Preserve at 620 is a 223,625-square-foot, adaptive re-use project in northwest Austin. The property, which was originally built as a Super Walmart in 2006, is located next to the gorgeous Balcones Canyon Preserve near the intersection of FM 620 and RR 2222. While there have been many big-box retail conversions to other uses throughout the country, this is the first Super Walmart conversion to a modern Class-A office facility.
When PacVentures took on the project, the challenge was obvious. How do you take a former Walmart building and make it into an aesthetically desirable, functional, and efficient office building? And from a marketing perspective, how do you beat the stigma of a former big-box store and paint a picture of what the space will look like in the future to attract modern office tenants?
Part of the solution was to build upon the many existing advantages that came with the building including high ceilings, tremendous parking, a large open floor plate, natural light from over 100 existing skylights, and a beautiful natural environmental setting.
From there, it was a matter of renovating the facade and providing high-quality amenities to attract top tenants from the surrounding talent hub. We also added significant electrical capacity for those tenants needing supplemental power by adding additional electrical capacity equating to over 25 watts per sf.
These renovations and amenities include:
- Indoor/outdoor courtyards, which open into tenant spaces
- A two-story component overlooking the gorgeous Balcones Preserve at the back of the building
- A state-of-the-art fitness center with operable glass overhead doors opening to activity areas
- Dramatic and secure individual entrances with a wall of glass enveloping the building with perforated panels that are lit at night
- Additional electrical capacity
- Individualized HVAC service
- A dog run
- And more
Develop the Brand
AQUILA worked closely with PacVentures to develop a brand for Preserve at 620 that highlighted the area and appealed to target tenants.
The intent of the branding exercise was to establish an identity for the project that broke away from the previous big-box retail use, highlighted the scenic northwest Austin location as well as the associated “Lakeside Lifestyle,” and appealed to Austin’s growing tech tenants.
We considered these goals in every aspect of the project. The name and colors tie into the natural setting and the surrounding Balcones Preserve. The logo is sleek and modern in order to appeal to a broad range of companies including those involved in developing technology, software applications, financial services, and life-sciences-related industries. And the messaging and imagery consistently portrayed this message throughout the brochure, website, video, and more.
The project, which fully delivered in December 2019, has leased approximately 95,000 square feet to two tenants – IAS (Innovative Aftermarket Systems) and Corning Inc. Both tenants’ interior improvements were completed in 2019 and they currently occupy the building. Although the Covid pandemic significantly impacted further leasing in 2020, we are optimistic that as businesses re-open, the Project will become even more desirable. This will be especially true for those tenants seeking lower costs coupled with more flexibility and control over their employee’s work environment experience.
Was the transformation from supercenter to office a success? Tenants and brokers alike have expressed on more than one occasion how impressed they are with the look and feel of the project. In fact, we hosted an event with over 300 people within the vacant space, and most people were completely shocked to find out this building served as anything other than modern office space.
Preserve at 620 was also named the Austin Business Journal’s Office Project Rehab Winner in the 2020 Commercial Real Estate Awards.
The building’s transformation into a breathtaking class A office project was something of a modern marvel — marking the first conversion nationwide of a Super Walmart store into such office space.”
– Austin Business Journal, Office project rehab winner: Preserve at 620
Preserve at 620 was also the winner of ULI’s Best Project Innovation Award at the 2021 Impact Awards.
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