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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.

Hyatt Place Austin Downtown Purchased by Carey Watermark Investors for $87 Million

4 Apr 2014, 6:02 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Hyatt Place Austin Downtown, the 296-room upscale select-service hotel located at 211 East 3rd Street was recently acquired by non-traded REIT Carey Watermark Investors. The hotel was ranked best in its category for the second year in a row by Business Travel News 2013 Hotel Chain Survey, and received the “Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Upscale Hotel Chains” recognition by J.D. Power in 2013.

“The acquisition of the Hyatt Place Austin Downtown represented an opportunity to invest in a newly built, high quality, select-service property in one of the strongest domestic hotel markets,” says Michael Medzigian, Chief Executive Officer of CWI. “As the first newly built Hyatt-branded hotel in downtown Austin in 30 years, we believe the property is well positioned to capture market share.  Given the attractive purchase price, central Austin location and exciting growth prospects of the Austin market, we believe that the investment will be a solid cash flow-generating addition to our portfolio.”

Hyatt Place Austin Downtown is located in the heart of the “Fastest Growing City in America” (Forbes Magazine 2013), close to the Austin Convention Center, the Sixth Street entertainment district, the State Capitol building, and the University of Texas campus. Companies such as Dell, Apple, AMD, Whole Foods, Silicon Labs, and over 50 restaurants are nearby, and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is only 15 minutes away.

The property was built in 2013 and is comprised of 17 stories with 1,800 square feet of high-tech meeting and function place. Amenities include an indoor pool, StayFit at Hyatt fitness center, free Wi-Fi, and free public computers with remote printing throughout the hotel.

The sale price was of $87 million and $3.9 million of acquisition-related costs and minor improvements; the transaction was financed with $56.5 million of debt. White Lodging Services Corporation will continue to operate the hotel under a long term management agreement.

HFF Closes Sale of Las Cimas IV in Austin

1 Apr 2014, 3:56 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Las Cimas IV, the newest of the Las Cimas Buildings, has changed owners. Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. (HFF) marketed the property on behalf of the seller, KBS Capital Advisors, and procured the buyer, Clarion Partners.

The five-story Class A office property was constructed in 2008 on a 9.65-acre site, totaling 138,000 square feet. It is located at 901 South Capital of Texas Highway, in the reputable area of West Lake Hills, about five miles west of downtown at Loop 360 and Bee Caves Road. Amenities include a two story lobby entry, 4/1,000 structured parking with covered walkway, and showers on site.

At the time of the sale, occupancy was at 93.5 percent; tenants include Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Intersil Corporation.

HFF is a leading provider of commercial real estate and capital markets services, operating out of 22 offices nationwide. With over 30 years of experience and more than 600 industry professionals, the firm averages more than three closings per business day with transactions ranging from $1 million to over $2 billion.

Formed in 2006, KBS Capital Advisors has made investments of more than $11 billion in commercial real estate and real estate related investments. With headquarters in Newport Beach, Calif., KBS operates out of eight regional offices, and since its creation, KBS has formed five non-traded REITs.

New York-based Clarion Partners has been on the real estate investment manager for 32 years. They have over $30 billion in total assets under management and over 200 institutional investors, both domestic and international, and employees in the United States, Brazil, and the UK.

Photo courtesy of Las Cimas IV

Phase III of The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch Has Started

24 Mar 2014, 5:36 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Only twenty minutes away from Downtown Austin, between the Round Rock Mayfield neighborhood, Cedar Park, and Georgetown, is a gated, master-planned community that features an urban lifestyle and modern home designs. The developers recently announced the launch of Phase III of the project.

After a successful Phase II, which is almost sold out, presales are now being accepted for the third one. Furthermore, special incentives are offered on homes in Phase III, as per David Blackburn, President of award-winning developer Blackburn Communities.

“The success of The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch is everything we could have imagined and more,” Blackburn says. “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. The incentives we’re offering for Phase III presales are our way of giving back and saying, ‘thank you’ for making The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch such a warm, wonderful place to live.”

The Preserve is a quiet, modern garden home community that offers seven floor plans to future residents, ranging in size from, 1297 square feet to 2,609 square feet, each with its own covered patio. Home features include granite countertops, ceramic tile, cathedral ceilings, and state-of-the-art GE appliances, customizable to individual style.

Adjacent to it there is an 800-acre regional park, including a 200-acre endangered species preserve; 11 soccer fields, tennis courts, walking and biking paths, wildflowers, and wildlife complete the recreational surroundings. Prices start in the low $200,000s.

Photo courtesy of The Preserve at Mayfield Ranch

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