NY's Brickman breathes new life into downtown Austin offices

May 1, 2014
Austin Business Journal

First-time Austin investor Brickman has nearly completed $1.5 million in renovations to Lavaca Plaza in downtown Austin. The investment has translated into 100 percent occupancy — at least for the next few months


“We had tracked this market for some time, but had not executed on any purchases until this building,” said Aaron Lazovik, vice president at New York-based Brickman. “We saw opportunity here with the demographic trends.”


Those trends have included the large influx of tech and creative-oriented companies moving to downtown Austin


The irony now is that an outdated, onced-shunned property is attracting cutting edge enterprises. The property at 504 Lavaca St. was built in 1983 with five floors of parking and four floors of offices, far more parking than most buildings downtown provide with between six and eight parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of office space. Today with parking increasingly scarce, the ample garage has been an attractive selling point


Brickman purchased the 125,000-square-foot building in December 2012 from Pacific Coast Capital Partners LLC. and hired fledling brokerage ECR to help reposition the building as creative space


ECR founder Matt Levin relished the assignment despite the fact that one of the largest tenants, Cenpatico — a healthcare solutions provider — was leaving


“We knew we were going (down) to 50 percent occupancy,” Levin said.


Despite that initial dire circumstance Levin and co-broker Jason Steinberg have managed to fill up the space in 14 month’s time


New tenants include the Austin Business Journal, WP Engine, Juniper Networks and Paymetric. The University of Texas System recently leased 30,000 square feet to bring the property to maximum occupancy


New tenants will enjoy new bathrooms, a remodeled atrium, a new fitness center and a coffee bar, which is under construction in the lobby off Lavaca Street and expected to open in 60 days


Harvey-Cleary Builders based in Houston was the general contractor. STG Design with an assist from art consultant Lux Studio Design, handled the interior renovations. To bolster the Austin vibe, the new hallways overlooking the atrium feature photos of local scenes


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