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CBRE Represents Hamilton Zanze in the Sale of 600-Unit Multifamily Complex in Austin

4 Jul 2014, 5:39 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

One of Austin’s huge apartment complexes located near the Central Business District has a new owner. The Retreat at Barton Creek has been acquired by Southern California-based Paydar Properties for an amount that remains undisclosed.

Charles Cirar, a Vice Chairman with CBRE Multifamily, represented the seller, San Francisco-based Hamilton Zanze and its joint venture partner NYL Investors. Hamilton Zanze acquired the 600-unit multifamily complex in 2007 and ever since it invested over $7 million in capital improvements such as 100 percent renovation of the units, modernizing the pool areas, and upgrading the property’s landscaping.

“We owned Barton Creek for just over seven years and executed on a capital improvement program that significantly enhanced the property’s appeal and operations,” says Kurt Houtkooper, Chief Investment Officer of Hamilton Zanze. “This transaction speaks to the strength of the Austin market and the high quality of the asset.”

The Retreat at Barton Creek was built in 1984 and occupies about 30 acres. At the time of the sale it was 95 percent occupied. Its location at 3816 South Lamar Boulevard makes it highly attractive to residents as well as its beautiful features, which includes two swimming pools, a clubhouse, a dog park, a 24-hour fitness center with free personal trainer and wonderful panoramic views and easy access to Barton Creek Greenbelt. Additionally, an 800-acre nature preserve running through the city is the perfect spot for hiking, biking, swimming, and other outdoor activities.



Capital Studios, the First Affordable-Housing Community in Downtown Austin, Set to Open in October

30 Jun 2014, 2:36 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Downtown Austin Plan is moving forward. The city’s blueprint that shows the need for more affordable housing and permanent supportive housing is meeting its materialization. The first affordable-housing project in 45 years is currently in the works.

Capital Studios is the new community that will serve low-income and homeless residents in the Austin area, designed to meet LEED Platinum standards. Works are scheduled to be completed this fall for residents to move in in October.

The developer and managing company is Foundation Communities and they work with various public-private partners including UnitedHealthcare – the largest investor that provided $11.7 million through the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity in a partnership with Enterprise Community Investment, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs that allocated the tax credits, the Austin Housing Finance Corporation who provided $4.7 million in permanent financing. The Federal Home Loan Bank secured an additional $1 million in a permanent financing, the Bank of America granted a $500,000 construction loan, and other sources and private donations raised another $2.7 million.

Capital Studios will be located at 11th and Trinity Streets and will offer 135 efficiency apartments for single adults and 25 percent of them will be reserved for homeless individuals. The property will have 24-hour monitored access; residents will have a private community space with a computer lab, TV lounge and fitness area. Just a block of the Texas State Capital, it has street level retail space and a publicly accessible bike-share kiosk. Rents will range between $400 and $650 per month with utilities included.

“Expanding access to affordable housing is important in breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty and helping people live healthier lives,” says Donald Langer, president of UnitedHealthcare Community & State of Texas. “Capital Studios will be a tremendous boost to downtown Austin, providing affordable housing and services to help people in need.”

Photo courtesy of City of Austin, Texas.



RLJ Lodging Trust Sells Holiday Inn Austin NW Arboretum Area for $13.5 Million

20 Jun 2014, 4:49 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

One of the hotels nestled in the hills of northwest Austin has left RLJ Lodging Trust’s portfolio. Details about the transaction have not been disclosed.

The 194-room Holiday Inn Austin NW Arboretum Area (the “Hotel”) was built in 1984 near the MoPac Expressway/Highway 183 intersection and RLJ purchased it in 2006 as part of a 100 hotel portfolio. The hotel recently sold for approximately $13.5 million, more precisely $70,000 per key. This represents a 7.9 percent capitalization rate on the hotel’s 2014 net operating income.

“We are very pleased to close on the sale of an additional non-strategic asset. To date, we have sold 15 assets for gross proceeds of more than $130 million,” says Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., president and CEO. “As we pursue additional dispositions, we are very encouraged by the interest we are seeing for our assets and an improving lending environment. We remain committed to further recycling capital into assets that improve our portfolio quality.”

RLJ Lodging Trust is undergoing a massive capital recycling strategy to strengthen its portfolio through the disposition of assets that don’t match the company’s long-term investment vision. The company owns now 147 properties made out of 145 hotels with approximately 22,700 rooms, and two planned conversions, spread across 22 states and the District of Columbia.

Photo courtesy of RLJ Lodging Trust



Presidium Group Acquires Two Multifamily Communities in Austin

7 Jun 2014, 12:13 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Austin not only won the title of the fastest growing metro area in Texas, but it is also ranked as one of the fastest growing stable employment sectors in the nation, according to a Marcus and Millichap report. Investors, such as Presidium Group, are taking note of such statistics.

Since the beginning of the year, Presidium has acquired over 2,000 apartment units in Texas and several development sites which together value approximately $100 million. Its latest acquisition consists of two Austin apartment complexes – Hidden Villas and Laurel Woods.

“With more than 100 people moving to Austin a day, it continues to be a hot market to invest in,” said Presidium Co-Chief Executive Officer Cross Moceri. “In particular, these two properties are well-positioned assets in Austin with the potential to grow rents through significant value-add renovations.”

The two properties are located along Highway 183: Hidden Villas is a 156-unit complex positioned east of Interstate Highway 35 close to retail, entertainment and employment centers, with access to all points of Austin, while Laurel Woods is a 150-unit complex, just a few miles northwest of Loop 1, in the Northwest Austin corridor near two major retail centers and a flourishing restaurant scene.

In the value-add project, the interiors and exteriors of both properties will be renovated to feature new unit fixtures, plumbing, lighting fixtures and appliances, as well as a new paint scheme.  Exterior upgrades will consist of improvements to the exteriors of the buildings, amenities and common areas and leasing center. A rebranding process will follow, and solar PV systems will be installed. Current amenities include a swimming pool with sundeck, fitness center, clubhouse and a children’s area for Hidden Villas, as well as a pool, fitness center and a dog park for Laurel Woods.



Historic Wilkins-Heath House Listed For Sale at $1.35 Million

31 May 2014, 5:55 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The house located at 1208 Newning Avenue in Austin’s Fairview Park subdivision is on sale for $1.35 million, down from $1.5 million. The building is a City of Austin Historic Landmark for its perfect representation of a Victorian era Queen Anne Cottage.

Built in 1886 by Virginia Alma Day Wilkins and her husband Frank Wilkins, the house was lovingly and meticulously restored from the studs in 2005. The Wilkins-Heath property looks like new, yet the charm and essence of its original glory has been perfectly preserved.

The house sits on 0.33 acres, encompassing 2,466 square feet and features two living areas, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a formal dining room. A powder room is downstairs and the full master suite with a large sitting room that could easily become an office, reading, or yoga room on the second floor. The backyard is a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat, wonderfully maintained by the current owner Melanie Martinez, an organic gardener into natives.

All details have been carefully brought back to life, from the exterior paint that is representative not only of the era but the area as in this part of Texas earth-toned colors were mostly used. Candace Volz, Historic Interiors specialist who was part of the State Capital restoration team, tracked down the wallpaper in the house, a wonderful period reproduction. Bill Breaux refinished the woodwork throughout the interior, using salvaged wood for any new window and shutter. All pieces of hardware – doorknobs to transom window cranks – are original, refurbished at Cirecast in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Wilkins-Heath House Facebook Page.



Phase III of The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch Completed

23 May 2014, 3:20 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

A gated garden home community which only two months ago was entering Phase III of development—The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch—has completed construction and announced its grand opening event for the weekend of May 24 and 25. David Blackburn, president of award-winning developer Blackburn Communities, announced special incentives for the final phase of the project.

“We’re so pleased with the success of The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch that we’re offering these incentives as a ‘thank you’ to those who purchase in Phase III,” Blackburn said in a press statement. “Homeowners in the first two phases love living so close to three of the top-rated small cities in the U.S., and having Austin just a 20-minute drive away. We’re proud of the community and the families who call it home.”

The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch offers seven flexible floorplans ranging in size from 1,297 to 2,609 square feet, each with a covered patio to enjoy the views of the Texas Hill Country. The homes feature granite countertops, ceramic tile, cathedral ceilings, two-car garages, side entry, and leading-edge GE appliances. Prices for the garden homes start in the low $200,000s.

A desirable location at the crossroads of four Central Texas cities—Georgetown, Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Austin—places the community in one of the most desirable locations in Texas. Shopping and dining options are just minutes away at The Round Rock Outlet Mall, 1890 Ranch and The Domain, while major employers like Dell and Scott & White are nearby, easily accessible through Highway 1431 & I-35.

Photo courtesy of The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch



UT Approves Construction of $172 Million Robert B. Rowling Hall

16 May 2014, 4:57 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The construction plans for Robert B. Rowling Hall have been approved by The University of Texas Board of Regents. The development will house the McCombs School of Business Texas MBA and Texas MSTC programs. It will also double the available space for Texas Executive Education Programs and increase the university’s convention and conference activities.

“Teaching and learning in Rowling Hall will match the diversity and resourcefulness of today’s most progressive organizations,” says Thomas Gilligan, dean of the McCombs School. “Our graduates move into leadership roles within innovative workforces around the world, and our entire program, from faculty to curriculum and facilities, prepares them for that environment.”

The 458,000-square-foot building will be located on the corner of Guadalupe Street and East MLK Jr. Blvd., across from the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2014 with finalization in early 2017. The estimated cost for the project is $172 million and $58.25 million was raised through philanthropic donations. The Rowling family donated $25 million.

“Rowling Hall will serve as a hub for graduate students to meet with peers, faculty, recruiters and members of the business community to openly exchange ideas, network and work in teams, just as they will in the business world,” Gilligan says. “Their education is an extension of their career, and they spend 60-plus hours a week at the school. Graduate students need team workrooms, technology tools and an environment that promotes professionalism, whether preparing for a crucial presentation or meeting a corporate recruiter.”

Ennead Architects designed the project and Jacobs Engineering DPR is the construction manager. The building concept presents the “flipped classrooms” ideal for a space intended to suit both lectures and team collaborations. Additionally, the Rowling Hall will increase the availability of on-campus parking.



Riverside Resources Started Construction on Capital Ridge Office Development

9 May 2014, 9:00 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The 38 acre office/hotel campus site located at the intersection of Loop 360 and Bee Cave Road has turned into a construction site that will give Capital Ridge, a 215,000 square feet seven-story Class A office building. The developer is Riverside Resources, which specializes in investment, development, and management of commercial real estate in Central Texas.

The office building will include a glass façade that overlooks most of Loop 360 and features an expansive three-story lobby highlighted with private terraces on various levels. The development will be built to LEED standards and will have 32 acres of dedicated green space. Financing for the project has been arranged by HFF, reported Doug Opalka, Senior Marketing Director for HFF.

The overall complex includes Hotel Granduca Austin, which is scheduled to be finalized by the end of 2015. The apposition of the two projects will make Capital Ridge the only market-area office building in Southwest Austin within walking distance of a hotel and full-service Italian restaurant.

The two developments will share a common structured parking garage with three underground floors. The free parking and the suburban tax rates considerably lower the operating expenses of the office building, making it a difficult to refuse offer.

Win Smith, a member of the development team, says, “We are excited for the opportunity to deliver 215,000+ square feet of Class A office space in a hill country setting. With the hotel, the views, and its central location, we think it’s a very attractive option.”



Taylor Morrison Announces Start of Construction at Travisso Master-Planned Community

2 May 2014, 11:25 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

For Leander’s newest master-planned community Travisso, Arizona-based builder and developer Taylor Morrison Home Corporation, announced the start of its models for four home collections. These are scheduled to be completed in May.

The series of homes that will be part of the 2,100-acre Travisso are developed in collaboration with Toll Brothers.

“We’re excited to watch Travisso begin to take shape,” says Michael Lindeman, vice president of sales and marketing for Taylor Morrison. “All four collections offer something special for homebuyers.”

The homes will range in size from 1,450 to 4,076 square feet, displayed on one-and two-story floor plans with different lot sizes.

The Florian model is a three-bedroom, two-bath home and offers over 1,900 square feet of living space. It features a gourmet kitchen, a large family room and additional flex space.

The Hampton model from the Siena Collection spreads over 3,401 square feet. It addresses the need of the Austin homebuyers for more square footage through its four bedrooms, 3.5 baths and two stories of living space. It features a first-floor master suite, plenty of rooms upstairs and a covered balcony over the beautiful area of Travisso Hill Country.

The Nottingham of the Naples Collection is the expansive 3,982-square-foot model with five bedrooms and 4.5 baths. It flaunts a study, dining room and a large family room with corner fireplace, seamlessly integrated with a first-floor master suite. Upstairs lay the game room, media room and three additional bedrooms.

The Sorento of the Florence Collection is the largest of the four models at Travisso: more than 4,000 square feet for 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a formal dining room, study, media room, large great room and a stunning staircase.

Travisso’s location, west of Austin and north of Lake Travis, has plenty of shopping and entertaining options – Lakeline Mall, Round Rock Premium Outlets, and 1890 Ranch Shopping Center are near the community, while the 6,800-seat Cedar Park Event Center and the 18 holes of golf at Crystal Falls Golf Club are just a short drive away. Employment centers are minutes away from the master-planned community and include Dell, Apple and Google.



Embrey Partners Opens Escape at Four Points in West Austin

11 Apr 2014, 9:20 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Founded in 1974, San Antonio-based Embrey Partners has developed more than 31,000 apartments and six million square feet of commercial space. Recently they’ve announced the grand opening of their latest residential project, Escape at Four Points, in west Austin, Texas.

The development is a Class A, luxury garden-style community spread on 14 acres located at 11210 FM 2222, and offers prospective residents 344 units. Located between River Place, Lakeway, and Steiner Ranch neighborhoods, the complex has superb surrounding areas with stunning hilltop views, open space, and access to Lake Travis, and it could possibly be the last multifamily project to be developed along FM 2222.

Aside from the connected, walkable retail on the edge of Austin’s urban center, Senior Managing Partner Jeff booth says that “There are great schools, great amenities and convenient access to major Austin employment centers.”

We feel very fortunate to be able to deliver a first-class, multi-family development to a truly unique site,” he adds.

Construction started in February 2013 and Embrey worked closely with the City of Austin to preserve cave features, woodlands, and drainage areas on the site.

“We made the buildings work with the land, not the other way around,” Booth says.

Furthermore, to ensure that the best water quality is returned to the environment, the company designed water quality ponds and drainage features.

Escape at Four Points offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom units ranging in square footage from 700 to 1,355 square feet in three- and four-story buildings and carriage houses with options for one- and two-car garages and surface parking. Island kitchens, granite countertops, and utility rooms are part of the upscale apartment amenities while the community amenities include multi-level, resort style pool, a state of the art fitness center, resident lounge with coffee bar, and a game room with billiards and shuffleboard.

The managing company is Embrey Management Services. The community was developed with equity partners Case Pomeroy Properties and Six Pines Realty, LLC, with financing from Frost Bank.







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