What is it about East Austin that has tech companies salivating at the opportunity to open an office across I-35 from the CBD?
Is it the eclectic vibe the neighborhood provides or the bevy of coffee shops and bars that never seem to close?
What about the ease in which people can take the MetroRail to Plaza Saltillo or ride their bikes to work?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any those questions you would be right. Companies such as Oracle, Condé Nast, C3 Presents and Handsome have already made the jump across I-35.
Not only does East Austin provide all of those amenities, but it also offers reduced office rates relative to the CBD, free street parking from 8am-6pm in some locations and more affordable housing options.
CEO of Handsome, John Roescher, made the move to the East side years ago when his company originally was located at 501 Studios. “East Austin has been great for our creative workforce. Due to the low barrier to entry we’ve been able to not only establish ourselves as an entrepreneurial landmark, but we’ve been able to contribute to the community.” When Handsome leased their new office, located at 1000 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702, they installed a full size bar and a presentation area with stadium seating, allowing entrepreneurs the opportunity to mix, mingle and present their latest ideas. This functionality of Handsome’s office space not only supports their own company culture, but fosters the growth of East Austin’s entrepreneurial culture around them.
While Handsome is certainly one of the first-movers in the trending East side market, several other companies are being drawn to the area for many of the same reasons. Condé Nast and C3 Presents both signed leases at the Eastside Village last year, which was the latest mixed-use project to deliver. In terms of location, Eastside Village is hard to beat - just 1 mile from Rainey St., 2 miles from Lady Bird Lake, 2 miles from The University of Texas, 6 miles from the airport and across the street from the Plaza Saltillo MetroRail station.
Add in the luxury apartments and some of Austin’s hottest restaurants in the surrounding area and these companies have a true live-work-play environment to offer their employees.
While the area is rich in amenities, office product inventory is scarce with vacancy rates at 2.07%. This is due in large part to the challenges with assembling enough land to build sizeable projects and offer the necessary parking.
The good news is that new development is on the horizon. Nine buildings, totaling 1,034,952 SF, are being proposed in this market, however, developers will need pre-leasing to get the financing necessary to start these projects.
This requires tenants to commit to projects that won’t deliver until 2018 or beyond. While that takes time, forward-thinking businesses have the opportunity to get involved early to help shape this next wave of development and reap the rewards for being an early adopter.