100-Year-Old Office Buildings Upgraded

Sep 10, 2013
Globe St

When DivcoWest acquired the 110,254-square-foot Littlefield Building and the 129,914-square-foot Scarbrough Building, it was with the intent to upgrade the century old office structures located in the CBD. A little more than a year after their acquisitions, DivcoWest is ready to show off what's been; most notably, the 8,000-square-foot top floor of Scarbrough, which underwent substantial renovation

To that end, DivcoWest and CBRE, which is responsible for leasing activities for both buildings, will host a special event on Sept. 12 to show off Scarbrough's new top floor. CBRE's Troy Holme and Katie Ekstrom tell GlobeSt.com that the buildings were renovated with the idea of tech tenants in mind

"DivcoWest is in centralized markets that are tech markets, such as Silicon Valley, Seattle and Boston, along with Austin," Holme says. "They've seen the demand and popularity of such spaces." The redesign of such spaces, he notes, involves exposed brick and, in the case of the Scarbrough renovation, plenty of natural light and a view of the Texas State Capitol Building

But to get that eighth floor renovated, it was necessary to clear out the shorter-term tenants taking up the space. "A lot of the tenants on the eighth floor were either short-term tenants or month-to-month," Holme says. Those tenants were moved to other parts of the building

These days, the Scarbrough top floor, currently in shell condition has an 18,000-square-foot floorplate, as well as high ceilings, brick walls and the window-line view. Furthermore, both Scarbrough and Littleton have the right floorplate size to attract the tech companies that want to be in urban, creative spaces

Divco is also working to extend the leases. Ekstrom says that, for instance, Scarbrough's top floor is available for a minimum of two years, a far cry from the month-to-month leases of previous years

Ekstrom points out that retail is strong in both buildings, noting that Brooks Brothers is at Scarbrough (as is Truth's Chris Steakhouse and a Brooks Brothers retail store), while Capital One has a bank branch at Littlefield. Furthermore, Littlefield is putting out the welcome mat for Due Forni, a Las Vegas-based upscale eatery, which will set up shop in October

The buildings have a unique place in the history of downtown Austin, having been built by competing entrepreneurs, though very close. Department store baron EM Scarbrough erected the Scarbrough Building at 101 W. Sixth St. in 1908 to house his flagship store.  Office tenants include global design and innovation firm Frog Design, which recently expanded and now occupies 38,000 square feet of the building in a sublet deal with Google Inc.

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