Rollingwood construction starts nearly 15 years after purchase
For the past 15 years Endeavor Real Estate Group has owned a tract of land off Bee Caves Road in Rollingwood. The company has been waiting to develop the property, known as Rollingwood Center, Endeavor Vice President Travis Dunaway said.
Dunaway said the real estate group wanted to be very cautious of developing on the tract—which is planned for office buildings—because the location is such a visible site.
“We have owned the site for a really long time, but things just didn’t jive at the right time,” he said. “Office development can be tricky, and this is a unique and special piece of land. Any misstep we have with the property will be blown up by how visible it is. That is why we have waited as long as we have, which is pretty contrary to how developers usually think.”
Dunaway said the development was almost built around 2006, but things didn’t feel right. He said he is now glad the company waited. Mira Vista Shopping Center, the last major development project in the city, was built in 2006.
“Now employees look at a building’s location and amenities as much as they look at salary,” he said. “In retrospect it was a blessing to wait this long [to begin the project].”
The location, which Dunaway says will serve as the gateway to Rollingwood, is near downtown Austin, has access to Zilker Park and could allow many employees to ride a bicycle to work.
The 18-acre site, located off Bee Caves Road near BB&T Bank, will be completed in two phases. Construction on the project began Feb. 17. Dunaway said the second phase of the build does not have an estimated start date, but the first phase is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2015.
The first phase consists of two office buildings—a 155,000-square-foot, four-story building and a 60,000-square-foot, two-story building—as well as a four-story sunken parking garage to preserve the office views, Endeavor Principal Jason Thumlert said.
Dunaway said LatinWorks and Heritage Title Company of Austin Inc., will occupy space in the estimated $50 million build, but he is also in talks with additional businesses.
“We have a second piece of land, but right now our focus is on the two office buildings,” he said.
Thumlert said keeping the natural, rural setting is important to Endeavor, which spent more than $100,000 on tree relocation.
The entrance to the development at BB&T Bank will be a signalized intersection to help with potential traffic issues, Dunaway said.
Effect on Rollingwood
When Endeavor originally purchased the property and presented a site plan to the city, residents of Timberline Drive opposed potential commercial development that may have included a hotel, Rollingwood Alderman Joe Basham said.
After a near decade-long lawsuit, all parties agreed on a planned unit development, or PUD, agreement that would only allow for office development, Dunaway said.
“There is also a 100-foot buffer of green space [between the development and Timberline Drive],” he said. “I think once the project is completed, [residents] will like it.”
As the project progresses, any changes to the development and the PUD agreement must be approved by Rollingwood City Council, Thumlert said.
Dunaway said the city will benefit from more than just the development’s aesthetics.
“There is a huge trickle-down effect,” he said. “When Rollingwood got Trader Joe’s, the pieces started to come together. Hopefully this is the last piece of that revenue puzzle and can help generate some significant sales tax.”
Basham said he is excited for the project and thinks the city should focus more on economic development and projects that generate sales tax.
“The project will help the city immensely in reducing sewer costs and potential tax revenue,” he said. “Additionally there are a lot of cool things the city could be doing in line with this project.”