Developers plan 220,000-square-foot Champion office project

In a nod to Austin’s promising economic future, Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate Group and Granite Properties plan to start construction soon on a 220,600-square foot office campus in northwest Austin — the first major office project to launch in the area in almost five years. 

Champion Office Park is slated for the northwest corner of RM 2222 and Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). The project will have two four-story buildings, one with 116,800 square feet and the other with 103,800 square feet, Endeavor officials told the American-Statesman. 

The project’s announcement comes as space in the local office market has been tightening across the Austin region due to healthy job growth, putting upward pressure on rents.

Bryce Miller, a founding principal with Endeavor, said the firm is taking a “measured and thoughtful risk” in starting the project without tenants lined up. 

“Our outlook for Austin’s future job growth is very optimistic, and we think it’s a prudent investment to make on Austin’s future,” Miller said. And as Austin continues its northwest growth, “we believe that the 360 corridor, while still rebounding from the economic recession, can handle this relatively small amount of new office inventory,” he said. 

Several other developers are poised to start office projects, but unlike Endeavor they are waiting until a sufficient number of tenants are signed on to secure financing. Endeavor and Granite, a commercial real estate investment and management company, will provide capital for the Champion project, although they aren’t disclosing its cost. 

Derek Land, regional managing partner of Stream Realty Partners, said last week that given the region’s job growth, which is particularly strong in the tech sector, the market is healthy enough to warrant several new projects breaking ground in the next 12 months. 

Jay Lamy with Austin-based Aquila Commercial said the local office market “has hit a point where more space availability would be good… to allow tenants to have more options.” And Endeavor being the first major new project to start could give it a competitive advantage, Lamy said. “Statistically, the first development to break ground coming out of a downturn in Austin typically finds itself in the success column, even if the market starts to slow down,” Lamy said.

The Champion campus is expected to open in September 2014, and prospective tenants could begin interior construction on their spaces as early as July 2014. Endeavor is developing the project, and Travis Dunaway and Jonathan Tate with the firm will handle the leasing. 

Designed by San-Antonio-based Overland Partners, the project will have a modern design and green-building features, with 65 percent of the site preserved as open space, its developers say. An exterior courtyard and plazas will have limestone pavers, boulders and landscaping to blend with the natural environment. The landscaping will feature more than 40 varieties of native grass, perennials, shrubs and trees – all irrigated from an innovative cistern system allowing the project to be independent from city irrigation water, the developers said. 

Miller said the project is expected to appeal to “traditional suburban tenants, technology and the creative office class.”

The last wave of major office space to start construction in Austin came in summer of 2008, when work began on 115,000-square-foot Capstar Plaza on West Fifth Street and 215,000-square-foot University Park at Interstate 35 and 32nd Street.

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