Historically, Central Austin has been known as a residential and retail-oriented market with desirable but scarce office options to choose from.
However, as Austin’s workforce continues to grow and its office inventory continues to be outpaced by demand, Central Austin has started to see several office projects break ground, with several more on the way.
In this article, we detail four office developments currently underway in Central Austin.
1. Mueller Business District – Alpha
Address: 1900 Aldrich St.
Size: 210,428 sf of office, 26,000 sf of retail
Although technically located east of IH-35, the Mueller neighborhood has separated itself from what is typically considered East Austin. Built on the site of Austin’s old airport, its vibrant neighborhood, high population density and rapid growth has turned Mueller into a district of its own.
While there have been a handful of build-to-suit and smaller suite office developments in the neighborhood, the Mueller Business District, and specifically Alpha Building, presents the market with the first multi-tenant office opportunity of this scale in Mueller.
Alpha Building, the first of four planned buildings in the Mueller Business District, is currently under construction. The building will offer 210,428 sf of Class A office space across six stories. The project broke ground in November 2019 and is expected to deliver in 1Q 2021.
The Mueller Business District is comprised of three sites along Aldrich Street and Mueller Boulevard, with plans for a total of four buildings: Alpha, Bravo (+/- 235,000 sf of office), Charlie and Delta (+/- 350,000 sf of office combined).
The development is located at the heart of the Mueller neighborhood, along the bustling Aldrich Street District. The Alpha site is just across the street from the Alamo Drafthouse, B.D. Riley’s and the planned Origin Hotel.
Shorenstein is developing the project, and AQUILA Commercial is handling the leasing.
2. Austin Energy Headquarters
Address: 4815 Mueller Blvd.
Size: 275,000 sf
Another major office project is also currently underway in the Mueller neighborhood.
Austin Energy will be moving its employees out of their current offices along Barton Springs Road and Ben White Boulevard and into this new development once it is completed in 2021. The city expects to house roughly 1,100 employees at this location, many of which will likely take advantage of the numerous single and multifamily housing options within Mueller and the surrounding area.
According to Community Impact, Catellus Development Corp. sold the land to the city and is developing the project. The project is anticipated to cost $150 million and is expected to save the city $30 million over the next 30 years by avoiding leasing costs that would normally be incurred.
This type of build-to-suit development is more similar to what we’ve seen in Mueller before.
3. Highland 3
Address: 523 E Highland Blvd
Size: 250,000 sf
The Highland Mall redevelopment is an 81-acre project anticipated to bring 800,000 sf of office space, 150,000 sf of retail, 1,200 residential units and 1.25 miles of trails to Austin’s Highland neighborhood. Since 2014, the project has also been home to ACC’s Highland campus.
Highland 3 is one of four office developments planned for the project, and the only one currently under construction as of this writing. All 250,000 sf have been leased to the City of Austin’s Planning and Development department, with the project expected to deliver in spring 2020. Highland 2 and 4 are anticipated to break ground in 2020, with estimated delivery dates of 2Q 2022 and 3Q 2021, accordingly. Highland 1 is currently being offered as a land deal with development options up to 500,000 sf and is estimated to deliver in 2Q 2022.
RedLeaf Properties is handling the masterplan design of the area.
4. The Grove 1 & 2
Address: 4301 Bull Creek Rd. & 2117 Perseverance Dr.
Size: 180,939 sf of office, 21,237 sf of retail
The Grove is a 75-acre mixed-use development that will feature 140,000 sf of retail, 1,098 multi-family units, 20 acres of greenspace and more.
The project will also include 180,939 sf of Class A office space, spread across The Grove 1 (134,114 sf) and The Grove 2 (46,825 sf of office, 21,237 sf of retail). Both buildings are currently under construction and expected to deliver in 1Q 2020 and there have been no leases announced as of this writing.
Milestone Community Builders is developing this extensive project, located along Bull Creek Road between 35th and 45th streets.
The City of Austin also plans to improve the intersection at 45th Street and Bull Creek Road in anticipation of the increased activity in the area once the project is complete.
What’s interesting about these developments is that they’re not stand-alone office buildings, but rather pieces of much larger master-planned communities in accessible locations that will be stout competitors for the CBD. The emergence of these live-work-play communities presents developers and tenants alike with a new opportunity for office in prime parts of the city.
It will be interesting to see if more developments pop up in other areas following this trend.