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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.



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



Titan Bank Announces the Acquisition of Its Third Self Storage Property through Funding Loan

24 Mar 2014, 4:57 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Titan Bank, NA announced the acquisition of a 342 unit Self Storage property in Austin through the funding of a $985,000 loan, marking its third Self Storage property. With this transaction they now own and manage approximately 1,000 self-storage units.

Titan is engaged in this asset class, continuously looking to develop referral relationships across the country within the category, as well as all “owner user” types of commercial real estate. It offers 7 to 10 business day credit decisions, provides loan proposals within 24 hours of receiving the requisite information, and an expedited closing process.

“Titan Bank provided the long term financing for the purchase of this facility by a seasoned owner operating of self-storage properties.  This acquisition added 342 units and 45,775 square feet of storage space to the borrowers business.  The borrowers secured a SBA 7A loan which is a fully amortizing, 25 year term loan, that gives them the flexibility of a lower payment compared with a standard conventional loan.  With this lower payment, the borrowers will have the ability to complete some additional improvements they have planned for the property in the near term,” says Pete O’Hern, senior vice president of Titan Bank.

Through this funding loan Titan extends its lead in the SBA, USDA, and small business lending sector. Recently, Titan Bank was awarded by the U.S. Government Small Business Administration the Rising Star Award, which recognizes it as one of the few remaining chartered banks with primary focus on loans to small companies.



HFF Represents JCI Residential in the Sale of Silverado Crossings Class A Multi-housing Community

7 Mar 2014, 1:11 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The newly constructed Silverado Crossing has been purchased by the Meagher Family Trust; JCI Residential was the seller, represented by HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P.). Terms of the transaction were undisclosed, but the acquisition of the complex ran its course free and clear of debt, projecting full stabilization.

The development is located in Austin’s suburb Buda on Interstate 35, at 1480 Cabelas Drive. Construction of the 300-unit multi-housing community was completed in 2013. Silverado Crossing offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom units that range in size between 625 square feet and 1,291 square feet. Unit amenities include granite kitchens and baths, oval garden bathtubs, 9-foot ceilings, island kitchen with pantry, yards for pets, full-size washer and dryer connections, and exterior storage. Community amenities feature a resort-style swimming pool, dog watering stations, concierge services in clubhouse, fitness center, movie theater, and sand volleyball court.

Silverado Crossing has found an uncommon way to differentiate itself from other residential communities. They’ve created an extensive resident event calendar, featuring weekly events such as “Weird Wine Wednesdays”, yoga classes, and movie nights. On a monthly basis community cooking classes and complimentary breakfast & coffee are organized too. Moreover, Silverado Crossing residents receive the exclusive “Live in Buda” club card, a discount program for Buda area businesses which provides special rates on shopping, restaurants, and services.

“Silverado Crossing is one of the hottest properties in this burgeoning submarket; when HFF began marketing it was at 60 percent occupancy and by the time the property was under contract occupancy had already increased to 73 percent,” said Sean Sorrell, senior managing director who led the sales team representing JCI Residential. “Given the record levels of leasing, the property traded as if fully stabilized with no discounts given for leasing/occupancy levels.”

Photo courtesy of Silverado Crossing Facebook Page



New West Cypress Hills Elementary School Will Open This Year Courtesy of MileStone Community Builders

5 Mar 2014, 6:24 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Only 30 minutes from Austin’s downtown lie some of the most stunning views of beautiful hill country land, hundreds of acres accessible to greenbelts, trails, and parks surrounding the West Cypress Hills Lake Travis Community. The builder, MileStone Community Builders LLC, recently announced that the new West Cypress Hills Elementary School will open in 2014.

They chose an interesting marketing strategy, committing to pay $500 for each new home sold in West Cypress Hills. Interested home buyers can receive all needed information by attending one of the informative sessions scheduled by the developer on the West Cypress Hills Elementary School opening. The sessions require registration as space is limited.

“We are delighted to help bring a new school to the award winning Lake Travis ISD and unveil the West Cypress Hills Elementary School,” says Garrett Martin, President and CEO, MileStone Community Builders. “This new community really delivers the pinnacle of luxury hill country living and offers the perfect location for growing families with its expansive views, large greenbelt homesites, exceptional amenities and top rated school district.”

The builder offers a selection of 12 semi-customizable floor plans of 1 and 2 story homes, ranging in size from 1997 square feet to 3590 square feet starting at $289’s and $382’s respectively. State-of-the art designs including elegant master suits, gourmet kitchens, covered patios and media/game rooms are part of the package. The overall living experience is a luxurious one, close to shopping areas, schools, entertainment, dining, parks, and easy access to Lake Travis.

Photo courtesy of West Cypress Hills Elementary.



Round Rock’s Cypress Semiconductor Campus Acquired by World Class Capital Group

26 Feb 2014, 4:12 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The long abandoned Cypress Semiconductor campus in Round Rock has found its new owner. Austin-based World Class Capital Group LLC announced the acquisition from Cypress Semiconductor Corporation who closed the facility in 2009.

The cost of the transaction has not been disclosed. The property is located behind the IKEA retail development at the intersection of Interstate Highway 35 North and University Drive, extending to Cypress Boulevard. It spans over 118 acres and according to a news release, it will undergo serious renovations and redevelopment processes.

The new owner plans to renovate the massive 98,700-square-foot manufacturing facility and repurpose it mainly into an office and flex/industrial complex.  According to Nate Paul, World Class’ President and CEO, the campus redevelopment will include various uses such as office, retail, flex, and residential.

“We are excited to work with the city of Round Rock to plan and create a new mixed-use project that will enhance the community” Paul says. “The strong central Texas economy is a national leader in positive job growth, which creates significant demand for commercial space and housing. We look forward to meeting this demand by delivering a high-quality, mixed-use, master planned development.”

World Class Capital Group is a privately owned real estate firm that focuses on real estate investment, development, and management nationwide. It owns over 5 million square feet in 12 states and 23 markets in its national portfolio.



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.







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