Commercial Real Estate boom in Texas
Seems things are looking good in Austin, TX. There are several possible leads in this article so read to the bottom if you’re in the market.
AUSTIN, TX: With only the concrete slabs remaining where 30 mobile homes once sat, local developers Kurt Simons and Ronnie Brooks say they expect to break ground this week on 225 upscale apartments on Barton Springs Road that will replace the former Mobile Manor RV Park.
The project, to be named Coldwater, will rise in a five-story building immediately east of Chuy’s restaurant, with the first units ready for tenants in early 2014. The land, owned by the Kenneth Wallace family since the 1940s, also once housed the iconic Kiddieland park.
The complex will face the Butler Park ballfields and the Lady Bird Lake hike-and-bike trail. The loft-style units will have 10-foot exposed concrete ceilings and seven-foot windows, and a rooftop deck will offer views of the lake, downtown skyline and Zilker Park.
Once completed, Simons and Brooks also plan to develop a new restaurant between Chuy’s and Baby Acapulco on Barton Springs Road.
Rents for the units have not been announced. Simons and Brooks did not disclose a price for the project, but said construction and permanent financing were arranged by John Morran of Texas Realty Capital, and are being provided by AXA Equitable Life.
The project is one of several high-end apartment developments under construction or proposed that, if built, will add more than 1,000 rental units in the area. That’s part of larger multifamily building boom in the Austin area, where rents and occupancies have reached record highs because of job and population growth coupled with a relative scarcity of new supply coming online near-term.
There’s lots in the pipeline, though, both along South Lamar Boulevard and Barton Springs Road, and across the Austin region.
Just west of Chuy’s, Mill Creek Residential Trust plans to break ground this fall on 223 apartments, said Nikelle Meade, an Austin attorney representing the Dallas-based developer. Nearby, along South Lamar, several hundred more apartments are coming, and two projects are under construction, one with 298 units by Post Properties and one with 202 units by Ardent Residential.
Just south of Uchi on South Lamar, the Hanover Co. plans to break ground in October on 340 apartments, said David Ott, development partner with Houston-based Hanover. Ott said rents have not been set.
Greystar Real Estate Partners no longer has Lamar Plaza, with tenants including the Alamo Drafthouse and the Highball lounge and bowling alley, under contract for a dense mixed-use project it planned with more than 400 apartments. But the company still hopes to move forward with a project there, said Derek Brown, managing director for Greystar, a multifamily developer.
Some neighborhood activists in the area continue to express concerns about the cumulative effects of increased traffic — not only from the projects planned along South Lamar, but along other major city streets where the city wants to steer dense, vertical mixed-use development. They also are worried that taxpayers could ultimately foot the bill for road improvements they say will be needed.
“The (city) Planning Commission recognized this problem … and suggested that the infrastructure capacity, especially for roads, be assessed as part of the review process for future projects along transit corridors,” said Jeff Jack, an ex-officio member of the commission.
Earlier this year, George Zapalac, a city official who supervises the review of applications for new development, said that building more vertical mixed-use projects along targeted roads “will create a stronger demand for alternative transportation modes — particularly transit, walking and bicycling — that will help alleviate the effects of increased automobile usage over time.”
Meanwhile, at the former Mobile Manor, the empty RV spaces are testament to the changes along Barton Springs Road, where only one of three mobile-home parks, Pecan Grove, remains. Another one, the Shady Grove RV Park, was replaced by BartonPlace, an upscale condominium project that opened in 2010.
Contact Shonda Novak at 445-3856.