Heading north

Tech company unlocks massive headquarters in Austin's new 'uptown'

Tech company unlocks massive headquarters in Austin's new 'uptown'

Homeaway domain offices
The new space serves as a "living lab" for future offices. Photo courtesy of HomeAway
Homeaway domain offices
Bistro seating at the HomeAway office.  Photo courtesy of HomeAway
Homeaway domain offices
A conference room. Photo courtesy of HomeAway
Homeaway domain offices
The exterior. Photo courtesy of HomeAway
Homeaway domain offices
Homeaway domain offices
Homeaway domain offices
Homeaway domain offices

On July 31, Austin-based vacation rental giant HomeAway unveiled a new 20,000-square-foot office in the Domain. HomeAway executives say this office will be a “living laboratory” for design concepts being evaluated for its eventual 16-story office tower currently under construction.

Though the new offices will only house 140 employees to start, the vacation rental giant's eventual tower, set to open 2019, will complement the company’s current five-story office in Domain Northside. Together, the three North Austin offices will serve as the global headquarters of HomeAway, an Expedia subsidiary. The 315,000-square-foot tower alone will contain room for more than 2,000 HomeAway employees.

“Simply put, we can’t build offices fast enough to accommodate the number of employees we’re hiring,” says Tina Weyand, chief product officer at HomeAway.

“After we outgrew our former headquarters within three years of opening its doors, we decided to look in North Austin for a place where we could build a true HomeAway campus to serve us for years to come,” Weyand adds. “With its ample space, welcoming vibe and great places to live, work and play, the Domain was a natural fit for our rapidly growing team.”

Attracting high-profile tenants like HomeAway is further evolving this North Austin neighborhood into what’s been dubbed Austin’s “second downtown” or, more recently, Austin’s “uptown.”  And like it or not, the Domain and its “uptown” neighbors are looking and feeling more like Silicon Valley these days.

The area encompassing the Domain, the adjacent Domain Northside and the nearby Broadmoor office complex — whose key arteries include Burnet Road, West Braker Lane and North MoPac Expressway — is an ever-strengthening magnet for growing operations of major employers like HomeAway, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, and Indeed.

“Better than most developments, the Domain excels at providing options for many demographic types — young, old, millennial, single, married, families,” says William Mellor, vice president of Austin-based economic development consulting firm AngelouEconomics. “Quite simply, the Domain is an easy place to be. That has enabled the Domain to become as successful as it has at attracting major companies.”

Another Austin company in a similar growth mode is Indeed. To hold some of the thousands of employees being added in Austin, the job website will occupy an entire 11-story office tower that’s being built at the Domain. Indeed is expected to move into the building later this year.

As it stands now, the Domain, Domain Northside, and Broadmoor offer more than 2.7 million square feet of office space, according to the Austin Business Journal. But millions more square feet of offices are on the way, including a plan by Broadmoor owner Brandywine Realty Trust to add close to 5 million square feet of mixed-use space — including about 2 million more square feet of offices — to the 66-acre site.

Brandywine has promoted Broadmoor as a potential site for the second headquarters of Amazon. Austin is one of 20 finalists for the $5 billion HQ2 project, which envisions employing as many as 50,000 people.

Adjacent to the Broadmoor complex is Charles Schwab’s new 50-acre campus. In the not-too-distant future, the campus will be home to 2,600 Charles Schwab employees.

“As the labor market continues to tighten in Austin,” Mellor says, “companies need every angle to be able to attract top talent, and being located in developments like the Domain presents the perfect opportunity.”