5 Most Clicked Articles in February 2017

801 Barton Springs under construction in Austin, Texas

Each week day, AQUILA curates the most interesting articles from across Austin, ranging from commercial real estate and investment news, to the city’s economy, growth and accolades, in our Daily Update newsletter. Here’s what caught our subscribers’ eye this February.

This month was full of big news in the commercial real estate world. The finalists to develop the University Medical Center Brackenridge were announced, including two new players in the Austin investment scene. In addition to the Brackenridge site, 18 office projects totaling nearly 3.5 million square feet  are currently under construction around town, as highlighted in our 4Q 2016 Austin Market Report.

The Rackspace deal fell through at Highland Mall, but Austin Community College is still moving forward at full steam with the property redevelopment. And two groundbreaking additions to the Austin retail scene: Carvana brought Austin one of the nation’s first car-vending machines and YETI opened its flagship retail store on South Congress Avenue.

Brackenridge hospital campus redevelopment race heats up, 4 finalists named

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Central Health released the names of the four developers who made it to the final round of the selection process to redevelop the site of University Medical Center Brackenridge. The final list included Brandywine Realty Trust, Catellus Development, a partnership between Howard Hughes Corp. and Cambridge Holdings, and Wexford Science + Technology.

Need new office space? Check out these 18 projects underway around Austin

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AQUILA released the 4Q 2016 Office Market Report, highlighting 18 major Austin developments underway. With nearly 3.5 million square feet of office under construction across the city, developments include 801 Barton Springs, The Diamond Building at Mueller and 500 West 2nd.

ACC says Rackspace deal at Austin’s old Highland Mall dashed, but property redevelopment in high gear

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The deal between Rackspace and Austin Community College, for the tech giant to take nearly 200,000 square feet at the Highland Mall development fell through. However, the overall redevelopment is continuing on as planned; ACC, who acquired the mall in 2012, is continuing talks to redevelop the space and is beginning work on an $80 million phase II within the project.

Car vending machine now open for business in South Austin (Video)

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Carvana opened the nation’s third coin-operated car vending machine along I-35 in South Austin. The five-story machine can hold 20 cars at a time and is a part of the company’s mission to “remove the stress and anxiety” and make car buying a “fun and exciting” experience.

Yeti Coolers unveils first store: A brand temple on border of new, old Austin

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YETI opened its first retail store on South Congress Avenue. The flagship store brings life to what was a long-vacant property at the gateway to downtown. The store features a bar, stage neon signs and a screening area for promo videos.

Stay in the loop with the biggest stories from around town by signing up for the AQUILA Daily Update.

An Insider’s Look at Austin’s Arboretum [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Arboretum is a suburban neighborhood in northwest Austin, located just minutes from the CBD, where US-183, Mopac and 360 all converge. For an in-depth look into The Arboretum, we turned to AQUILA Principal Ben Tolson, the leasing broker on many of AQUILA’s prime Northwest office properties, including 9500 Arboretum and Braker Pointe I & II.

Q: What makes the Northwest, and The Arboretum in particular, an appealing hub for major office properties and campuses?

A: As much as Austin has grown, The Arboretum remains at the demographic center of the city. If you map where the people are within the city, The Arboretum is at the center. On top of that, you have the confluence of US-183, Mopac Expressway and 360, which makes the area accessible from the north, south, east and west.

Q: What type of office tenants are drawn to The Arboretum?

A: We see a great mix of tenants – from technology to all varieties of professional services. It’s one of Austin’s most established submarkets, and, for that reason, it’s a desirable choice for national and local tenants alike.

Views from 9500 Arboretum

Views from 9500 Arboretum

Q: What is The Arboretum’s appeal to local and national companies?

A: The properties in The Arboretum translate well to local, regional and national decision makers. The area is a great setting for business; it has a strong amenity base and excellent access to both the city and the surrounding residential neighborhoods.

In addition, the ease of ingress and egress to the office properties allows employees to easily get to and from work predictably and easily. This will always be a strength for The Arboretum. There’s no need to maneuver through a large, master planned community to get to their parking garage. Finally, The Arboretum has the views. Many projects look out over the Hill Country and offer views that other areas don’t have.


The green space at The Arboretum (photo courtesy of Kari Sullivan)

Q: What amenities in the area appeal to tenants?

A: Aside from the obvious, the proximity to homes, the numerous shopping and dining options, easy access, etc., one of the biggest things I hear from tenants is how much they enjoy the outdoor area in The Arboretum. It’s a great escape from the office and it’s just out their front door.

People take their lunch breaks there, they bike around it. The area is really well done, with mature landscaping and well groomed walking paths.

Manuels Sign

Manuels is one of the popular Austin restaurants found in The Arboretum (photo courtesy of Jim Nix)

Q: There are a lot of national chains in The Arboretum, but if someone in the area is looking for something local, where would you recommend they grab a bite?

A: The Arboretum is essentially a hit list of Austin’s top brands – Z’Tejas, Eddie V’s and Manuels. The restaurants are actually a great analogy for the area – they all started off local, but have grown to national acclaim.

Q: What entertainment options are there in the area? Either for tenants leaving work or people who live in the neighborhood?

A: To start, there’s a couple million square feet of shopping in the area, including top national clothing and home goods brands. Food is probably still the biggest driver. There are also two Regal Cinemas in the area: Regal Cinemas Arbor 8 at Great Hills, that shows lots of smaller, independent films, Oscar noms, etc. and Regal Cinemas Gateway 16, which is your more traditional theater, complete with IMAX and box-office hits.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do in The Arboretum? What’s the one thing you make sure you do when you are in the area?

A: I love a sub from Jersey Mike’s. I’ll also swing by Golf Galaxy (formerly Golfsmith). Last time I was up there, I bought new grips for my clubs.

Click Here to Download this The Arboretum Infographic

Each month in 2017, AQUILA will be featuring a different Austin Neighborhood Spotlight. Check our blog next month for the next featured neighborhood.

How much more are tenants willing to pay for on-site amenities?

On-Site Cafe at The Terrace

How much more are tenants willing to pay for desirable amenities like this on-site cafe at The Terrace in Southwest Austin?

Landlords leverage amenities to provide value to tenants, and in turn achieve higher rental rates. But how much more are tenants actually willing to pay for added amenities?

AQUILA recently did some analysis on Austin’s Southwest submarket to answer this question.

To start, we chose a set of fourteen office projects in the Southwest submarket and broke them into two groups based on the amenities offered: “comprehensive” and “basic.” The buildings cumulatively offered 10 different amenities, including fitness centers, lockers, showers, building conference rooms, cafés, food trucks, walking trails nearby, outdoor patio/seating, basketball courts and volleyball courts. Buildings in the “basic” set have three or less of these amenities and those in the “comprehensive” set have four or more.

Next, we pulled lease comparables for deals done over the last year in each building – yielding 60 lease comps totaling almost 500,000 sf. We calculated the average full service rental rate, then averaged that value for each set.

We found that, on average, tenants were willing to pay an additional $1.80 per square foot per year for a comprehensive set of amenities than those who signed a lease in a building with a basic set of amenities.

This finding surprised us and seemed low, so we decided to look at the data another way – this time only looking at new leases (excluding renewals, expansions and subleases). When only looking at new leases signed, that difference increases to an impressive $3.24/sf/yr. This proves that tenants value the additional on-site amenities these buildings have to offer when relocating within or moving to the Southwest submarket.

If you were to multiply these differences across an entire 500,000 sf office complex, building owners may find that the cost of implementing one or more of these amenities may very well be covered by the additional rent tenants are willing to pay for them.

Interact with our analysis below to see how the difference between average full service rental rate differs amongst different transaction types and hover over the marks to see which amenities tenants paid most for.

Five Things to Know About Jon Wheless, AQUILA’s Newest Partner

AQUILA has added a new partner to its ranks, and though the press release spells out the details, we thought it would be fun to give you a more personal look at Jon. Here are five things you need to know about AQUILA’s newest partner:  

1) He’s our very own Cinderella story.

Jon started at AQUILA as a lowly intern and fought his way up the ladder to partner.

After interning throughout college at The Staubach Company (then JLL), Jon followed founding partner Jay Lamy over to his new fledgling firm, AQUILA, in 2008. He put in 8+ years of hard work, first as an intern, then was hired on as a junior broker and moved up the ranks to associate, then VP, before finally becoming a partner.

The difference between Jon and Cinderella is there was no at work magic here. Just a great attitude and lots of hard work.

2) Jon is loyal.

Loyalty is a key ingredient for anyone who becomes a part of the AQUILA family. Jon’s loyalty is proved by his utter dedication to his favorite sports teams.

Jon is a die-hard Texas Longhorn fans. He hosts a tailgate for every home game with his friends, and he hasn’t missed a Red River Showdown in over 15 years. Now that’s commitment.

Now let’s see if he can maintain the same attendance record for partners meetings.

3) Jon’s mom (still) doesn’t know what he does.

Jon credits his mother and father for his killer work ethic and early success. “I saw my parents both work tirelessly and selflessly for years in order to afford my siblings and me the privilege of attending the best schools from Pre-K through college (that we could get into, anyway…). I try to mimic this effort and drive that I witnessed growing up in my own career, day-in and day-out.”

But even though he’s one of Austin’s fastest rising commercial real estate brokers, and has an impressive client roster with names such as Main Street Hub, Snow Software and The University of Texas, Jon’s mom still doesn’t fully understand how he makes a living.

We’ll give Mrs. Wheless a pass here, but if you’re still sure not sure what we do here at a AQUILA, visit our tenant representation page for a quick refresher.

4) Jon is NOT AQUILA’s youngest partner.

At the ripe age of 30, one would think Jon might win the title of the youngest person to make partner at AQUILA. Such is not the case. That title goes to both Chad Barrett, who helped found the company just months before his 29th birthday, and Ben Tolson, who was named partner at 28.

As you can tell by our sprightly leaderships team, AQUILA’s not one of those firms where you have to have grey hair to become a partner, and that’s the way we like it. Our leaders reward hard work, and Jon has more than proved himself.

5) This isn’t the only lifelong commitment he’s making in 2017.

It might be surprising to learn, but accepting partnership at AQUILA will not be the most exciting part of Jon’s year. In July, Jon will marry his blonde bombshell of a fiance, Meredith, in her hometown of San Luis Obispo, California. The pair will travel to Greece & Croatia for their honeymoon.

So, next time you see Jon, you can congratulate him on his partnership and his impending nuptials!  

Everyone at AQUILA is excited and proud to have Jon as a partner. We know he’ll keep up the hard work, and we can’t wait to see what his next decade here holds!

5 Most Clicked Austin Articles in January 2017

Each week day, AQUILA curates the most interesting articles from across Austin, ranging from commercial real estate and investment news, to the city’s economy, growth and accolades, in our Daily Update newsletter. Here’s what caught our subscribers eye this January.

Austinites were recognized on a national stage – a local architecture firm won recognition for its work in Hutto and Forbes honored 11 young adults making big strides in their industries. Governor Abbott appointed three new faces to both the UT System and Texas A&M System’s boards. Six design/build professionals were celebrated for their impact on the community. And finally, a new approach to saving the the Lions Municipal Golf Course. From national news to local heroes, here are the most clicked articles from our January 2017 newsletters:

Antenora Architects wins lofty national kudos for retro-use of old Hutto cotton gin

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Local architecture firm, Antenora Architects LLP took home the AIA Institute Honor Award for their work on The Cotton Gin at the Co-op District in Hutto. Other works by the firm include Wheatsville Co-op on Guadalupe Street, Half Step bar on Rainey Street and the retrofitting of a former military air facility at Penn Field.

A new way to save Muny? City’s golf course lease could be extended — for a price

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The city of Austin is exploring a new approach to saving the Lions Municipal Golf Course. The University of Texas owns the land, and may be willing to extend the lease, so long as the city is willing to make payments closer to the market value.

11 Austinites land on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for humanitarian work, industry disruption & more

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Meet the 11 Austinites who were named to the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Honorees include two members of the Austin culinary community, the founder of Bumble, the marketing mastermind behind IBM’s global campaigns and more.

Prominent business leaders appointed to UT, Texas A&M systems’ boards

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Governor Greg Abbott appointed three new members to the University of Texas System board this month. The new board members include Rad Weaver of McCombs Partners, Janiece Longoria of the Port of Houston Authority and Kevin Eltife of Eltife Properties. Abbott also appointed three new members to the Texas A&M University System board, including Elaine Mendoza of Conceptual MindWorks Inc., Tim Leach of Concho Resources Inc. and Cliff Thomson of Thomas Logistics.

Meet 6 Austin professionals who are building more than innovative structures

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Six members of Austin’s architecture, engineering and construction industries were nominated for the Community Service and Leadership Awards by the Austin Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. The winners were announced January 26th.

Stay in the loop with the biggest stories from around town by signing up for the AQUILA Daily Update.

An Insider’s Guide to South Congress Avenue in Austin [INFOGRAPHIC]

South CongressI sat down for a Q&A with AQUILA Principal, Bart Matheney, to get his insight on the popular South Congress neighborhood. A frequenter of SoCo, Bart has plenty of ideas on things to do and see, whether you live in Austin or are visiting from out of town. He also gives the inside scoop on some of his favorite go-to spots on the avenue. See his answers below, and leave a comment if you have any other must-do’s on SoCo!

Hopdoddy South CongressHopdoddy is a classic SoCo spot to grab a bite.

Q: What makes South Congress such an iconic Austin neighborhood?

A: South Congress is a melting pot of all things Austin and the epicenter of the Keep Austin Weird movement! Once a seedy area with run-down motels, SoCo is now home to some of the city’s priciest upscale boutique hotels and iconic Austin hot spots.

It truly is the place where yuppies, hipsters and hippies stand shoulder-to-shoulder at The Continental Club listening to iconic Austin musicians such as Junior Brown, Toni Price, Dale Watson and Lou Ann Barton or wait in line to get a burger from Hopdoddy or ice cream from Amy’s.

There is not only great music, but unbelievable food options, one-of-a-kind shopping and the best people watching in the state.

Allens Boots

You’re sure to find a pair of cowboy boots at Allen’s Boots

Q: If someone was visiting from out of town, what are the top things you think they should do on South Congress?
A: I think start at the beginning (Congress Avenue Bridge) to see the bats fly at dusk. Follow that up with a seafood dinner and people-watching on the patio at Perla’s. After dinner, stroll up to visit to Allen’s Boots, which is always a treat for visitors since they have some of the best boots and greatest selections anywhere.

For some evening action, head over to listen to a band under the trees at Guero’s outdoor pavilion. Or hit up The Continental Club for traditional blues where you might stumble upon the members of Double Trouble (Stevie Ray Vaughn’s brother Jimmy and his old band) upstairs at the Gallery. End the evening with a late night funk session with Barfield at C-Boy’s.

Austin Bats

Watch the bats fly at dusk from the Congress Avenue bridge

Q: What is the best time of year to see the bats?

A: Late summer. The population of the bats actually grows by more than 50% in the later summer as the bats migrate to Austin to have their babies. By the end of summer, the entire colony (babies and all) are taking off at dusk. It’s truly a sight to see!

Uncommon Objects

Find unique and one of a kind treasures at Uncommon Objects

Q: What would you suggest local Austinites do on SoCo?

A: I’d suggest grabbing a drink or two in the courtyard at the Hotel San Jose, which provides an interesting respite from all the hubbub – it’s like a totally different world.

Attending the Lonestar Round Up, a classic car show that pops up each spring and runs up and down South Congress is a must-do for any gearhead. It brings out characters of all sorts.

Other good shopping spots include Kendra Scott’s flagship store, Lucy in Disguise costume shop and Uncommon Objects , which always has interesting and unique things.

Q: Why is South Congress a great spot for a creative office space?

A: South Congress embodies everything that is creative Austin. The music, energy, creative class and creative vibe make it a natural extension of people’s work space, which clearly has expanded beyond the brick and mortar office or cube into coffee shops, restaurant patios and bars. SoCo is outside of the box!

Hotel Saint Cecilia

The pool at the St. Cecilia Hotel is a great weekend hangout spot

Q: Are there any new developments in this neighborhood?

A: We’re seeing a lot of retail and residential redevelopments popping up on South Congress. Warby Parker renovated a retail space, there is a mixed-use project planned for Doc’s Motorworks, a new boutique hotel behind Guero’s and a number of other retail projects on the drawing board. In addition, Yeti is getting their first storefront on the northern edge of South Congress, which is set to deliver in the next few months and will also include some office space.

Q: Are there any other must-do’s on South Congress that you think are worth mentioning?

A: Taking a picture in front of the “I love you so much!” mural on the side of Jo’s Coffee is a must-do for most. The St. Cecilia Hotel behind Docs has an amazing pool, patio and vibe. Just hanging out along the avenue is a new adventure every time and has been a go-to for me ever since I moved downtown.

For more tips on what to do, eat and see on South Congress, check out our neighborhood infographic below.


Click Here to Download this South Congress Infographic

Each month in 2017, AQUILA will be featuring a different Austin Neighborhood Spotlight. Check our blog next month for the next featured neighborhood.

AQUILA is Hiring: Property Management Administrative Assistant

Company: AQUILA Commercial
Job Title: Property Management Administrative Assistant
Job Location: Austin, Texas
Salary: Paid plus Benefits
Company Description: AQUILA Commercial is a small, close knit group of fun, hardworking, and enthusiastic people who run Austin’s #1 local Commercial Real Estate Firm. We are looking for a Property Management Administrative Assistant to help our team in various capacities and accurately represent the AQUILA brand.

The Administrative Assistant is a front line position who assists building tenants, contractors, managers and visitors daily and requires strong customer service and organizational skills. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: appropriately handling incoming and outgoing telephone calls, managing calendars, scheduling appointments, coordinating meetings and events, document production, tenant / vendor follow up, filing, and completion of other projects with minimal supervision.

Description of Responsibilities:


  • Process invoices daily and be able to identify the correct accounting codes.
  • Assists in coordinating all tenant security access cards for perimeter, garage, and fitness center.
  • Updates gross sales reports and property books.
  • Helps maintain property management calendar.
  • Performs clerical tasks for staff, as needed.
  • Help maintain building work order system and keep information up to date.
  • Maintain tenant and administrative filing system and assures all documents are properly filed.
  • Assists Property Manager, APM with building access for contractors.
  • Maintains the contractor/vendor lists.
  • Prepares building inspection reports, status reports, tracking reports, correspondence and files.
  • Assist with all incoming service requests and dispatch to appropriate personnel.
  • Retrieve, open, date-stamp and distribute all incoming mail.
  • Coordinate with existing tenants for the leasing tours.
  • Assist with planning and implementation of tenant events.
  • Assist with the preparation and tracking of vendor contracts.
  • Assist with filing, scanning and indexing
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Assists with front desk reception and fills in for receptionist as needed.

Accounting and Reporting

  • Assists with the preparation and distribution of monthly and quarterly reports.


  • Maintains insurance files for coverage required by tenants and vendors.
  • Responsible for notification letters to tenants and vendors thirty days before expiration of insurance certificate.
  • Coordinates with the Property Manager to prepare required loss prevention reports.


  • Assist with scheduling and assigning work orders
  • Collect utility bill back info and input in records
  • Assist with orders as needed

Tenant Relations

  • Develop and maintains positive tenant relations by creating and sustaining good will and by providing consistently responsive quality service.
  • Coordinate and assists Property Manager and/or APM with tenant move-ins and move-outs.
  • Coordinate and assists Property Manager and/or APM with planning and implementation of periodic tenant events.
  • Assist in maintaining the tenant information manual and assures that information is current and correct.
  • Coordinate production of tenant signs, keys and directory information.
  • Prepare and maintain tenant contact lists.


  • Minimum of three (3) years administrative experience is required.
  • High school diploma is required.
  • Commercial real estate experience is preferred.
  • Must possess strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work and communicate effectively with all levels of operations.
  • Must have the ability to manage time and multiple projects efficiently and achieve required results.
  • Must possess excellent customer service skills.
  • Must be detail oriented and well organized.
  • Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • High proficiency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Must be able to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions.
  • Physical Demands may vary. The individual is occasionally required to sit, stoop, kneel, and crouch. The individual may need to lift up to 20 pounds.
  • Responsiveness– Need to perform responsibilities with an acute sense of urgency to meet the needs of others; respond to solve problems; willing to accept a variety of tasks associated with this position.
  • Integrity– Demonstrate sound business ethics; consistently comply with organizational values; protect confidential information.
  • Customer Service –Demonstrate optimum customer service delivery while performing all job functions
  • Communication– Able to clearly express ideas; present verbal information in a straightforward manner; ask questions in order to open channels of communication; listen to understand perspective of others.


Application Instructions: To apply, please visit aquilacommercial.com/careers. Please note, if this position is no longer listed on the careers page, than the position has been filled. 
Desired Job Type: Employee, Full-time


Looking to 2017: The State of the Austin Industrial Market

Expo Business Park Building 12, courtesy of CoStar

Expo Business Park Building 12, courtesy of CoStar

Austin’s industrial market continues to stay hot, with no signs of cooling off any time soon. Heading into the end of the year, we have experienced nine consecutive quarters of decreasing vacancy rates and a staggering fifteen consecutive quarters of increasing rental rates across flex and warehouse products citywide. It’s been nearly three years since we’ve experienced negative quarterly absorption. By all indications, the Austin industrial market is as robust as it has ever been.

The citywide vacancy rate is currently sitting at 5.7% – the lowest in over ten years – with some submarkets less than 3% vacant. Asking rental rates are starting to level out, however, as they only increased $0.01 in the third quarter of 2016, now at $0.88 NNN.

Developers are trying to catch up with the increasing demand. Seventeen new industrial projects are under way with roughly 1.8 million square feet of space scheduled to deliver in the next 24 months. The most recent major deliveries include the Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Marcos (855,000 SF) and Expo Business Park Phase II, Buildings 12 (57,600 SF) and 13 (136,000 SF) in the Southeast submarket.

The industrial market typically lags 18 months behind the office market, and the flurry of activity that began last summer in the office market is now finding its way into the industrial sector. Several new big deals are being announced each quarter, with some notable recent deals including:

Tenant Building Size (SF) Submarket
Intelligent Logistics Harris Ridge 3 81,000 Far Northeast
CV Imports Vista Park 78,400 North
Arizona Tile Heritage Crossing Building 4 50,000 North
Wonderwall Studios Southpark Commerce Center Phase I 32,317 Southeast


With companies like Oracle and Samsung continuing to expand their office presence in Austin, logistics companies and other industrial users looking to service the hi-tech office tenants are actively looking for spaces to support their growing needs.

View the 3Q 2016 Industrial Report Here

Although most submarkets are highly active right now, one of the most desirable submarkets is the Southeast. Due to its improved infrastructure, proximity to the airport and easy-access to San Antonio and Houston, executives are likely to locate or expand their operations in the area. Furthermore, in response to the growing office demand on the east side just north of the river – where industrial users traditionally occupied space – industrial owners are capitalizing on the increased value of their east side assets and relocating to the more affordable Southeast submarket, and tenants are willing to relocate to the area to remain close to their current employee base

As we quickly approach 2017, there seems to be no immediate slowdown in Austin’s industrial market. If demand continues to remain at the high levels experienced in recent quarters, rental rates will keep ticking upwards. However, with new product coming online this upcoming spring, the slightest ease in demand between now and then could cause rental rates to remain flat or even slightly decrease. Overall, the Austin industrial market appears to be in a very healthy state heading into the new year.

For a complete breakdown of the industrial market by submarkets and property types, view the latest AQUILA Industrial Market Report here.

Photo courtesy of CoStar, Expo Business Park Building 12

December Phone + Desktop Wallpaper Downloads by Austin Artist Claire Thompson

Each month AQUILA distributes our monthly property inventory via email. This month, AQUILA’s inventory image by local Austin Artist, Claire Thompson, is available for download! Like what you see? Click the download links below to access free backgrounds for your desktop and mobile devices. To sign up to receive our monthly inventory via email, subscribe to our mailing list here.

To learn more about this month’s artist, Claire Thompson, visit our About the Artist page.

Phone Backgrounds

download artwork

download Merry Christmas artwork

Desktop Wallpapers

download artwork

download artwork + calendar

License: You may install the image as wallpaper only on your own devices: desktop, PC, laptop, notebook, tablet, ipad, smartphone.

Prohibited: Transferring a File to anybody else. Any kind of printing of the image. Use of the image on any websites. Creation of templates (websites or others) intended for resale. Any editorial or commercial use of the downloaded file under this license. Online “print-on-demand” products. Use in any logo or trademark. Use for pornographic, obscene or libelous works. Sub-license, give away, share or otherwise transfer stand-alone images/files.

Ten Years Later and Still Booming: Measuring Austin in 2006 and Today


As we quickly approach the closing weeks of 2016, we find ourselves looking back at another fruitful year of commercial real estate activity in the Texas capital. Through the first three quarters, vacancy rates continued to tick downward, while rental rates steadily march upwards, consistently reaching record highs each quarter.

The last time we experienced negative quarterly absorption was almost six years ago. Since then, over six million square feet of product has been added to the market.

Whether you’re in the commercial real estate industry or not, there’s no denying that Austin is a great place to be. Central Texas cities are amongst the fastest-growing in the country; and, as alluded to in the October 2016 Forbes article “America’s Next Great Metropolis Is Taking Shape in Texas,” the demarcation between Austin and San Antonio seems to become more blurred each day. With high-paying jobs aplenty and a relatively low cost of living (particularly when compared to comparable job markets around the country), there is no wonder as to why Austin and other Central Texas cities are topping the charts of best places to live.

The craze surrounding Austin is no recent phenomenon. Ten years ago, the Austin economy was just as healthy. All economic indicators in 2006 pointed to a robust market primed for prosperity:

• The five-county MSA population reached 1.5 million
• The unemployment rate dipped to 3.3%
• Venture capital investment reached nearly $700 million
• 17,615 single family and 8,481 multifamily housing permits were issued
• There were nearly 30,000 houses sold at a median price of $171k at an average of less than three months on the market

ACL skyline in 2006

ACL skyline in 2006

These indicators were at their strongest levels since the 2001 recession – a recession that Austin felt heavily due to its deep ties to the dot-com and technology industries. What goes up must come down, and Austin was not completely immune to the 2008/2009 housing crisis –  although it did fare well compared to much of the rest of the country. Fast forward to today, and Austin is, once again, sitting pretty in terms of market indicators:

• The five-county MSA population broke the 2 million mark earlier this year
• Unemployment rate has been below 4% for over two years – currently at 3.2%
• There has been over $415 million in venture capital investment as of the end of September
• 9,351 single family and 5,505 multifamily housing permits have been issued thus far
• There have been over 25,000 houses sold at a median price of over $275,000 with an average of 2.4 months’ inventory

ACL skyline in 2016

ACL skyline in 2016

While these indicators alone cannot measure the overall health of a market – and they by no means can predict what the future may hold – taking a step back to look at what we thought was great place to live and do business a decade ago can help put into perspective today’s market conditions. While we all may feel like Austin is a great place to be, looking at the numbers can help us understand and validate why we feel that way. For an in-depth analysis of Austin’s commercial real estate market numbers, click here to view and download the AQUILA 3Q 2016 Austin Office Market Report.

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