Construction Begins on 17-Story Fairfield Inn & Suites in Austin

General contractor Arch-Con® Corporation is underway constructing a 17-story Fairfield Inn & Suites located at 76 East Avenue near Downtown Austin and Interstate 35 in the popular Rainey Street District.

“This isn’t your typical Fairfield Inn & Suites,” Arch-Con Senior Vice President Marc MacConnell who leads the company’s Central Texas Region said. Arch-Con, headquartered in Houston, opened an office in Downtown Austin earlier this year to serve the area’s growing market. “This high-rise suite hotel is in a popular, walkable location and will offer views of Downtown Austin, a rooftop terrace and balconies to enjoy the city.”

Developed by RGB Hospitality and designed by MCS Architects, LLC, The Fairfield Inn & Suites will have 126 rooms and suites and feature a large lobby, lounge, dining area and pantry market for grab-and-go conveniences. The top three floors of the hotel will house an outdoor rooftop terrace, fitness room, pool and spa, multi-purpose room, presidential suite and sweeping views of Austin for an added layer of luxury to this Marriott-brand hotel. Several guest rooms also come equipped with outdoor balconies. Exterior lighting will illuminate the hotel and amenity deck. A six-level, 57,930-square-foot concrete parking garage provides parking for its guests.

The building is constructed of cast-in-place concrete on piers with exterior finishes that include a combination of EIFS, metal paneling and glass. The hotel is on a tight site with the Homewood Suites just 11 inches from the project site line and, therefore, Arch-Con has worked with neighbors and our safety team for optimal laydown and safe construction practices.

Arch-Con has built more than a million square feet of hotel rooms for nearly every major hotel brand. This project will rise in height to 192 feet and use a specific tower crane that will increase from 10-stories to 19-stories as the building height progresses. “This type of crane that stacks itself, or rises in height, is simply more economical and practical due to the tight site,” MacConnell said.

A focal point for the high-rise hotel juxtaposing the bungalow bars and restaurants that line Rainey Street is a mature, majestic tree on the property of which the entire project team, as well as an arborist, are taking great care and attention. The tree will frame the entrance of the hotel in keeping with the charm of the area.

The Fairfield Inn & Suites plans to open late 2022, increasing the walkable hotel options for Austin and this vibrant neighborhood.

Valbridge Property Advisors Welcome New Partners in Houston and Dallas

HOUSTON and DALLAS, July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Valbridge Property Advisors, the largest independent commercial property valuation and advisory services firm in the United States, is pleased to announce the addition of four new partners to their Houston and Dallas offices.

Valbridge Property Advisors | Houston and Valbridge Property Advisors | Dallas, led by Chris Lantz, MAI, Senior Managing Director; Gerald Teel, MAI, CRE, SGA, Senior Managing Director; Tim Treadway, MAI, CCIM, Senior Managing Director-Multifamily; and Michael Divin, MAI, Senior Managing Director, respectively, are pleased to announce new additions to their senior leadership team. Valbridge Property Advisors | Houston welcomes new partners:

• Jason Mushinski, MAI, Senior Managing Director
• Joshua W. Wood IV, JD, MAI, AI-GRS, Senior Managing Director
• Paul Gilliam, MAI, Senior Managing Director, Vice President of Financial Modeling
• Valbridge Property Advisors | Dallas welcomes new partner: Tim Brennan, MAI, Senior Managing Director

Jason Mushinski, MAI is Senior Managing Director and leader of the Right of Way Specialty Practice Group for the Valbridge Property Advisors | Houston office and is a member of both the Appraisal Institute and the International Right of Way Association. Click to read more at www.inforny.com.

NAI Partners Arranges Sale of 77-Acre Site for New Subdivision in Braunfels, TX

NAI Partners—the commercial real estate services business of Partners Real Estate Company—recently arranged a 77.149-acre land purchase for Scott Felder Homes on Weltner Rd. in New Braunfels, Texas.

NAI Partners’ Brett Lum represented the buyer in the land purchase in New Braunfels.

Scott Felder Homes has risen through the ranks to become one of the largest producers of quality, move-up homes in Austin and San Antonio. Innovative designs, custom features, desirable locations, high-quality construction, and energy efficiency earmark the standards for which Scott Felder Homes is best known.

Austin Office Absorption Heads Back into Positive Range After Pandemic Disruption

Ready for some good news? The office market in Austin is not only showing signs of life, but it’s performing quite well compared to its other Texan peers such as Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. According to a new report from NAI Partners, the Austin office market has returned to positive absorption territory after three consecutive quarters of negative absorption. Just to illustrate how quickly the situation has improved in Austin, the latest second-quarter net absorption figure is around 208,500 square feet while the first quarter was -349,000.

A closer look at the stats highlighted in the report also indicates that the average asking rent is also increasing, though only slightly from $38.08 per square foot last quarter compared to $39.85 per square foot for the second quarter. Total inventory has also increased since this time last year, going from 92.72 million square feet in Q2 2020 to just shy of 96 million square feet in Q2 2021. Total vacancies are still higher than they were a year ago, at 14.8% in Q2 2021 versus 10.4% during Q2 2020.

Graphics via NAI Partners
Austin had been experiencing exponential growth even before the pandemic, but since early 2020, the city has become the darling for a tech industry that has become tired and priced out of Silicon Valley. High-profile HQ relocation announcements include the likes of software giant Oracle, fitness brand F45 Training, cryptocurrency startup Blockcap, pre-paid bank card company Green Dot, and many others. There’s also been speculation about whether Tesla could make an announcement of a corporate HQ move to the Texas capital to be close to its $1.1 billion Gigafactory.

The NAI Partners report also offers employment data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas which indicates that the city has shown strong economic performance and a steep decline in unemployment to 4.6% in May, well below the national and Texas state rates of 5.8% and 6.5% respectively. The city saw the creation or addition of 17,235 jobs between March, April and May, helping close the gap on the 133,000 jobs lost at the beginning of the pandemic. As of the end of Q2 2021, Austin’s workforce was at 92% of the total pre-pandemic employment.

While upwards of 150 people were moving to the city every day before the pandemic, Austin’s cost of living has also increased as more new residents plant roots in the Texas capital. And while the city has drawn much attention from the tech and commercial real estate industries, Austin will have to quickly address its growing pains if it hopes to sustain this ongoing economic boom.

Global Design Firm PDR Expands Presence in Austin

PDR, a Texas-based design, architecture, and consulting firm with work around the globe, is amplifying its presence in Austin by adding key leadership to its local team. Amy Collins, formerly an Associate Principal of the Houston office, has been named Principal and Director of Design of the Austin office. She joins Shawna Hills who has been promoted to Business Development Director. Emily Mehigan has also joined the firm as an Associate and Lead Designer.

Headquartered in Houston, PDR has a diverse set of clients from the world’s largest oil and gas companies and technology innovators to fintech and law firms. PDR, which focuses on interior architecture, opened its Austin office in 2017 and quickly got to work on multiple projects. The team now includes 11 employees who have backgrounds in design, architecture, brand, and project management. Current work includes law firms such as DLA Piper LLP, and McLean & Howard LLP; corporate offices for USAA, Ottobock North America, Piper Sandler and Find What Feels Good; and numerous multifamily projects for developers such as Johnson Trube & Associates, and DMA Companies.

“We are excited about our growth in Austin and the opportunities to bring PDR’s unique approach of designing first and foremost for a positive human experience and organizational success,” said Lauri Goodman Lampson, PDR President and CEO. “As the Austin area continues to grow, bringing in new companies with cross-generational workers, we look forward to growing and elevating our ability to create exceptional workplace experiences that are designed to evolve over time and bring value to clients in this market.”

PDR works with global companies, local businesses, real estate advisors and developers to redefine the high-performance workplace. From early strategy development, design and architecture to initiatives leading to occupancy, PDR looks at a client’s needs holistically and brings together architecture and design, consulting, and brand experience to improve the human experience, impact business performance and foster organizational transformation.

More about the personnel changes:

Amy Collins, Principal and Director of Design

Collins oversees the expansion of the Austin team and serves as PDR’s Director of Design, guiding projects from concept to completion. With two decades of experience in workplace design, Collins has led high profile interior projects, planned corporate campuses, and created award-winning environments that engage the people who inhabit them. She most recently worked in PDR’s Houston office as an Associate Principal.

Shawna Hills, Business Development Director

Hills’ ability to serve as a trusted advisor and relationship builder has expanded the Austin studio, where she will continue to grow the client and project roster. With an impressive 20-year background in workplace interiors, Hills’ talent, leadership, and passion for excellence have earned her a loyal following with clients, consultants, and team members. She previously served as PDR’s Regional Director.

Emily Mehigan, Associate and Lead Designer

A new hire to PDR, Emily Mehigan was previously an Interior Project Designer at Perkins + Will. Mehigan brings over 10 years of commercial design experience, ranging from corporate clients to multifamily and retail spaces around the world. She will manage and lead all phases of design and construction, combining creativity, current design trends, and industry standards with technical knowledge to ensure a beautiful and functional product.

United Properties Breaks Ground on Buda Midway

AUSTIN (June 30, 2021) — United Properties announced today that it has begun construction on phase I of its first Austin-based project, Buda Midway, a 474,000 sq. ft. Class A industrial development located on Fire Cracker Drive in Buda, Texas. The development will ultimately encompass 800,000 sq. ft. when completed.

“Buda Midway is exactly the kind of high-caliber project we’ve been planning to pursue from the very start,” said Josh Delk, senior vice president, Austin commercial development, whose appointment was announced in April 2020 with the opening of the United Properties – Austin office.

“Demand for industrial real estate in Central Texas is extremely high and space is very limited, with not enough industrial product on the ground or in the pipeline to satisfy near-term demand,” Delk said. “Buda Midway, which will ultimately include over 800,000 sq. ft. of Class A, institutional-grade warehouse and manufacturing facilities, will be well-positioned to take advantage of strong market conditions with an unrivaled location in Buda, in close proximity to Austin while also offering the ability to service the flourishing suburbs in Hays County, south of Austin.”

He added that the project offers excellent means of ingress and egress, access to major highways, high visibility from Interstate 35 and proximity to restaurants and retail. “We’re also very proud of the building design with its clean aesthetic, which will provide a fine front door for high-quality tenants in the market,” Delk said.

Phase I of the Buda Midway project will contain three buildings on 35.88 acres totaling just over 474,000 sq. ft. Buildings 1 and 2 will feature a rear-load design, each at 115,090 sq. ft. Building 3 will offer a cross-dock design at 244,285 sq. ft. with an expected completion date of the first part of 2022. Phase II, which will be completed at a later date, will include up to an additional three buildings with another 326,000 sq. ft. available on the site.

Buda Midway is located at the crossroads of IH-35 and SH-45, offering quick and easy access to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, every major Texas highway and cities such as Austin, Round Rock and Temple to the north; and San Marcos, New Braunfels and San Antonio to the south. The site is in close proximity to a variety of amenities, including restaurants, hotels and shopping. Once finished, the buildings will provide 30’-36’ clear heights and ample dock doors and trailer parking, as well as 200-plus parking spots, including car charging stations.

“We’re applying thoughtful design to Buda Midway to ensure it enhances the surrounding community, including an architectural plan that includes beautiful design and landscaping with plenty of greenery and retention ponds,” said Delk. “We believe Buda Midway complements the city itself. We’re confident it will become an integral part of the economic and social fabric of the community — a good neighbor providing jobs and giving back.”

“Buda has strived to provide more employment opportunities for our residents and those in the surrounding area,” said Traci Anderson, Buda Economic Development Corporation (EDC) executive director. “United Properties is bringing a high-quality development to Buda that will give people the opportunity to work closer to home.”

Buda Midway is part of a joint-venture partnership between United Properties and PCCP, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment and management firm, that plans to develop an 11-building industrial portfolio in Minneapolis, Denver and Austin.

Project partners include Aquila Commercial, Kimley-Horn Design and Engineering Consultants, Powers Brown Architecture, RC Page Construction and Hitchcock Design Group. For more information, visit budamidway.com.

Since United Properties announced its market entry in April 2020 with Delk’s appointment, the Austin team has grown to include Chris Mase, vice president, construction management, and Brenda Studt, development manager. United Properties – Austin opened a new headquarters office at 1617 West 6th Street, Austin, in December 2020.

Delk indicated that he and his team are working on several fronts, from industrial development to mixed-use and residential, throughout Austin and the surrounding areas.

“We’ve been here just a little over a year, and despite the challenges we’ve faced with the pandemic, we are full steam ahead, beginning with Buda Midway — with more to come,” he said.