News

Developers of Jenga-style Condo The Independent Purchase City Land in Austin

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, December 10, 2015

 

The Jenga-style high rise known as The Independent, which would bring an unconventional punctuation to the Austin skyline, appears to be set for construction with the announcement Tuesday that the developer has closed on the 1.7-acre parcel of land that had been owned by the city.

Based on the existing government agreement, development partners
Constructive Ventures, Aspen Heights and CIM Group paid $14.5 million to the city for the site of the former Austin Energy Center at West Third Street and West Avenue — near the
Seaholm and Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopments.

The Independent will be a 58-story, 370-unit residential condominium building, making it the tallest structure in Austin. The value of the project when completed is estimated at about $300 million. Click here for more information.

 

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Florida Developer Accesso Partners Back for More; Buys Austin Parmer Development

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, November 30, 2015

 

Florida-based real estate investor Accesso Partners LLC wasn’t done spreading its wings in Austin when it purchased the sizable Riata Corporate Park this summer for more than $100 million.

On Monday the company showed it’s even more focused on Austin by purchasing 7700 Parmer Lane. The price tag on that acquisition is likely closer to $200 million, based on tax valuations.

The 7700 Parmer Lane office park is even larger than Riata Corporate Park, which was a big deal for Austin. The 7700 Parmer multitenant development in the far northwest submarket is about 913,000 square feet — a massive property by Austin standards. It houses several high-profile tenants, including Google, Oracle, eBay/PayPal, Polycom
and Dun & Bradstreet.  For more details, click here.

 

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Austin Community College Secures Huge Southeast Austin Site

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, November 30, 2015

 

Officials for Austin Community College confirmed that ACC has purchased a 124.1-acre site just east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to build a career-technical center.

The center will likely expand educational offerings in such programs as automotive technology, building construction technology, HVAC, welding and jewelry production. ACC paid $10.5 million for the raw land, which is located on FM 973 about a half mile south of State Highway 71.  Read more here.

 

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New Office Tower Set for Barton Springs Site

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, November 17, 2015

 

After years of speculation about what will be built at 801 Barton Springs Road near the Palmer Events Center, a developer has emerged with a plan to build a mid-rise office tower with floor-to-ceiling glass views and a bold contemporary design. Generational Commercial Properties is developing the site with financial support from HTZ
Investments of Houston.

The 90,500-square-foot office building will have between four and five stories that face the Palmer Events Center to the north, but still have views of Lady Bird Lake and Downtown Austin. The building also will have about four and a half levels of parking and an 1,800-square-foot restaurant.  Read more details here.

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Austin Business Journal by Christopher Calnan, November 19, 2015

 

Thirteen Austin companies are on this year’s list of the fastest growing technology businesses in North America released by accounting firm Deloitte.

This year’s Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list is based on revenue growth from 2011-2014 and is dominated by software companies that account for 57 percent, or 283 of those cited. Sixty-seven percent of the software companies have received venture capital, according to the report.

Phunware Inc. was the highest-ranked Austin-area company on Deloitte’s list with 952 percent revenue growth, while Q1 Media Inc., with growth of 797 percent, had the second-highest rank among Austin-area businesses. Many of the Austin-area companies on the Deloitte list are also on this year’s ABJ Fast 50 rankings. Click here to see remainder of list.

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This Stretch of I-35 is the Most Congested Road in Texas

Austin Business Journal, November 5, 2015

 

Austinities and truckers who regularly travel I-35 through downtown Austin have the dubious honor of navigating the worst road in Texas, in terms of traffic. I-35 between State Highway 71 (Ben White Boulevard south of downtown) and U.S. Highway 290 (north of
downtown near the old Highland Mall) is identified as the No. 1 traffic offender on a state list of 100 clogged roads.

State statistics indicate that when it’s rush hour on that stretch of I-35, traffic slows down by about 250 percent when compared to non-peak hours. Read more here.

 

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Office Market Hits All-Time Highs in Austin

GlobeSt.com by Anna Caplan, October 22, 2015

Rental rates in the city’s office market have hit another all-time high.  Those rates, which bottomed out in late 2011, rose throughout 2013, and have been skyrocketing in 2015.

According to Cushman & Wakefield/Oxford Commercial’s (CWOC) third-quarter report, the overall current office rental rate shot up to $33.02 per square foot – which translates to a 13.2 percent increase over this time last year, when the rate was $29.17. That figure is also the highest rate CWOC has ever recorded since it started tracking the stats in the early 1990s.

Class A space in the CBD witnessed the highest rental rates, which grew to $48.07 per square foot, up 11.5 percent from the same time last year.  That’s coupled with tight vacancy rate of 9 percent amid 3.1 million square feet of new office space either currently under construction or recently delivered.  Read more here.

 

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Mayor Steve Adler_ I-35 Corridor to Become One ‘Megaregion’

Austin Business Journal by Sergio Chapa, September 11, 2015

 

With economic growth along the I-35 corridor showing no signs of slowing down, Austin Mayor Steve Adler believes it will become a “megaregion” with an interlocking economy, a shared ecosystem and intergrated transportation.

The Texas economy is growing at a faster pace than the national average, but Adler noted that Austin has been listed as the fastest-growing U.S. metro area over the past four years.  Meanwhile, San Antonio is expected to add 1.1 million more people by 2040.

As the nation’s metropolitan areas expand over the next several decades, Adler told 600 people attending the Austin-San Antonio Growth Summit on Sept. 4 that boundaries and borders will begin to blur.  “This corridor is going to grow into one large metro area, not just as an Austin to San Antonio corridor but as a region from Waco to South Texas,” Adler predicted. Adler said Austin, San Antonio and surrounding cities must work together to capitalize on that growth.  Read full article here.

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Austin No. 2 Market in the Nation for Overall Real Estate Prospects — No. 1 for Development

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, October 7, 2015

 

Austin ranked second in the nation for overall real estate prospects. That is the consensus of Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016, the annual report published by the Urban Land
Institute and PwC LLP.

Released during ULI’s national fall meetings, the report is considered a credible barometer for real estate development and investment across all product types.

“One of the inaugural 18-hour cities, the Texas state capital has become a perennial favorite among survey respondents,” the report states. “The 2016 outlook for all property types in Austin is well above average, but survey respondents were particularly favorable toward singlefamily and retail.”

Austin is ranked No. 1 for development across all 75 markets surveyed. It ranks No. 2 for
homebuilding and No. 4 for investment.  Read more here.

 

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Dell to Buy EMC in $67B Deal

Austin Business Journal by Christopher Calnan, October 12, 2015

 

Dell Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire Massachusetts technology giant EMC Corp. in a deal worth about $67 billion — perhaps one of the biggest tech deals ever.

Round Rock-based Dell disclosed Monday that it would team with investment firm Silver Lake Partners LP and pay EMC stockholders about $33.15 per share. The proposed deal isn’t scheduled to be completed until mid-2016, according to a Dell announcement.  Click here for more details.

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Austin Developer Chris Milam Acquires Massive Freescale Campus for Data Center

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, October 6, 2015

 

Austin-based developer Chris Milam has purchased the massive — and largely vacant — former Freescale Semiconductor Inc. campus in East Austin for an undisclosed price.
The sale of the 109-acre, 935,255-square-foot campus at 3443 Ed Bluestein Blvd. closed Sept. 30.

Milam’s company International Development Management, or IDM, will convert the aging industrial campus into a data center and value office space, starting with a $100 million investment in the first phase of development.  Click here to read more about the project and view the images slideshow.

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California Company Goveia Commercial Plans Huge Development Near Austin NLand Surf Park

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, September 21, 2015

A Southern California-based developer is taking cues from other out-of-state companies and jumping at the chance to develop in the Texas Highway 130 corridor — in this case near the intersection of Texas Highway 71, east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Dubbed “The Riverbend,” the site is near where Colorado entrepreneur Doug Coors is building the highly anticipated NLand Surf Park. Plus, it’s a short drive to the Circuit of The Americas race track.

Even with those world-class venues nearby, that area of Austin that has been shunned for years by local developers, who have preferred areas west of I-35.  The dynamic is rapidly changing, however, with population growth vastly outpacing other areas of the country.   Read full article here.

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Developer Plans Mixed-Use Project on Lamar Boulevard

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, September 23, 2015

 

A developer plans a small mixed-use office/residential complex on a small plot of land on Lamar Boulevard.  Travis County commissioners have approved the sale of a government gas station at 1000 N. Lamar Blvd. on which the project will be built, reports the Austin American Statesman.

According to the report, the property sold for $1.36 million.  The buyer is Journeyman Holding Co., which has plans to build a small mixed-use office and residential complex on
the site with as many as four condominium units. The property is appraised at $1.04 million.  Click here for more details.

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Austin’s Home Market ‘Healthiest’ in U.S

Real Estate, Inc., August 27, 2015

 

Austin’s housing market is the healthiest among large cities, according to a study from WalletHub.

Austin was ranked No. 1 out of 62 U.S. cities with more than 300,000 residents, the report found.

For the overall study, analysts compared 300 cities nationwide in several size categories across 14 metrics, including foreclosure rate, median home price, vacancy rates, population growth and unemployment rates to determine their “health.”  Austin’s home market is undoubtedly strong. It was recently announced that Austin home sales have hit an all-time high. Click here to see more rankings.

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A first_ Austin Beats San Antonio’s Hotel Business

San Antonio Business Journal by W. Scott Bailey, August 27, 2015

 

According to industry tracker Source StrategiesInc., the Austin area passed up the Alamo City, generating more hotel revenue than a market so heavily dependent on the tourism sector.

Austin hotels generated more than $315 million in the second quarter of 2015 — an 18.1 percent improvement over the same three-month period the previous year, according to Source Strategies’ latest Hotel Brand Report.  Austin is outperforming San Antonio in another critical area — REVPAR, or revenue per available room. Austin’s hotel industry eclipsed $105 in REVPAR in the second quarter.  Click here to read more details.

 

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Homebuilders Perk Up on News of Amazon’s Plans in San Marcos

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, August 24, 2015

Word that Amazon.com Inc. is building a fulfillment center in San Marcos is good news to Clark Wilson, the founder of Clark Wilson Builders, who recently revealed that his company has purchased a 673-acre tract near Kyle in Hays County.

Wilson could build as many as 2,200 homes on a picturesque stretch of land near FM 150 about a mile west of Kyle — an area blossoming with vineyards, spas and upscale homes. It’s also gaining traction for jobs as the Austin-San Antonio corridor matures. Read full article here.

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UT Austin and Rice University Named Among Healthiest Universities

Houston Business Journal by Laura Furr, August 27, 2015

Two Texas schools, based in Austin and Houston, have been named among the top 25 healthiest schools in the country.

Greatist.com, which compiled the list, sent questionnaires to schools across the U.S. asking about their dining services, fitness facilities and student health care programs. After rating each college, it created a list of top 25 healthiest schools.

The University of Texas at Austin earned a middle-of-the-pack ranking and Houston’s Rice University topped the Greatest.com list this year.   Click here to read full article.

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Switch Partners_ Big Apartment Deal in Austin by CWS Includes Broken Spoke Dance Hall

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, August 25, 2015

 

The 704 luxury apartment community, built around the iconic Broken Spoke dance hall on South Lamar Boulevard, has been sold to an undisclosed buyer for an untold price. The deal makes no mention of the music venue — even though public records indicate that partnership also owned the dance hall’s land.

Sources inside the real estate community and a resident who received a written notice said CWS Capital Partners is the buyer. CWS has a major presence in Austin, but is based in California and has focused on the luxury apartment market in select cities since 1969.  Read more details here.

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Amazon to Hire 1,000 in New San Marcos Facility

Austin Business Journal by Chad Swiatecki, August 20, 2015

 

Amazon.com Inc. — the largest retailer in the world — has agreed to open a fulfillment center in San Marcos, Texas, with plans to hire up to 1,000 people when it reaches full capacity.

The 855,000-square-foot facility, which will be the online retail giant’s fifth in Texas and about as big as a mall, will begin construction at the end of 2015 and is expected to open in 2017. It will hire 350 people upon opening.  The facility will be on McCarty Lane and will be the location where employees pick, pack and ship small items such as books, electronics and toys.  Read full article here.

 

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ABoR_ Summer Home Sales on Record Pace

Community Impact by Joe Lalane, August 20, 2015

 

Austin-area home sales are on a record-setting pace this summer, according to data released Aug. 20 by the Austin Board of Realtors.

July single-family home sales increased 12 percent compared with the same time last year, with 3,149 Austin-area homes taken off the market. This summer is on pace to become the most active in Austin’s history, ABoR President Barb Cooper said in a statement.

“Home prices remain high, but inventory levels have increased steadily throughout 2015, perhaps taking a step toward a more balanced housing market,” she said. Median home prices reached $269,500, an 8 percent increase from July 2014, according to ABoR.  Click here to read more statistics.

 

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Rents Up Dramatically in Austin for Everything

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, August 12, 2015

 

If you’re trying to rent any type of property in Austin these days, the amount you’ll pay is going up dramatically. This point was driven home by a pair of reports distributed Wednesday to attendees at the Real Estate Council of Austin’s mid-year forecast event, which took place this month at the downtown JW Marriott Austin hotel.

  • Residential rents in the Austin area have increased sharply in the first six months of the year, up 5.5 percent to $1.33 per square foot in June. Meanwhile, occupancy
    rates have held steady at about 94 percent since the start of the year
  • During the first six months of the year, occupancy levels in the Austin retail real estate market increased from 92.7% to 94%. As occupancy levels rose, rental rates for vacant space in the city increased by $1.16 per square foot to $21.01 in June.
  • In June, the average office rental rate climbed up to $32.83 per square foot, $3.62 per square foot more than at the same time in 2014.

Read more about the Austin markets here.

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Another Master Planned Community in the Works South of Austin
Austin Business Journal, August 11, 2015

 

Another huge master-planned development is in the works south of Austin that could include as many as 2,200 homes after Clark Wilson Builder Inc. purchased Nance Ranch, a 673-acre tract near Kyle. The property has frontage on Farm to Market 150 about one mile west of Ranch Road 2770.

Clark Wilson is in the early phases of designing the new master-planned residential community, dubbed Anthem, targeting the emerging move-up market. A mix of single-family lot sizes will be available. Engineering and design work has begun with new homes slated to be ready in 2016.  For more details, click here.

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Austin Has One of the Hottest ZIP Codes in U.S
Austin Business Journal, August 13, 2015

North Austin ZIP code78729 ranks No. 8 on a list of hottest ZIP codes by Realtor.com.
Here’s what the website had to say about it:

One of 78 ZIP codes in Austin, 78729 is on the city’s north side. It includes the residentialJollyville neighborhood, which offers prime access to many of the city’s major tech companies, including Apple, IBM, and Dell. Jollyville also feeds into one of the
best school districts in the area, Round Rock ISD, and offers affordably priced homes that are perfect for first-time buyers.

We’ll also add that Samsung, Flextronics, HP and Charles Schwab are also big contributors to home-selling action in that part of town. Read more here.

 

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Local Investors Plunk Down Big Bucks for Historic Scarbrough, Littlefield Buildings

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, July 10, 2015

 

An Austin investment partnership has paid $84 million for the historic Scarbrough and Littlefield Buildings in downtown Austin.

David Kahn, an Austin-based investor and his associates, purchased the properties in April, public records show. The properties were acquired from Divco West, a San Francisco company that owns several large office buildings in the city.

Additionally, Invesco, a financial management company based in Atlanta, is buying 501 Congress Ave. and 515 Congress Ave. from Stream Realty and its affiliates.  Read more here.

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Austin Music Hall to be Demolished, Replaced with Office Tower

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, July 7, 2015

 

The Austin Music Hall is to be demolished to make way for a 28-story office building.  Officials with Cielo Property Group, an Austin real estate company, confirmed in an exclusive interview with the Austin Business Journal that it is teaming up with Tier REIT of Dallas to build another downtown office tower.

Demolition of the 43,000-square-foot entertainment venue at 208 Nueces St. will begin in January. Construction of the 349,000-square-foot building is scheduled to start in early 2016 and deliver at the end of 2017.

The demolition of the Austin Music Hall may come as a surprise to some. When Cielo purchased the struggling Property Spotlight: Chevron Truck Stop See Al l Bizspace Properties entertainment venue last year, Cielo principals Cielo Principals Bobby Dillard and Rob Gandy said they hoped to continue to operate it. A few events were booked
but not many.  Read full article here.

 

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Google Expanding Fiber Service into East Austin

Austin Business Journal, July 7, 2015

 

The Google Fiber ultra-high-speed Internet service will expand into Southeast Austin, the
company said Monday.  According to Google, the service is being expanded to the Onion Creek, Dove Springs, East Oltorf, East Riverside and Montopolis neighborhoods over the next several months.

Onion Creek sign-ups are open through July 16, while the other neighborhoods have sign-up periods extending into this winter.  Check out Google’s website for Austin Fiber service for a complete list of the details.

Fiber service is being currently rolled out into neighborhoods in central South Austin, with the first subscribers going online in late 2014.

 

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Austin Takes No 1 On Startup Index

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, June 4, 2015

 

Unseating Silicon Valley, Austin has moved up to be the No. 1 U.S. city for startups in the latest annual Kauffman Index report.

The Kauffman Index, from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, measures entrepreneurship at the national, state and metropolitan levels across a three metrics: the rate of new entrepreneurs, the number of entrepreneurs who started their companies when unemployed, and the number of startups per capita.

According to the data, roughly 555 out of every 100,000 adults in the Austin region became entrepreneurs in a given month during the past five years, on average. Further, nearly eight out of 10 new entrepreneurs in the Austin area were employed at the time they created their startups, on average. Lastly, Austin claims about 180 startup businesses – defined as businesses less than a year old that employ at least one person besides the owner – per 100,000 residents.  Click here for full article.

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Brandywine to Bring Downtown Austin More Offices, Shops and Parking

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, June 3, 2015

 

Brandywine Realty Trust, a big East Coast real estate company, continues to nab market share in Austin and has a downtown development on the drawing board.

An office, parking and retail structure is in play at 405 Colorado St., just south of the Frank hot dog restaurant.  The company has issued a request for proposals to engineering companies, according to sources. The site is one of few remaining surface parking lots downtown.

Specific details – including height and design – of the project have not been determined, but the Pennsylvania based company purchased the property April 9, according to spokesman Brian Dolezal.  Read more here.

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Big Retail and Mixed-Use Project in Store for Far Southwest Austin

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, May 15, 2015

A huge mixed-use development is planned on U.S. Highway 290 in far Southwest Austin adjacent to the Belterra master-planned community.

The proposed 275,000-square-foot retail, office and residential project will be a collaboration of Crescent Communities and Endeavor Real Estate Group.  “We’ve designed these 90 acres to be a destination where Belterra residents as well as Dripping Springs and surrounding area residents can get the most out of a dynamic and multifaceted lifestyle, while still having a place outdoors to relax or run errands,” said Tommy Tucker, residential vice president for Crescent Communities in Central Texas.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Crescent Communities developed Belterra was named Austin’s best master-planned community by the Austin Business Journal in its 2015 Residential Real Estate Awards. Crescent also is building a master planned community in Leander.

The proposed development is near Nutty Brown Road and Belterra Drive not far from Dripping Springs. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016.  Read more here.

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Austin Among Best Places to Work

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, May 7, 2015

 

On the strength of its economic environment, Austin is the fourth-best U.S. city to be employed by a small business, according to a new study from personal finance website WalletHub.

The study examined the 100 most-populated U.S. cities across two factors: small business environment and economic environment. Using 11 metrics, such as the number of small businesses, small business job growth, median income and unemployment rates, the website crunched the numbers to rank the cities. Austin had the second-highest median annual income of any city on the list when adjusted for cost of living. It also had the third-highest earnings for employees of small businesses when adjusted for cost of living, and came in fourth place when unemployment and population growth projections were tabulated.

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UT Grad Programs Among Best in U.S

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, March 10, 2015

U.S. News and World Report has ranked a number of University of Texas graduate schools and programs among the nation’s best.

In all, UT’s graduate schools for engineering, education and nursing were ranked among the top 15 in the nation, and its accounting program snagged the top spot in its category, according to the U.S. News report.

The school’s Cockrell School of Engineering ranked No. 10 nationally, with eight of its specially programs ranking in the top 15 for their respective categories. UT’s law school was ranked No. 15 nationally, while UT’s College of Education was ranked No. 10 in the nation with five programs ranking within the top 15 in their respective categories. Read more here.

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Austin Home Prices Up 13 Percent From a Year Ago

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, February 20, 2015

 

While some national real estate observers have noted a softening within the housing market, the latest data from the Austin Board of Realtors shows no indication of that trend. In fact, home prices in January increased by double-digit percentages for the fourth-consecutive month.

More than half of the homes sold in Austin are too expensive for a significant portion of the workforce, ABOR President Barb Cooper said.  The median price of a home stands at $240,000, up 13 percent from January 2014. The average price is $310,187, an annual gain of 14 percent.

Cooper said her greatest concern is that builders are constructing homes in the higher-value range, beyond the reach of first-time homebuyers.  “Austin needs a regulatory environment that will ensure development of all housing types priced in an affordable range for all Austin residents,” Cooper said in a statement.  Click here for more information.

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Depression in Startup Land_ A Special Report
By Pam Huff, Emily Parkhurst and Annie Zak, March 22, 2015

Entrepreneurs are expected to be obsessed with building their companies. But that obsession can be isolating and for some startup founders, lead to depression and thoughts of suicide — even when things are going well.

When things go wrong — and it’s worth remembering that 90 percent of tech startups fail— that can put founders who were teetering at a precipice over the edge. And sometimes, sadly, they go over.

Since the latest surge in entrepreneurship began in the aftermath of the Great Recession, a handful of stories about company founders killing themselves have commanded attention. Among them: Reddit co-founder and internet privacy advocate Aaron Swartz, Disapora co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy, and a trio of unrelated suicides of entrepreneurs with ties to the Downtown Las Vegas project.

Each story, of course, is different, though in all of them, factors like depression, stress and failure are believed to play a big role. And geography plays a contributing factor. Read more here.

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Report Dives Into the Good, Bad and Ugly of Austin’s Commercial Real Estate Scene

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, March 12, 2015

This may be a blanket statement of unsubstantiated merit, but I think most real estate aficionados are data junkies at heart. Not that I’m happy looking at spreadsheets all day, but a mix of data and storytelling narrative goes a long way to entertain me.

That’s why I took some time looking over the 2015 Integra Realty Resources Real Estate Values Trends report. It’s chock full of data about a wide range of commercial real estate sectors, including office, industrial, multifamily, retail, lodging and self storage.

The New York-based company breaks down the data about cap rates, vacancies, average lease rates, development potential and investment trends in 60 U.S. markets. It’s pretty rich stuff, even though it covers a lot of territory in 34 pages.

Here’s a few juicy tidbits from the report:

  • Austin is at the cusp of oversupply in the office sector.
  • Retail supply is acutely needed in some Austin.
  • The industrial market in Austin is surprisingly strong, given that Austin is not a major distribution hub or manufacturing market.
  • Despite the fact that thousands of units of apartments recently have been completed and thousands more are under construction, Integra believes there is still plenty of room for additional inventory.
  • Integra reports that the lodging market is poised for some significant shifts.

 

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Ted Jones, Stewart Title Economist_ Buy Into Retail Real Estate Now, Sell Those Hotels

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, February 23, 2015

 

Looking for the right commercial real estate investment? The word is “retail.”  Ted Jones, chief economist for Stewart Title Guaranty Co., says the coming retail boom will blow the socks off any other real estate sector.

Retail real estate returned investors 12.4 percent in 2014. Yes, that’s across the U.S., but Austin stands to match or exceed forecasts in the retail sector.  One of the major reasons for that is a significant increase in the money supply.

Households have paid down debt since the recession and there is pent up demand for consumer goods, Jones said in his remarks Monday to CoreNet Global Central Texas at the Four Seasons HotelIronically, the retail sector is very tight in Austin and little development is taking place. This appears to be a great window of opportunity for commercial developers, he said.  Read more here.

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Austin Among Best Cities for Hispanics

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, February 2, 2015

 

Austin is the ninth-best city in America when it comes to Hispanics and the economy, according to Forbes.

This latest Forbes list ranks cities where Hispanics have the most economic opportunity. The magazine did this by analyzing the nation’s biggest metro areas for home ownership, entrepreneurship and median household income alongside the change in Hispanic population between 2000 and 2013.

Austin earned its rank with a median household income of $43,712, a 44 percent homeownership rate, and a 20.9 percent self-employment rate and an 83.4 percent increase in the size of the Hispanic population.  Austin is not the only Texas city on the list. San Antonio ranks No. 8, Dallas ranks No. 7 and Houston ranks No. 4.

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ACC Highland Mall Redevelopment to Bring Apartments, Wet Lab Space
Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, January 22, 2015

Austin Community College and its development partner are set to add wet lab space — and apartments — as part of the Highland Mall redevelopment. All systems are go, although the deal to bring Rackspace to the former Dillard’s department store property is still being finalized.

ACC President and CEO Richard Rhodes provided an update Thursday on the massive project about four miles north of downtown, including the first tidbit that the next phase of the project will include much needed commercial space that caters to biotech companies. It’s also likely to include a biotech incubator element, though exact details will be released in the next few weeks.  Read more here.

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International Design Icon Tapped for the Next Big Austin Hotel

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, February 2, 2015

 

Kelly Wearstler, one of the most highly lauded interior designers in the world, will handle the interiors of the new Austin Proper Hotel — a distinct new hospitality brand that will be part of the redevelopment of the Green Water Treatment Plant downtown.

Adam Nims, principal of Trammell Crow in Austin, confirmed that California development and real estate company The Kor Group will build the 35-story hotel — which will include private residences — in an exclusive interview with the Austin Business Journal. Nims was joined by Brian De Lowe, principal of The Kor Group, and Matthew Green, Austin managing partner and vice president of acquisitions and development for The Kor Group.
Green had played a pivotal role in the development of the W Austin Hotel & Residences when he was vice president of development and finance at Stratus Properties (Nasdaq: STRS), which built Block 21.

The development team said the demand for hotel rooms that serve the Austin Convention Center is strong and projected to grow stronger.  Click here to read more details.

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Patrinely Group Builds Aspen Lake Office Building in North Austin

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, January 20, 2015

 

Another Class A office building is under construction — this time in far northwest Austin near Lakeline Mall.  Aspen Lake Two includes 129,000 square feet of office space with 54 percent of the building already leased to Q2 Holdings Inc., an Austin-based financial services company that has been growing rapidly in recent years.

 

Patrinely Group headquartered in Houston is the developer. Crimson Real Estate Fund is partnering with San Antonio-based USAA Real Estate Co. as the owners of the project.
“This is Patrinely’s first ground up project in Austin, although they have a deep national resume,” said Ben Tolson, the exclusive listing broker for the property in partnership with Bart Matheney.  Click here for more details.

 

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Hold Onto Your Wallet_ Rental Rates are Expected to Climb Another 4.5 Percent

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, January 15, 2015

 

Just when the local Real Estate Council of Austin has demanded changes to the city’s development to enable more affordable housing, a new report indicates rents in the metro area will jump another 4.5 percent in 2015 to an average of $1,185 per month.

 

Berkadia, a brokerage and financing firm that specializes in the multifamily market, expects the rise in rent even though 10,400 new apartments are projected to deliver this year. Renters quickly absorbed 9,150 of the 9,340 new apartments that were delivered in 2014. The overall vacancy rate stands at 4.5 percent, the lowest since 2006.  The vacancy rate is the lowest in eastern Travis County — 3.4 percent.  Read full article here.

 

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Eastbourne Land Near Austin Airport Sold for Development

Austin Business Journal, January 12, 2015

 

About 390 developable acres in Southeast Austin near the airport has been bought by investors. The site, known as Eastbourne Crossing and once considered as a place for a new campus of state offices, was bought by SH 71-130 Holdings LP, according to an announcement. The seller was Eastbourne Crossing LP.

The land at the corner of State Highways 71 and 130 is ripe for commercial buildings — perhaps industrial, manufacturing and hotel uses. The sellers were represented by Joyce Jane Weedman, Josh Hubka and Kurt VanderMeulen of REOC Austin. The buyer was represented by Karl Koebel and Doug Launius of Marketplace Real Estate Group. Click here for remainder of article.

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The Most Important Business Books Ever Written

Austin Business Journal by Ed Stych, National Special Sections Editor, January 12, 2015

What business book has had the greatest impact on your career? As a business owner for 17 years, the most valuable book for me has been ” The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,” by Michael Gerber. It taught me that I needed to set up systems so the company could run without me, and so it could run consistently every day whether I was there or not. That was a great lesson that allowed me to coach my kids’ sports teams, volunteer at church during the week, and take my family on our fair share of vacations — all without having to worry (too much) about what
was happening in the business.

I’m always curious what books people are reading, so last month I asked our contributing writers to answer this question: “What’s the most important business book you’ve ever read?”  Below are half of the answers that I received (the other half will be published tomorrow, all in alphabetical order based on the title of the books).  Read list here.

Beyond Entrepreneurship: Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company, by Jim Collins
It’s like “Built to Last” (another Collins book), but this one is for early-stage businesses. The most powerful part of the book is Chapter 2 on setting the vision for your company. ( Clate Mask, CEO and Co-Founder of Infusionsoft)

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Raise Your People IQ With These 7 Smart Tips

Austin Business Journal by Teresa Novellino, January 12, 2015

 

We’ve been posting advice from Young Entrepreneur Council members on a range of topics, but perhaps the most applicable advice to all types of of entrepreneurs involves how they deal with other human beings — from their co-founders to their clients to their staffs.

Here’s Brett Farmiloe of Markitors:
When we want to do a creative brainstorm, one of the prerequisites is to act like the customer who will be using the product. Are we marketing a car seat? We morph into super soccer moms and go through a day with the car seat, stopping at Starbucks, school
and back home. Our best creative breakthroughs always come when we walk in our customers’ shoes.

Read the full article here for some snippets of advice from our YEC contributors on how to deal with a host of different people, and click through on the links for more.

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Why Networking is Replacing Cold Calling (and why it’s more than the numbers)

Austin Business Journal By Ken Cook

I opened two different yet similar emails this morning. The first dealt with a “Speed Networking” site promoting its services. The second email was promoting a “Networking Seminar” that uses a formulaic approach to networking similar to the typical funnel approach to sales.

What struck me about these emails was the focus on numbers. Has networking become the replacement for the old sales mantra of having to make cold calls?  When I started selling more than 30 years ago, my leaders drilled into me that sales is a numbers game. If you make 100 calls, 10 will give you an appointment. The 10 appointments will lead to five proposals, which result in two to three deals. Figure out your sales goal and the average value of a sale, and then work the numbers backwards to figure out how many sales calls you need to make.

Fast-forward to today, where mass marketing has flooded the world with messages. The flood of messages means that our cold calls and direct mail letters are heard even less than they were in the past. In this overcrowded environment, sales people might need to make 200 calls to get the same results as 100 calls decades ago.

The new prescription is networking. The idea is that if we connect with people we can elevate ourselves above the mass messages. By networking, we can hopefully separate ourselves from the anonymity of mass marketing.  You attend an event with the hope of connecting with someone new. That new connection hopefully leads to either introductions or opportunities. To increase your success rate, systemize your networking by being sure you connect with 50 people per month, or around 12 per week, or at least two to three per day.

My issue with this new numbers game is that it feels like the old numbers game, only under a different name.  Click here to read the remainder of the article.

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7 Smart Strategies the Best Salespeople Use

Austin Business Journal By Terry Brock

The best marketers and salespeople are willing to pay the price to get ahead. In my seminars, I talk about how to achieve success with relationship marketing. Here are some traits that I’ve found top professionals practice regardless of their industry.

These seven advanced-level strategies will give you a decisive advantage in achieving your goals. (Click here to see remaining strategies.)

1. Study the market

This is critical for relationship farming. Know what is working today, where pain exists, and how you can best implement solutions. Don’t assume.

2. Study people

Learn specifics about important people. You have to do your homework (think LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook). Know the likes and dislikes of key people.

3. Stay away from stupid

Don’t do what doesn’t work! Always be aware of potential dangers, and be ready to take advantage of serendipitous opportunities.

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Austin Landlords File Suit to Block Source of Income Requirements

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, December 15, 2014

 

The Austin Apartment Association has filed suit in an attempt to block recent changes to Austin’s rental regulations that require most landlords in the city to accept tenants receiving public housing assistance.

By amending the city’s “source of income” ordinance, the city of Austin now requires that landlords who own more than four rental units treat public housing assistance vouchers to treat those vouchers as the equivalent of cash.  Read full article here.

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Orangetheory Fitness to Open Three Austin-area Locations 

Austin Business Journal, December 12, 2014

Orangetheory Fitness, a Florida-based chain of workout studios, has inked a franchise agreement for its first three locations in the Austin area. The first location will debut on Jan. 1 in Four Points northwest of Austin near Lake Travis, at 7301 N. FM 620. The other locations are expected to open later in 2015.

The franchise is owned and operated by husband and wife Ron Levy and Stephanie Wang-Levy. The fitness enthusiasts said in a statement that they were drawn to Orangetheory Fitness by its high-intensity interval training, heart-rate monitoring and class
camaraderie; it had everything they had been looking for in a workout concept, they said. The classes are centered around a 60-minute, five zone, heart-rate monitored interval training workout. Fort Lauderdale-based Orangetheory Fitness has 150 studios in 28 states.

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Amazon Plans Big Austin Office

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, November 13, 2014

 

Amazon.com plans to open a major office in Austin, according to a report in the
Austin American-Statesman. The report, based on unnamed sources in the local real estate scene, said that the company could be bringing up to 250 tech jobs to work in a 76,000-square-foot office at Domain 7 at 11501 Alterra Parkway, but that a lease has not yet been signed. Once the ink is dry on the contract, according to the paper, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) could open the new Austin office by the middle of 2015.

Seattle-based Amazon’s interest in the Austin-area workforce is not new. It already has a small office in the area, and in April a report from technology industry news website Gigaom.com detailed how the company was beefing up its microprocessor design office in Austin, hiring many former workers from now shuttered local chipmaker Calxeda Inc.
There are more than 20 Austin-area job openings that Amazon currently is hiring for in Austin. Job titles range from software development engineer to CPU architects to technical recruiters.

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Two More Large Office Projects Gear up to Break Ground in Downtown Austin

Austin Business Journal by Jan Buchholz, November 10, 2014

 

Two veteran developers appear to be moving quickly on the construction of two new office towers in downtown Austin now that two other towers are being delivered.

The Block 23 Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment project is headed up by Trammell Crow Co. in tandem with several partners. Though the apartment tower portion of the mixed-use project has been under construction for several months, neither the city — which has been selling Trammell Crow parcels on an as-needed basis — nor Trammell Crow has been willing to discuss the office component.

Documents on file at the city indicate, however, that the Austin Utility Location & Coordination Committee will take up the matter Nov. 13 of issuing a permit for two tower cranes on the proposed office site near West Second and Nueces Streets.  Read more here.

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Austin’s Mueller Getting 275 More Homes

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, November 10, 2014

 

Another 275 homes are planned for the Mueller development, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Of those, 58 are planned to sell via the Mueller Affordable Homes program, which aims to sell the homes to those earning 80 percent or less of the region’s median income, according to the report.  Six homebuilders are involved in the new-home development, including two new homebuilders – Centerra Homes and Wes Peoples Homes – that have  not worked at the Mueller site before. The other homebuilders are David Weekley Homes, Homes by Avi, Muskin Co., Standard Pacific Homes and Streetman Homes.

The Business Journal recently looked at the success of the Mueller neighborhood — built on the site of Austin’s old airport — in this article: Why Mueller is flying high a decade into its development.  There are about 2,500 homes there now and more than 6,000 are planned.

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Mapped_ Where Austin’s Rents Are Skyrocketing

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, October 6, 2014

 

Homes and apartments just north of Circle C Ranch in Southwest Austin have seen the greatest percentage increase in rent in the entire Austin area since 2010, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Median gross rents in that Census tract grew $843 — from $761 to $1,604 — between 2010 and 2012, an increase of 110 percent. It shared  many characteristics of other rental tracts where median rent growth outpaced the region; smaller proportion of rental units in the housing stock; a smaller-than average number of rental units, and rental vacancy.

Following up on our Friday effort to map Austin’s most expensive and cheapest neighborhoods for renters, we’ve compiled a map taking a different look at the rental market: the Census tracts where rent is growing the fastest.  To see the map and read the remainder of the article, click here.

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UT Ranks Among World’s Best Universities

Austin Business Journal by Michael Theis, August 18, 2014

The University of Texas at Austin has been named the 39th best university in the world and the 28th best university in the United States by the 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities published by Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University’s Center for World-Class Universities.

 

This is the third time UT has been ranked by an international higher-education publication this year. UT was previously ranked No. 29 by Jeddah, Saudi Arab based Center for World University Rankings and No. 27 by United Kingdom-based Times Higher Education. Read remainder of article here.

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Austin Business Journal by Chad Swiatecki, August 13, 2014

Even as more than 100 people per day move to Austin to take advantage of the area’s   booming economy, a growing number of the city’s populace is falling below the federal poverty line.  That’s the finding of a Business Insider report, which looked at the rate of poverty increase in metro areas across the country, with the Austin area coming in tied for eighth with Indianapolis and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The survey is based on data from a Brookings.edu study that looks at the growth of concentrated poverty in the U.S. Cape Coral, Florida, topped the list with a 110 percent growth of its poor population. In raw numbers, Austin’s poor population – defined as making just over $12,000 per year for a single person and just over $24,000 for a family of four – grew from 126,375 in 2000 to an average 230,437 for the years 2008-2012. That equates to a growth rate of 82 percent.

However, to keep that figure in context, Austin has seen tremendous overall population growth of nearly 50 percent during that time period. Census figures put the Austin metro population in 2013 at 1.9 million compared to 1.27 million in 2000. So while the area’s poor population has certainly increased, its overall percentage growth during that time has moved up from 10 percent to 12 percent. Much of that increase in the region’s poor population appears to be taking place in the suburban parts of the area, according to a Yahoo Homes study released last year.

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