You know that cool vacant building on South Congress? It's been sold

Jan 29, 2015
Austin Business Journal

An iconic South Austin building that's been vacant for years has been purchased by the budding real estate titans who recently bought the Austin Music Hall

Cielo Property Group, which has been snapping up some high-profile local commercial properties the past three years, purchased 220 S. Congress Ave. — the 1936 brick building that once housed the Brink's cash handling and security business as well as a commercial garage and a furniture store

Bobby Dillard, Cielo co-founder and a native Austinite, said many investors have been interested in the architecturally significant property for some time but the amount of renovation required scared people away

The property has strong street appeal, however, right at the corner of South Congress Avenue and Barton Springs Road. Click on the photo to see a slideshow of the property

The area is one to watch now that the Hyatt Regency Austin has completed its renovation and parking garage addition and The Catherine high-rise apartment is delivering its first units soon. The Embassy Suites Austin is across the street. Another apartment is under construction on South First Street around the block

Dillard is certain some cool tech company, retailer or restaurant will jump at the opportunity to secure that kind of exposure

"We really think this kind of space will be in high demand," Dillard said

He's not revealing how much the firm paid for the three-story, 25,000-square-foot building that has been owned for a long time by a local family. He did allow that American Bank of Texas provided the financing

Dillard and partner Rob Gandy hired Gensler architects to do some architectural concepts of the building. Eric DeJernett and Michael Bullard of CBRE Group Inc. have the leasing assignment. A general contractor has yet to be hired

Demolition and the construction of infrastructure including stairs, elevator and a new heating, air conditioning and ventilation system will commence quickly and hopefully a tenant will be in place this summer

One of the drawbacks of the building is there is no onsite parking, but Dillard said negotiations are in the works to secure parking, which is readily available nearby. He doesn't believe it will be an issue

Cielo has made a strong impression on the local real estate community since it purchased three historic buildings in the 300 block of Congress Avenue in 2013. Much of that space was leased to Chaotic Moon Studios, which created some of the most creative office space in the city. Since then, Cielo purchased 823 Congress Ave., a significant downtown office building that had been owned by veteran real estate investor Tom Stacy. Last year Cielo purchased the Austin Music Hall downtown and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 310 Comal St. in East Austin

Dillard hinted that more deals are in the works

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