$210 million corporate campus planned along Lady Bird Lake

Oct 16, 2014
Austin American Statesman

A Minneapolis-based developer has plans for a $210 million corporate campus on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake east of downtown, where the firm envisions building 625,000 square feet of office space


Ryan Companies U.S. Inc. wants to makes its first major splash in Austin with The Waterfront, a three-building complex it plans to build on 10 acres along South Lakeshore Boulevard near Tinnin Ford Road


“The advantage of The Waterfront is the ability for a company to build its own distinct building or campus,” and one that’s near the kinds of amenities that help companies attract top talent, said Hunter Barrier, president of the south-central region for Ryan Cos. “Today’s office is a recruiting tool, especially for tech companies. To be located on a rare Austin waterfront location is a tremendous opportunity”


Barrier said the campus could house one company, or each of the three the buildings could have their own tenant, but he doesn’t envision multiple companies in each building


Ryan Cos. presently has two parcels under contract for an undisclosed price from Austin-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors, with the potential to buy another tract for a third phase if market demand warrants


The proposed project could be built under existing zoning, Barrier said. Zoning would limit the height of each of the buildings to five stories, he said. The buildings would all have street-level retail


Barrier said the proposed complex has already drawn interest from “four or five” companies, some with an existing Austin presence and others that would be new to the market. He declined to name the companies. Barrier said construction would not start until a major tenant was signed


Local brokers have said that companies increasingly are looking at close-in alternatives to downtown, where space in several new projects under construction has largely been claimed before the buildings have opened


Dave Porter, senior vice president for economic development for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, said the planned Waterfront project “will help meet a rapidly growing demand”


From 2010 through mid-year 2014, the Austin metro area saw 76 corporations expand or relocate into 2.6 million square feet of office space, according to the latest corporate expansion and relocation report by CBRE Research. Half of the activity in Austin — 1.3 million square feet — stemmed from the technology sector


Barrier said plans call for rooftop decks, balconies, outdoor patios, a food truck court, a park area and a basketball court atop one of the parking decks


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