Prime property

Lakefront property near downtown Austin sails onto market for first time in 20 years

Lakefront property near downtown Austin sails onto market

Sherry Matthews Building
Sherry Matthews Group has owned the building for almost 20 years. Google Street View

Situated at a high-traffic corner just south of downtown Austin, the lakefront headquarters of Sherry Matthews Group, a marketing and advertising firm, is up for sale.

Sherry Matthews Group bought the 7,500-square-foot building, at 200 S. Congress Ave., in 2001. Nearly 20 years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the agency to put the 1950s-era building on the market. The red-stucco structure sits along Lady Bird Lake between the Hyatt Regency Austin and the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. It’s across South Congress from the headquarters of the Austin American-Statesman.

Robert Nash, a spokesman for the firm, says Sherry Matthews Group is selling the property “because the pandemic taught the agency that employees can flourish working remotely.” Letting employees do their jobs remotely puts the brakes on commuting to the office, improves their quality of life, and reduces the firm’s carbon footprint, he says.

“We’re an agency that’s worked on a lot of environmental issues over the years,” Nash says, “so this was an opportunity to be like, ‘Whoa, we can practice what we preach.’”

Clients of the firm, founded in 1983, include the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of State Health Services, CapMetro, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and Washington State Department of Transportation.

Since the pandemic triggered workplace shutdowns in March, all 60 of the agency’s employees in Austin have been working remotely, according to Nash. That will largely be the case going forward, even after Sherry Matthews Group finds a new home. Nash says the firm hopes to relocate to a smaller office somewhere near the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail along Lady Bird Lake.

The current remote-work arrangement has “worked out so well,” Nash says. “It’s worked out better than anyone could have imagined.”

Commercial real estate broker Michael Bullard, principal of Austin-based Dovetail Commercial Real Estate, is marketing the building for Sherry Matthews Group. Bullard is no stranger to properties along South Congress, having represented the landlords of stores occupied by YETI, Kendra Scott, Maufrais, and Tom’s Roasting Co. YETI’s flagship store is adjacent to the Sherry Matthews Group space.

The Sherry Matthews Group property, including a little more than half an acre of land, doesn’t have a list price.

Bullard says the site is one of an estimated eight commercially zoned properties in the pocket of South Austin between I-35 and MoPac Expressway. He outlines these highlights of the property:

  • Private access to the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail
  • “Incredible views” of downtown
  • Ample onsite parking

Bullard envisions an office or retail user buying the property. Or, he says, a real estate developer might purchase it and either add on to the existing structure or bulldoze the structure and construct a new one.

“Sherry has been turning down offers on the site from developers for two decades,” Bullard says.