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Trammel Crow Company, Principal Real Estate Investors, and City of Austin Begin Second Phase at Thomas Green Water Treatment Plant

15 Dec 2014, 4:11 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Trammel Crow Company in partnership with Principal Real Estate Investors announced the acquisition from the City of Austin of the Green Water Treatment Plant (GWTP) lot known as 500 W 2nd Street in downtown Austin. Construction of a 29-story office tower is scheduled to begin immediately, with the finalization date set for the first quarter of 2017.

The development will encompass 500,436 square feet, featuring 489,403 square feet of Class A speculative office space and 11,033 square feet of restaurant/retail space on the ground floor. Taking after the Second Street District, the ground floor is designed to offer high ceilings and outdoor/sidewalk dinning locations. The floor plates of the project will average around 32,500 square feet, placing the project among the largest in downtown Austin.

The tenants will benefit from seven outdoor terraces on six different levels throughout the building. Two parking levels underground and 12 levels above grade with access from San Antonio and Nueces Streets are included in the architectural plan. The development aims at receiving LEED Gold certification and an Austin Energy Green Building 2-Star rating.

On the 14th floor there will be a tenant amenity space with a flexible 8,628-square foot conference center and a great room, plus a 2,739 square feet outdoor terrace. Moreover, an expansive fitness center with locker rooms and showers will be placed on the mezzanine level.

500 W 2nd Street represents the second phase of the four phases of a master project for the former Thomas Green Water Treatment Plant. Once finalized, the master planned development will add more than 1.7 million square feet of mixed-use commercial development.

“We are pleased to officially kick off the second phase of the Green Water Treatment Plant redevelopment with our partner, Principal Real Estate Investors and the City of Austin,” says Adam Nims, Principal with Trammell Crow Company’s Austin Business Unit. “500 W. 2nd Street offers an irreplaceable location in the middle of the thriving  2nd Street mixed-use neighborhood, and a design that provides large efficient floor plates, incredible views, advanced building systems and infrastructure, and unmatched amenities to prospective tenants.”

The development was designed by the Austin office of Gensler; the general contractor for the project is Beck Commercial Construction. Adam Nims, Aaron Thielhorn, Brad Maples and Mark Fowler with Trammell Crow Company and Joe Wanninger from Principal Real Estate Investors will lead the development team. Leasing will be handled by Troy Holme, Casey Ford and Katie Ekstrom with CBRE Austin.

Griffis Residential Acquires 512-Unit Premium Multifamily Community in Austin

8 Dec 2014, 5:19 am

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Denver-based multifamily investment and management firm Griffis Residential announced the acquisition of Class A multifamily community, The Orchard Apartments. Post-acquisition, the complex has been renamed Griffis La Frontera to convey with the company’s persistent brand excellence and its location in the La Frontera commercial park.

Griffis La Frontera was built in 1997. The 512-unit community offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments ranging in size from 640 square feet to 1030 square feet. Amenities include resort-style swimming pools and spas with Wi-Fi and private cabanas, outdoor kitchen and fire pit, multiple barbeque grills with picnic areas, fitness center, 26 acres of private jogging trails, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, sand volleyball court, car care center, and laundry center.

The cost of the transaction was $55.5 million. With this purchase Griffis Residential owns and manages 5,658 Class A multifamily units. The new owner plans to invest more than $4 million in community and apartment unit upgrades as part of its targeted capital improvement program.

The community is the first acquisition in the Austin metro area, but is part of expansion plans beyond the firm’s existing portfolio of premium multifamily communities located in Colorado and Nevada. 

“Our move into the Austin metro area underscores our commitment to expand into new markets that align with our property portfolio and investment objectives,” says Griffis Residential CEO David Birnbaum. “Griffis La Frontera is well positioned to capitalize on significant growth in rental demand due to Austin’s abundance of high quality jobs and its overall appeal to our target resident demographic. When these positive market dynamics are combined with our proven community management processes and capital improvement program, we have an excellent opportunity to drive results for our investors.”

Rockspring Capital Acquired Land Parcel in Leander

1 Dec 2014, 6:59 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

Located northwest of Austin, Leander is seeing an increased development activity thanks to the flourishing business segment in Austin. This activity attracted Houston-based Rockspring Capital, a privately-owned real estate investment firm, to acquire a 28.44-acre land parcel. The price of the transaction has not been disclosed.

The site is situated off of Old FM 2243, west of US 183, nestled between several single-family properties and commercial developments, within the Leander Independent School District. The lot could become a multi-family development with retail fronting.

“According to U.S. Census data, Leander has more than tripled in size in the last 15 years. This is a result of Austin’s booming economy,” said Jim McAlister IV, President and CEO of Rockspring Capital. “This exponential population growth is driving up the demand for family homes and apartments, making this property an attractive investment.”

Next to the recently acquired parcel is a 350-acre plot designed to soon hold 1000 single family homes. Moreover, the Old FM 2243 will expand from two to four lanes in 2015, a fact that will make the corridor one of the most traveled ones in the area.

“The new homes being developed, along with all the local commercial businesses, complement our property very well as it adds more variety for current and the influx of new residents. We’re looking forward to the returns this investment will bring our partners”, concluded McAlister.

The Westin Austin Downtown Hotel Celebrates the Completion of Structural Construction

24 Nov 2014, 6:44 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

The Westin Austin Downtown Hotel that broke ground on Aug. 5 has recently celebrated the completion of its structural construction. The 20-story, 366-room hotel located on the northeast corner of East Fifth Street and San Jacinto Boulevard is scheduled to be finalized by June 2015.

The development is a partnership between White Lodging Services Corporation, the Harry Whittington family, and REI Real Estate Services, LLC. White Lodging will manage the hotel once it’s completed, becoming the company’s 21st hotel in the Austin area.

“It’s very exciting to bring the Westin brand into the heart of downtown market,” says Alison Berg, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “With the Westin brand and our prime location, we are poised for success and have been overwhelmed with the reception from the community, our customers and the city.”

The hotel’s special features include elegant ballrooms for social events, rooftop pool and bar located on the development’s 20th story. An American regional kitchen and bar committed to local, artisan ingredients is part of the offering, placed in a contemporary eclectic design. Furthermore, the hotel will have a fitness center and 15,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space.

“White Lodging has more hotels in Austin than anywhere else in the country and we are thrilled that another property of theirs is steadily moving forward and making great progress,” says Bob Lander. “Additional inventory definitely allows us to better handle the major events that continue to stretch Austin in the area of accommodations. The new state-of-the-art Westin will enable us to continue to grow not only the leisure sector but also our meetings and conventions which remain the strongest economic backbone within our industry.”

Hyatt Acquires Full Ownership of Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa for $143M

14 Nov 2014, 8:40 pm

By Anca Gagiuc, Associate Editor

A Hyatt affiliate has acquired its partners’ 92 percent interest in the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa near Bastrop, according to Hyatt Hotels Corporation. The price of the transaction was approximately $143 million.

The sale also includes the assumption of $65 million of property-level debt. The total price, debt included, is valued at approximately $450,000 per key.

“This transaction is consistent with our strategy to focus our investing in key areas such as resorts and group-oriented hotels,” says Steve Haggerty, global head of capital strategy, franchising and select service for Hyatt. “The resort’s financial and operating success of this property has made it a key asset in our portfolio, and whole ownership affords us greater control of its future.”

The picturesque resort opened in 2006 and ever since has operated as Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa. The developer of the 491-room resort is Dallas-based Woodbine Development Corporation, which also acted as asset manager and managing general partner of Bastrop Resort Partners, the entity Woodbine formed in 2003. The other original partners were Oklahoma Publishing Co., Cook Inlet Region Inc., and Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

The property sits on 405 acres along the banks of Texas’ Colorado River. The award-winning resort offers more than 60,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and over 240,000 square feet of outdoor space sprinkled with pavilions, an amphitheater, the Wolfdancer Golf Club, Spa Django, Crooked River Water Park, and the Renegade Trailhead equestrian facility. Furthermore, guests can also benefit from the adjoining 1,100-acre McKinney Roughs Nature Park.

“Hyatt Regency Lost Pines is a sought-after destination by both leisure and group guests and has strengthened Hyatt’s presence in the Austin area, where Hyatt has a broad spectrum of lodging experiences,” Haggerty says.

Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa.

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