Austin developer Ari Rastegar on how Covid will change real estate in large American cities forever… and how Texas is cashing in. He closed 11 major commercial real estate deals during the Covid-19 pandemic. This came after years of telling anyone who would listen how much opportunity there was in the central Texas capitol city many refer to as Silicon Hills. His proclamation earned Ari Rastegar the moniker ‘Oracle of Austin’. But Ari Rastegar isn’t stopping with Austin. “Austin was our prototype to establish and then expand around the Sun Belt,” says Rastegar, founder of Rastegar Property Company, an Austin-based CRE investment firm & vertically integrated real estate company with a focus on value-oriented real estate. “Nashville, Dallas, Phoenix, Raleigh and Tampa – the Sun Belt is hotter than it has ever been, and we see no end to the migration. You think Austin is exciting?” says Rastegar. “Get ready!” For years he watched droves of young professionals making their way to Austin, and he took careful note. That’s why, when the pandemic hit, Rastegar realized it would only expedite these migration trends. He utilized this insight and his uncanny ability to see around corners to position and propel Rastegar’s business plan forward. Now, that vision is bearing its fruit as companies like Apple, Facebook and Amazon invest long term in the city where he was born. Rastegar’s keen understanding of his hometown —- where he made his first real estate deal while in law school — gave him the advantage of knowing exactly where the young professionals coming to the city would want to live and the type of housing that would appeal to them. Click to read more at www.forbes.com.
The eyes of Texas — and the entire world of commercial real estate — appear to be upon Austin. In a new survey from commercial real estate services company CBRE, commercial real estate investors rank Austin first among U.S. metro areas for investment prospects in 2021. Austin knocked Los Angeles off its previous first-place perch. Dallas-Fort Worth comes in at No. 2, with Los Angeles holding down the No. 3 spot. Austin appeared at No. 3 in CBRE’s 2020 survey and No. 11 in the 2019 version. Dallas-Fort Worth ranked second in 2019 and 2020, while LA ranked first in those two years. “The Sun Belt markets of Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta were among the top-performing metros where the least number of jobs were lost in 2020,” CBRE says in its survey findings. For the first time in the history of the CBRE survey, big-time investors (those that manage assets of more than $50 billion) preferred smaller markets like Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth over mega-markets like New York City and San Francisco. CBRE says markets such as Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth “will see intense competition for good-quality assets from all types of investors.” At the same time, commercial real estate services company JLL names Austin one of the “rising star” cities for investment in the U.S. Also in that category are Dallas; Denver; Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami; Nashville; and Raleigh, North Carolina. JLL cites population growth and job growth, as well as a lower cost of living and shorter commute times than places like New York City and San Francisco, as reasons for its bullish outlook regarding “rising star” locales. Click to read more at www.austin.culturemap.com.
It didn’t take long for South Texas Twitter to have some fun with the news that Elon Musk is investing millions into the area. On Tuesday, the Tesla CEO announced his $20 million donation to schools in Cameron County, the southernmost county in Texas, as well as a $10 million donation to the City of Brownsville for “downtown revitalization.” Other Twitter users had suggestions for how the money can be used, like building a Pluckers or bringing back Mr. Gatti’s. Some even joked that Texas’ power grid wouldn’t be able to handle the futuristic vibes that Musk and his SpaceX will bring. Musk even chimed in on one suggestion. Only time will tell how Musk and his money will reshape the heart of South Texas. Click to read more at www.mysanantonio.com.
Following in the footsteps of Oracle and others, another tech company is heading from the West Coast to Austin. CrowdStreet, which operates an online marketplace for investing in commercial real estate, announced March 19 that it’s shifting its headquarters from Portland, Oregon, to Austin. CrowdStreet is considering office space in downtown Austin and around North Austin’s Domain complex. CrowdStreet is targeting a June 1 opening date for the new office. CrowdStreet executives decided to relocate the headquarters from Portland to Austin largely because Texas ranks second among states sending the most investors to the platform and because a majority of the properties sold through CrowdStreet are in Texas. Co-founder and CEO Tore Steen says the company settled on Austin because of its status as a tech hub. Another factor in Austin’s favor: A CrowdStreet report put Austin at No. 2 among the best places for real estate investment in 2021. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, ranked first. “This move best positions CrowdStreet for growth, puts us front and center with marketplace investors and real estate sponsors, and provides our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work,” Steen says in a release. Click to read more at www.austin.culturemap.com.
America’s first 3D-printed homes-for-sale have been put on the market in Austin, Texas. They were developed by Kansas City real estate company 3Strands, designed by Logan Architecture and built using the Vulcan technology pioneered by local 3D printing specialist Icon. Jason Ballard, Icon’s chief executive, commented in a press release: “There is an extreme lack of housing that has left us with problems around supply, sustainability, resiliency, affordability and design options. “We anticipate more high-velocity progress in the years ahead to help bring housing and construction into the modern world and in line with humanity’s highest hopes.” According to the statement, the houses can be built faster than traditional homes, and are also more energy efficient, stronger and fire resistant. Buyers can choose between four two-to-four bedroom houses. Features include open floor plans, bespoke interior design, vaulted master bedrooms and an interior design palette that uses woods, metal finishes and earthy tiles. Click to read more at www.globalconstructionreview.com.
It was codenamed “Project Charm.” But this initiative was less cloak and dagger and more big market swagger—this was the move to bring e-commerce giant Amazon to Pflugerville, Texas, located in the fastest-growing market of the past decade, Austin. Bringing Amazon to Pflugerville was no small task—one spearheaded in part by Amy Madison, CEcD, EDFP, executive director of Pflugerville Community Development Corporation (PCDC). As she sees it, this project is a huge win for the area, bringing significant capital investment, new technology and needed employment to the local workforce. Securing a location for the Seattle-based e-tailer was a mammoth endeavor, one that began with early talks more than a year before the final announcement last summer. Madison said the “Project Charm” codename was apt as the company looked at three sites before it settled on a site owned by the Timmerman family near Pecan Street and SH 130. “It turns out, the third time really was the charm,” Madison said.
The fulfillment center should be operational before the 2021 holiday season, bringing with it 1,000 new full-time jobs. Employees will work alongside Amazon robotics to pick, pack and ship small items to customers such as books, electronics and toys. Click to read more at www.rednews.com.