along with our good partners Canyon-Johnson and our construction lender Wells Fargo, have developed a unique urban project that recognizes the importance of community and cultural heritage and thrives in a dynamic present,” says Tom Etheredge, executive vice president at the multifamily operations of Forestar.

The design of Eleven is the work of BGO Architects and Kathy Andrews Interiors took responsibility for the interior design. Alliance Residential manages the property.

Photo courtesy of Eleven


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