The Requirement

Velocity Credit Union owned and occupied its headquarters on a two-acre site on the northeastern edge of Austin’s coveted Central Business District. The 2.5-acre site consisted of several single-story buildings that served as the credit union’s headquarters and housed its most popular bank branch.

The site’s central location made it a prime development opportunity site for a high-rise tower. Velocity was ready to monetize the property and move its corporate headquarters to a larger, more cost-effective building outside of the CBD.

Velocity engaged AQUILA to assist in determining the best use and highest value for the site, take the property to market, and lead negotiations with buyers for the site. AQUILA was also engaged to help the credit union find a new site for its headquarters.

The Challenge

The branch located at the headquarters was Velocity’s highest-producing location, so Velocity needed to keep a branch on the premises, and at no point could the branch be closed to its members. Additionally, due to regulations, Velocity could not acquire its new headquarters until the existing property went under contract.

The existing property was in the capitol-view corridor and did not have the correct zoning needed. Velocity needed to clear up the entitlements and perform capitol-view corridor studies to attract the highest possible price.

The Solution

AQUILA created a roadmap that provided Velocity with several unique solutions to reach its goals depending on the direction of the market, the development capacity, and the timing of the entire transaction. Ultimately, AQUILA guided Velocity to a relocation strategy that would minimize disruption and allow Velocity to keep an operating branch open at the current location at all times. AQUILA worked with consultants to have the existing property rezoned and to clean up additional entitlement issues that could have negatively impacted the property’s value.

The plan allowed Velocity to relocate, build and own a new branch on the portion of the site that was less desirable for development due to the capitol view corridor restrictions while selling the more valuable portion of the site to a developer. Consequently, Velocity retained the valuable downtown branch location for its members who will benefit from a new, state-of-the-art branch for years to come, while still getting the maximum proceeds from the land sale.  

After the entitlements were completed, AQUILA marketed the property for sale. After a multi-offer negotiation process, Velocity went under contract with Greystar, a prominent international multi-family developer who acquired the portion of the site that was not required for the new branch. Additionally, AQUILA helped Velocity obtain enough leverage for Velocity to reject the buyer’s attempt to use the pandemic as the reason to reduce the purchase price by $1 million at a time when many acquisitions in Austin, TX were renegotiated.

Concurrently, AQUILA located an off-market building in Northwest Austin that fit Velocity’s current occupancy needs and future growth plans. AQUILA structured the acquisition of the new headquarters to line up with the timeline of the downtown transaction. Velocity was able to perform a phased relocation into the larger, cash-flowing building with higher-quality, amenitized office space. 

Want to know more about how we orchestrated this deal? Reach out to our investment services team today.