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Brokerage, Planning & Development, Investments, Consulting & Property Management

 

The Buzz - 2011

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Press Excerpts

After years of delays, construction in sight for areas in Seaholm District, official says
Austin American-Statesman
By Shonda Novak
October 18, 2011

Two long-awaited projects that developers say will help transform downtown Austin are poised to break ground next year, a city official said Tuesday.

After several years of delays due in part to a recession that dried up financing for development, construction is expected to start on redevelopment projects at the former Seaholm Power Plant and the site of the former Green Water Treatment Plant east of Seaholm, said Fred Evins, the city's project manager overseeing the public-private projects.

"The stars are aligning," Evins said.

The projects will transform the decommissioned plants on downtown's southwestern edge into lively hubs with shops, hotels, condominiums, apartments and other development.

The city hosted an open house for the public on the Seaholm District projects at Austin City Hall on Tuesday.

"I'm thrilled to see it move forward, because this will be a very exciting extension of our downtown into the southwest quadrant," Evins said.

City officials said the projects will put 13 acres of underutilized land back on the tax rolls. The land, along Cesar Chavez Street and stretching from Lamar Boulevard to San Antonio street, is the largest assemblage of city-owned acreage downtown remaining for potential redevelopment.

... Seaholm lead developer, Austin-based Southwest Strategies Group plans about 450,000 square feet of development at the 7.8-acre site. The landmark power plant will be renovated to house a special-events center, offices, shops and restaurants.

... Condos had been envisioned for the Seaholm site, but the high-rise will now feature "ground-floor retail with approximately 300 apartment units above," said John Rosato, principal with Southwest Strategies . A hotel is no longer planned as part of the Seaholm site, Rosato said.

Austin school district to mull offers to buy headquarters, Baker Center
Austin American-Statesman
http://www.statesman.com/news/local/austin-school-district-to-mull-offers-to-buy-1748798.html?cxtype=rss_ece_frontpage
By Laura Heinauer and Shonda Novak
August 16, 2011

The Austin school district has received two offers each on its West Sixth Street headquarters and Hyde Park-area administration building, both of which were put up for bids in May as the district faced major state funding cuts.

... Sales within the past couple of years of retail, residential and office properties in the area around Carruth support the minimum bid at the site, said Danny Roth, a principal with Southwest Strategies Group, which represents the district in the bid process.

The district has 120 days to respond. The Austin school board has the final say on whether to accept the bids.

"Part of the due diligence process will include understanding who the buyers are and their qualifications," Roth said. "The board will ultimately decide on how the district elects to proceed."

... The Baker property, which is unzoned, is valuable partly because of the amount of land on the site — nearly 4 acres — and because of its prime location in a well-established Central Austin neighborhood that includes many historical homes, Roth said.

The Carruth property, originally designed to be a mixed-use project has 128,000 square feet of space in five buildings of three or four stories each, plus 13 apartments. It was touted by Southwest Strategies as a possible corporate headquarters location.


HomeAway Keeps Growing, Expands in CIM Group's Penn Field Complex
CoStar Group
http://www.costar.com/News/Article/HomeAway-Keeps-Growing-Expands-in-CIM-Groups-Penn-Field-Complex/131220?ref=100&iid=244&cid=41AB2A5774666A471F2DE8AFC432BEE3
By CoStar Research
August 10, 2011

Continuing its rapid growth, Austin-based HomeAway, Inc., recently leased 26,170 square feet in the Penn Field complex on South Congress Ave.

Along with its headquarters at 1011 West Fifth Street and office space at 907 West Fifth Street, HomeAway plans to initially place about 110 of its 421 Austin-based personnel in the newly renovated space at 3601 South Congress by the end of this year.

Matt Frizzell and Brad Philp of Stream Realty Partners represented Los Angeles-based building owner CIM Group in the transaction. Daniel Roth and Mike Wiley of Austin's Southwest Strategies Group represented HomeAway.

 

Dirt may turn at Seaholm site next year
Mix of uses still in air; nearby land to change
Austin Business Journal
http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/print-edition/2011/07/29/dirt-may-turn-at-seaholm-site-next-year.html
By Cody Lyon , ABJ Staff
July 29, 2011

The Seaholm power plant redevelopment can proceed now that a major obstacle was removed, said John Rosato, a principal at Southwest Strategies Group and the spinoff it established for the project, Seaholm Power LLC. Now that Union Pacific Corp. agreed to release an easement of less than 1 acre to the city, Rosato's team hopes to complete its site plan with the city of Austin by year's end. The new target date for the 7.8-acre project's construction is mid-2012, he said.

The developers are "in due diligence mode" and "updating our plan," Rosato said, adding that Seaholm's height and scale will not change markedly. The Seaholm project was originally planned to have 80 condominiums, 160 hotel rooms, up to 60,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and 100,000 square feet of office space.




AISD puts two properties valued at $39.5M up for sale
Community Impact Newspaper
http://impactnews.com/northwest-austin/256-recent-news/12865-aisd-puts-two-properties-valued-at-395m-up-for-sale
By Kate Hull
May 19, 2011

Potential buyers have until Aug. 15 to make pre-bids. The minimum value for the two properties is slated for $39.5 million. The properties are considered two of the most valuable real estate assets in the district’s possession, according to Danny Roth with Southwest Strategies Group, an Austin-based brokerage firm.

The brokerage firm has been hired to assist the district in disseminating the bid package and property information for the two properties. AISD executive staff will evaluate all qualifying bids.

"The properties are as prime as prime properties get, and present special redevelopment opportunities in Austin's core," Roth said.

 

Austin School District Shopping Pair of Sites
CoStar
<http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Austin-School-District-Shopping-Pair-of-Sites/128871>http://www.costar.com/News/Article/Austin-School-District-Shopping-Pair-of-Sites/128871
By CoStar Research
May 18, 2011

Southwest Strategies Group, an Austin-based brokerage firm, has been retained to assist the District in disseminating bid packages and property information for the two properties. AISD’s executive staff will evaluate qualifying bids with its Board of Trustees ultimately making any final decisions regarding the property sales.

Danny Roth of Southwest Strategies Group said the properties are considered two of the most valuable real estate assets in the district’s possession and present special redevelopment opportunities in Austin’s core market. He also said bids for the two properties will be accepted individually, and deliberated upon separately.

AISD sells prime property in budget crisis
KVUE
http://www.kvue.com/news/AISD-sells-prime-property-in-budget-crisis-122198209.html
By Jade Mingus
May 18, 2011

"It was originally built in the 80s as a mixed-use project with retail, residential, and office, and I feel like it's ready to go back to that again," commercial realtor Danny Roth said.

Roth's firm, Southwest Strategies Group, is helping the district market the two properties. The second property is in Hyde Park on Avenue B, just east of Guadalupe Street. The minimum bid for the property is $7.5 million. It is known as the Baker Center. It  houses administration offices.

 

Austin ISD Buildings up for sale
KXAN
http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/aisd-buildings-up-for-sale
By Catenya McHenry
May 18, 2011

Southwest Strategies Group, an Austin-based brokerage firm, has been retained to assist the District in disseminating the Bid Package and property information for the two properties. All qualifying bids will be evaluated by AISD executive staff. AISD’s Board of Trustees will ultimately make any final decisions regarding acceptance or rejection of bids. The process will fully comply with state law regarding the sale of land by a governmental entity, which is designed to “stimulate competition, prevent favoritism, and secure the best price for the property.”

SWSG Principal Danny Roth notes the properties are considered two of the most valuable real estate assets in the District’s possession. He also said bids for the two properties will be accepted individually, and deliberated upon separately.

“While the District is facing tough financial times, this isn’t a fire sale, and it won’t be in the community’s best interest to sell if appropriate buyers don’t materialize,” Roth said. “The properties are as prime as prime properties get, and present special redevelopment opportunities in Austin’s core.”


Austin school district seeking bids for West Sixth Street headquarters, other office center
KUT News
http://www.kutnews.org/post/aisd-takes-steps-sell-downtown-headquarters-and-baker-center
By Nathan Bernier
May 18, 2011

“The property was originally built as a mixed use property with retail intended to be on the first floor and office and residential above and behind,” Southwest Strategies Group’s Danny Roth told KUT News. Southwest Strategies was hired to manage the bidding process. “I think that is prime now to return to that original use.”



Austin school district selling two buildings for about $40M
Austin Business Journal
http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2011/05/18/austin-school-district-selling-two.html
May 18, 2011

Southwest Strategies Group, a commercial real estate brokerage, is working with the district to manage the bid process and property information. All qualifying bids will be evaluated by AISD executive staff. The district's board of trustees will make any final decisions regarding the bids.

“While the district is facing tough financial times, this isn’t a fire sale, and it won’t be in the community’s best interest to sell if appropriate buyers don’t materialize,” SWSG Principal Danny Roth said.

 

Austin school district seeking bids for West Sixth Street headquarters, other office center
Austin American-Statesman
http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2011-05-13/off-the-record
By Laura Heinauer and Shonda Novak
May 17, 2011

The district has retained Southwest Strategies Group, an Austin commercial real estate firm, to manage the bidding process.

Danny Roth, a principal at the firm, said the properties are considered two of the district's most valuable real estate assets.

"While the district is facing tough financial times, this isn't a fire sale, and it won't be in the community's best interest to sell if appropriate buyers don't materialize," Roth said. "The properties are as prime as prime properties get, and present special redevelopment opportunities in Austin's core."

Today, bid packages will be available on the district and Southwest Strategies websites. Roth said his firm also will post the properties on commercial real estate databases.

Asked about the odds of an eventual sale of the properties, Roth said, "I'm hopeful, and I believe we will get some qualified responses."

... Roth said he expects the site to attract interest from investors as well as companies seeking a headquarters location near downtown.

"It's a spectacular piece of real estate, and there will be a tremendous amount of interest," said Jamil Alam, a principal with Endeavor Real Estate Group.

... Roth said the Baker property could attract interest from other schools, potential office users, nonprofits or religious entities.



Off the Record
Music News
http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2011-05-13/off-the-record
By Austin Powell
May 13, 2011

The Black Angels proved that their Austin Psych Fest could be the All Tomorrow's Parties of the South, a three-day, artist-curated rock & roll drone that proved as singular of mindset as the towering, historic confines of the Seaholm Power Plant where it took place two weeks ago.

Constructed of cast concrete in two phases in 1950 and 1955 and retired four decades later, the art deco-style former municipality was deemed ready for public reuse in January 2006, after a nine-year, $13 million remediation process. Since then, the city-owned facility has become a popular event destination for everything from last November's Hot Rod Revolution to the recent Fusebox Festival.

"It may not be the greatest sound in the world for most music," says prolific local composer and Fusebox performer Graham Reynolds, "but the environment trumps and every event is memorable."

"The inside of it is like an old European cathedral or a Roman Baths," furthers choreographer Sally Jacques, whose site-specific dance company, Blue Lapis Light, hosted Illumination there in October 2007, the first and by far the most legally challenging event in the space. "The sunlight that comes in there and the way that it radiates across the space is just magnificent."

... According to Gloria Aguilera of the Contract and Land Management Department, Seaholm will close at the end of the month for a series of site-intensive infrastructure projects, including the installation of wastewater lines on Cesar Chavez, which will take 18-24 months.

Those improvements will coincide with the redevelopment efforts of Seaholm Power LLC, a development consortium led by Southwest Strategies Group of Austin, whose Master Development Agreement with the city was approved by council in April 2008. The 7.8-acre site overhaul will include a 160-room boutique hotel, condos, an abundance of mixed-use space for retail and restaurants, plus two spaces on the south lawn and in the plaza for outdoor events. The renovation is scheduled to break ground next year and will last an estimated 24-28 months.

"One of the things that struck me about the building is that it's versatile and has a very broad appeal that can encompass even very formal events, " says John C. Rosato, a managing partner at Southwest Strategies Group. "We hope to continue that in the future.