UPDATE: 1:15 p.m. 7/17/15

Austin Community College confirmed the sale between the school district and RedLeaf Properties LLC and Greystar Real Estate Partners has been finalized. RedLeaf Properties will develop 4.4 acres of former Highland Mall parking lot into mixed-use space and residential units, which will be managed by Greystar.


A new mixed-use apartment complex outside the former Highland Mall will break ground this fall and open by 2017, the project's developer announced this week.

Austin Community College board trustees on July 6 approved a deal between the school and RedLeaf Properties LLC, enabling the Austin-based group to redevelop space outside the ACC Highland Campus, which opened its first phase last fall. The second phase of the Highland Mall redevelopment project is now underway and is expected to be complete by summer 2019.

But before ACC reopens the main section of the former mall, RedLeaf Properties will complete construction on a 300-unit apartment project that includes 30 affordable units and approximately 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Charleston, S.C.-based Greystar Real Estate Partners will manage the new apartments as part of a partnership with RedLeaf Properties, and Michael Hsu Office of Architecture will design the four- and five-story buildings in Phase I.

RedLeaf Properties principal Matt Whelan told Community Impact Newspaper in April he expects the first phase of complementary development outside the ACC Highland Campus to be complete by mid-2017. His company has an agreement with ACC to eventually build complementary development on all the surrounding parking lots, a process he said will be completed during the next 10 years. The end result, Whelan said, will be up to 1,200 residential units, 200 hotel rooms, 800,000 square feet of office space and 150,000 square feet for retailers.

"If the Austin economy continues to enjoy the success it's had over the last several years, I think construction will be pretty rapid," Whelan said in April. "One phase will kind of quickly follow another."

The projects will be densely built and pedestrian-friendly, he said, so ACC students can benefit from the adjoining retail and office space. However, the first phase of development will not include student housing, Whelan said previously, although he does expect and invite students to lease available units.

Whelan's effort to redevelop the mall parking lots come at the same time surrounding retail complexes are also being repurposed. The former Lincoln Village, for example, was renamed The Linc and attracted new tenants, such as Vivo Tex-Mex restaurant, Lima Criolla Authentic Peruvian Cuisine and Pisco Bar, and a second location of Easy Tiger Bake Shop. There is no word yet on what retail tenants might occupy the new RedLeaf Properties project.

ACC's legal team told board trustees the deal between the school district and RedLeaf Properties should be finalized by July 10. ACC has not yet revealed how much RedLeaf Properties intends to pay for the property.