Austin’s second downtown
Massive 6 million-square-foot development breaking ground in North Austin neighborhood
A massive mixed-use development that’ll be a next-door neighbor of the Domain complex is taking shape in North Austin.
Philadelphia-based Brandywine Realty Trust plans to kick off construction in mid-2020 on the initial component of what’s envisioned as a more than 6 million-square-foot mixed-use development at its Broadmoor campus. The campus — currently anchored by about 800,000 square feet of offices for IBM but lacking a mixed-use element — is on Burnet Road just south of North MoPac Boulevard, across from the Domain and Domain Northside.
The first parcel set to be developed will house 330,000 square feet of offices and about 300 apartments on almost 5 acres. Completion is scheduled for the first half of 2022. Brandywine has forecasted that the entire project should be completed by 2036 and will eventually include shops, restaurants, condos, and a hotel.
Brandywine promotes the Broadmoor development as being at the “heart” of Austin’s “second downtown.”
“Brandywine is creating a true, urban, prototypical live-work-play environment in Broadmoor with fantastic connectivity and vibrancy, a tremendous draw for Austin’s deep and growing talent pool,” says Barry Haydon, senior vice president of JLL, which recently was tapped as the retail leasing adviser for the project.
Brandywine gained zoning approval from the Austin City Council in May 2018 to develop Broadmoor. The project also will feature over 10 acres of parkland, as well as access to more than 23 miles of existing and planned jogging trails and bike routes.
A key selling point of the 66-acre Broadmoor complex, however, will be a new MetroRail stop.
“We do think that a differentiating factor … at Broadmoor is obviously drafting off the amenity base that’s in place at the Domain,” Brandywine President and CEO Jerry Sweeney told Wall Street analysts in July.
Seeking an alternative to costlier office space in Austin’s traffic-clogged downtown area, major office tenants like Amazon, Blackbaud, Facebook, Indeed, and Vrbo (formerly HomeAway) have helped drive up the popularity of the Domain and the adjacent Domain Northside.
A Broadmoor marketing brochure shows the new construction will comprise:
- 3.2 million square feet of offices (equivalent to about six Frost Bank towers).
- 2.9 million square feet of apartments (equivalent to nearly 12 Gallery at Domain apartment complexes).
- 382,000 square feet of retail space (close to one-third the size of Lakeline Mall).
- 248,000 square feet of hotel space (nearly one-sixth the size of Fairmont Austin, the city’s largest hotel by number of rooms).
Eventually, another 5 million square feet of space might be tacked onto the Broadmoor project, Brandywine says. If that were to happen, the campus would exceed 11 million square feet. By comparison, the Pentagon — the world’s largest office building — covers about 6.6 million square feet.
Already on the Broadmoor site are seven office buildings, occupied mostly by IBM. Sweeney says options for IBM’s long-term presence at Broadmoor include renewing the lease for its current space or shifting its offices to a brand-new building.
At one point, the Broadmoor site was touted as a possible location for Amazon’s second headquarters. Austin was a finalist for the so-called Amazon HQ2 project, but the economic prize wound up going to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Eric DeJernett, senior vice president in the Austin office of commercial real estate services company CBRE, says the Major League Soccer stadium planned for a site at Burnet Road and Braker Lane is further evidence of the mixed-use potential of the Domain vicinity.
The Burnet and Braker corridors “are already dense with development and attracting more and more uses,” DeJernett says, “as the Domain anchors the area as a true mixed-use hub in North Austin. It is clear that the area in and around the Domain is becoming Austin’s second urban area.”