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Austin Hampton Inn Hotel Sale Arranged by Marcus & Millichap

12 Feb 2014, 7:38 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Hampton Inn hotel located at 4141 Governors Row in Austin has changed owners. Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services arranged the sale of the six-story 123-room hotel, without disclosing the terms of the sale.

The seller, a joint venture between a California family trust and a Texas-based private investor, was represented by a Marcus and Millichap trio consisting of Allan Miller, associate vice president investments in the San Antonio office, Chris Gomes, senior associate in Dallas, and Jake Gaddy, associate in Austin. The buyer, Moody National REIT 1 Inc., was advised by David Greenberg, vice president investments in the Fort Lauderdale office.

“Assets like this Hampton Inn rarely become available in Austin,” says Miller. “This is a premier franchise in one of the fastest-growing cities and hotel markets in the country.”

Greenberg added: “The hotel’s 10-year franchise was renewed with Hilton Hotels & Resorts in July 2012.”

The property is located off the intersection of Interstate 35 and Texas State Highway 71, six miles from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. It’s only five minutes south of downtown Austin and 10 miles from a new Formula One racetrack. The hotel was built in 1997 and underwent extensive renovations in 2012. Amenities include a business center, a meeting room of 430 square feet, swimming room and jogging and walking tracks.

After a very successful 2013 when the four sold 27 hotels valued at $169 million throughout seven states, Greenberg concludes: “We expect 2014 to be a record year for hotel transactions; with our unique value proposition, Marcus & Millichap will undoubtedly continue to be the dominant hotel broker in the nation.”

Photo courtesy of Hampton Inn Austin/Airport Area South.

Emerson Opens Third Global Innovation Center in Austin

3 Feb 2014, 9:31 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Emerson Process Management opened its third global Innovation Center – Process Systems and Solutions in Round Rock, near Austin, Tex. The other two centers are located in Marshalltown, Iowa – a unique research & development facility that develops and tests flow control applications and technologies – and in Pune, India – a center where world-class software application is developed.

The new innovation center is the global headquarters for Emerson’s automation systems and project services business that provides leadership for process control systems development, integrated operations consulting, project execution and human centered design. The businesses that benefit from Emerson’s latest center come from various industries such as oil and gas, refining, chemicals, power, life sciences, food and beverages, and metals and mining. Its brands include PlantWeb™, Syncade™, DeltaV™, Fisher®, Bettis™, Micro Motion®, Rosemount®, Daniel™, Ovation™ and AMS Suite.

“No other facility in the world can do what our new Emerson Innovation Center can do,” says Jim Nyquist, president of process systems and solutions for Emerson Process Management. “To us, this campus is more than just an expanded space — it actually is a catalyst for innovation,” he adds. “It’s here where we solve some of our customers’ toughest challenges.”

At a cost that reached almost $70 million, the Round Rock development encompasses 282,000 square feet that comprises several disciplines under the same roof – the Integrated Operations Center where customers can learn how to remotely manage operations and collaborate with experts, a consulting and engineering practice, a product testing lab, and a support center.

Emerson opened its first Austin facility in 1981 with 50 employees. The new building increases the number to almost 800 in Austin alone, and 2,500 throughout Texas.

Photo courtesy of Google.

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


$9.5M Purchase of Industrial Facility by Gramercy Property Trust

31 Oct 2013, 4:19 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The real estate investment trust Gramercy Property Trust announced the acquisition of an industrial facility in Austin. The transaction went through after the company executed definitive agreements for a private placement of 11,545,200 shares of common equity at $4.11 per share. The Private Placement raised gross proceeds of $47.4 million.

The Austin building is about 120,350 square feet and was purchased all-cash for the price of $9.5 million.  The facility is entirely leased through October 2028 by a prominent provider of linen management services for the US health care industry. With a 7.56 percent initial cap rate and an 8.25 percent GAAP cap rate, the year 1 operating income is approximately $717,000 with fixed rent escalations throughout the lease term.

The industrial Austin market view shows an occupancy rate of 89.3 percent, the highest in the past 12 years. The leasing activity continued on a steady pace in the third quarter, tracking 206, 454 square feet of positive net absorption, shows a CBRE report. The warehouse product accounts for 66 percent of the citywide net absorption. Rates are on a rising trend on all product types, but at a limited speed. However, several institutional landlords offer a negotiable rate for projects with high vacancy because the size and term of the prospective tenants influence the rate.


Velocis Forms Partnership With Moors & Associates Through the Acquisition of Two Office Buildings

21 Oct 2013, 7:08 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

A new partnership has formed between Bethesda, MD-based Moore & Associates and Dallas-based Velocis Fund. The latter partner acquired the majority interest in two Class A office buildings. The first, Arboretum Atrium, is located at 9737 Great Hills Trails and the second being Las Cimas I at 804 Las Cimas Blvd. The two properties total 170,000 square feet.

Moore & Associates, the partner in the original investment who acquired both assets in 2004, will keep its minority ownership as well as continue to manage and lease the properties. Alfa Insurance Company, the other initial partner, sold its interest to Velocis who became the majority owner.

“These two assets are strategically located in prime demographic areas of Austin’s northwest and southwest subdivisions. Not only is Austin one of the most desired live-work-and-play cities, but the supply-constrained market makes this a perfect demand driven purchase,” says Mike Lewis, a Velocis principal and co-founder. “We have an ideal partner in Moore & Associates, who shares our in-fill location strategy and is a best in class management team.”

Arboretum Atrium encompasses 91,083 square feet of Class A office space and is recently renovated. It has a three-story atrium with skylights, indoor fountains and greenscapes. The fully-leased property in Northwest Austin is conveniently located near restaurants, shops, hotels and other area attractions, and it is just one block from Highway 183, MoPac and Loop 360.

Las Cimas I offers 82,787 square feet of office space and was built in 2000. The contemporary limestone façade is complemented by mature trees, views of downtown, and other on-site amenities. It is located in Southwest Austin, at the corner of Bee Caves and Loop 360.

Aside from the two office buildings, the Fund’s Austin portfolio includes a medical office building and the retail centers Woods Shopping Center and Springdale Shopping Center. With these purchases the asset value under management of the Fund reaches $264 million in Texas and Colorado.

World Class Capital Plans to Reposition Crestview Crossing Post Acquisition

14 Oct 2013, 5:58 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Once opportunity is identified, creating value comes next. Under this principle World Class Capital Group announced the acquisition of the North-Central Austin retail center located at 8120 Research Blvd, at the corner of Highway 183 and Anderson Square.

Chris Skyles of SkylesBayne Co. represented World Class in the transaction. Although the price has not been disclosed, the property has been listed with Cetera Realty Advisors for $4.1 million.

The space entails 42,000 square feet that is currently 86 percent occupied, with the largest tenant being the famed Austin comedy venue, Capitol City Comedy Club. World Class plans to invest in a consistent renovation with the intention to reposition the property as Crestview Crossing.

“We plan to make immediate capital improvements to reposition as Crestview Crossing, a neighborhood retail center for a budding community,” says Nate Paul, president and CEO of World Class Capital Group. “We see enormous potential in the North-Central Austin market, and this acquisition allows us to capitalize on the area’s high growth and strong demographic trends.”

According to a report issued by Marcus & Millichap, multi-tenant sales trends climbed 65 percent in the last 12 months. The median sales price of $277 per square foot shows a 61 percent increase compared to 2012, while the increase in the number of neighborhood centers that changed owners indicates less risk-averse from the investors’ part.

Huffines Communities Invests in Waterford at Lake Travis

8 Oct 2013, 9:16 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Huffines Communities has announced that it has acquired 51 lake view and lake front lots in the gated and custom homes community of Waterfront on Lake Travis community in Lago Vista, Texas northwest of Austin, adding to its first investment, Waterford Marina, located on Lake Travis’ north shore. A new marina built in 2010 and land that is slated for 70 lots is also part of the purchase.

The seller has been represented by CBRE and the offering was priced at $10 million. Huffines plans to use the uprising homebuilding market and sell the lots to individuals and custom builders.

“Homeowners who decide to build in Waterford will join a community that already features 67 custom homes valued from $800,000 to over $2 million” said Donald Huffines, co-owner of Huffines Communities. “These first 51 highly desirable lots – with outstanding views and lake frontage on Lake Travis – are ready to build on,” he added.

The area’s value has grown over time, becoming a primary home market with massive residential developments underway in the nearby perimeter. Located just 30 minutes from Austin, the area is ideal for families as there is a high school currently under construction only three miles away.

“Waterford at Lake Travis is also an exceptional neighborhood for boating enthusiasts,” said Phillip Huffines, the second co-owner and brother of Donald. “The Waterford Marina is a first-class marina with a variety of premium, covered boat slips that can be leased by anyone, not just Waterford homeowners.

“We believe in the growth potential of the marina segment and will continue to look at other marina purchases in the future,” he added. “We gain operational efficiencies from owning multiple marinas.”

Photo courtesy of CBRE

Luxury Whitley Apartments for Sale with CBRE

29 Sep 2013, 10:59 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Class A residential high-rise located in the heart of the Austin central business district, Whitley, is now listed for sale under the representation of CBRE Texas Multi-Housing Group. The building is located at 301 Brazos and was completed in 2013.

Whitley is a 16-story residential tower that offers 266 luxury studios, one- and two-bedroom units with 17 distinct floor plans that range in size from 514 square feet to 1,378 square feet. The residential area totals 222,666 square feet and is 62 percent occupied and 68 percent leased, while the 12,062 square feet of ground floor retail space is 100 percent occupied by Uncle Julio’s Restaurant and Royal Blue Grocery.

The apartments feature floor-to-ceiling windows with sliding glass doors, granite countertops, porcelain tile flooring in bathrooms, stainless steel Whirlpool appliances and full-size Whirlpool washer and dryers, HVAC units in each apartment, and fabric roller shades at all windows.

Community amenities include a conference room, business center, theater area, coffee bar and concierge service. At the sixth floor there is the cityscape pool with sundeck, a gourmet outdoor kitchen, covered outdoor yoga and exercise terrace, fitness studio, and indoor pool-level aqua lounge with catering kitchen. The building has gated parking with controlled access, a dog park with artificial grass and washing machine, structured parking and 25 private garages.

The property is located near the 1,000-room JW Marriott, currently under construction, with many entertainment options nearby and a Walk Score of 98 out of 100. Whitley also has a pending LEED certification and Austin Green Building 2-Star Certificate.

Photo courtesy of Whitley.

Brandywine RT and DRA Advisors LLC Form Joint Venture on $330 Million Office Properties

20 Sep 2013, 5:32 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Pennsylvania-based Brandywine Realty Trust, which specializes in the ownership, management and development of urban, town center and office properties, has announced a joint venture with New York-based DRA Advisors LLC that will place Brandywine’s entire office portfolio from the Southwest submarket of Austin into 50 percent ownership by each company.

Brandywine’s portfolio totals 1,398,826 square feet of space spread between the following 11 buildings: Barton Skyway, which has four buildings encompassing 786,845 square feet with 94.4 percent occupancy, the Park on Barton Creek, a fully-leased, two-building property with 205,195 square feet of space, 7000 West at Lantana, also fully-leased with two buildings that feature 136,075 square feet of space, and the final property, Cielo Center, which offers 290,711 square feet of space throughout three buildings and is 99.6 percent occupied.

Brandywine’s exclusive financial advisor is Eastdil Secured LLC.

In the transaction, which is expected to close early in the fourth quarter, the joint venture will pay $330 million ($236 per square foot) for the properties, representing a capitalization rate of approximately 6.7% cash and 7.0% GAAP.

Brandywine’s expectation of the sale is of $271.6 million of proceeds, post deduction of the $5.7 million paid for the transaction and venture formation costs. The intention of the two companies is to extend their investments in targeted Austin submarkets.

“Through our existing joint venture, we enjoy an excellent relationship with DRA Advisors and are excited to expand that platform into the Austin market,” says Gerard H. Sweeney, President and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. ”DRA is a well-regarded real estate investor and this transaction enables us to harvest current value in the contributed portfolio, meaningfully participate in its future appreciation and create a co-investment vehicle to accelerate our growth in Austin with a high quality partner.  The going forward equity commitment by both parties positions us well to continue growing our position as one of Austin’s leading landlords.

“We have been pleased with our existing partnership with Brandywine in the mid-Atlantic region and we look forward to expanding our successful relationship into the vibrant Austin office market.  We believe that Austin is one of the most desirable investment markets in the country and, over time, we hope to increase the size of the portfolio and expand our market share.”

Photo courtesy of Brandywine Realty Trust.

Simon Property Group’s Barton Creek Square to Undergo Food Court Renovations

13 Sep 2013, 10:50 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Simon Property Group Inc., the Indianapolis-based real estate company that owns a large percentage of retail space in Austin, has started remodeling work at the food court in its Barton Creek Square shopping mall in Austin. Completion of the project is scheduled for November 2013.

Law Kingdon Architecture has been contacted to create the design and Law Company Inc. was selected as contractor for the upgrades.

The redesign entails the installation of bar-height seating equipped with charging stations, the addition of hand-washing stations, renovations to restrooms and extension of the already existing family restroom, and the replacement of the current flooring and seating that can accommodate 500 shoppers. The investment amount has not been made public.

Most of the works will be done at night so that it doesn’t affect the activity of the food court.

Barton Creek Square was built in 1981 and its last renovation took place ten years ago. It’s one of the largest shopping centers in Austin, encompassing 1.4 million square feet.

Besides Barton Creek Square, Simon owns and manages Austin’s The Domain shopping center and the Lakeline Mall. The company employs approximately 5,500 people across the United States and has a market capitalization of over $90 billion.

Photo courtesy of Simon Property Management.

ABoR Completes Plans for New Headquarters

9 Sep 2013, 4:42 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The almost 9,000 members of the Austin Board of REALTORS (ABoR) have a new headquarters to look forward to in the future. ABoR announced its plans to start construction on a facility that will entail approximately 33,000 square feet on 5.2 acres. 

ABoR’s Chairman, Cathy Coneway, said in a press statement, “We’re thrilled to announce the plans for our new facility. ABoR’s members are technologically savvy and highly mobile. Our new building will be dedicated to giving them the member services they expect along with the technology and educational resources they need to serve consumers.”

The new building is valued between $11 million and $13 million and will include three auditoriums, several conference rooms, a member lounge, a computer lounge, staff offices, and one custom-designed room for members to meet with clients, take calls, and lead property closings and other types of work. All educational classrooms in the new headquarters will be equipped with video technology. One important aspect is that the building will be green certified by the city and will be environmentally friendly, reports the Austin Business Journal, and the reception area is already being built using lumber from the old Spaghetti Warehouse downtown.

The location for the new ABoR is 4800 Spicewood Springs Road, a place where Coneway hopes, “Not only will members be able to work and learn in the new space, but they will also be able to stop by the member lounge where they can take a break between classes and enjoy the views of Austin’s rolling hills. We want this to be a place where members can network with peers and recharge themselves and their mobile devices.”

The new investment strategy comes as result of the market shift—for years it has been more profitable to lease than own, explains Jay Gohil, Chair of the Facilities Task Force, but “now it’s time to buy.” The ground breaking is scheduled for September 12, allowing the members to move into the new building in December 2014.

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