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As Tesla, Apple draw people to Austin, the office market proves to be one of the hottest in the US

Demand for office space in Austin has hit a record high in the early part of this year and placed the capital city as one of the top markets in the U.S. for office development.

According to a new report by real estate group CBRE, competition for offices has surged average asking rates to more than $53 per square foot in Austin. This is the first time rates were more than $50 since the company began tracking in 1989.

Aside from office and building space analysis, the report says the overall economic health of the Austin metro is “robust” with an unemployment rate lowering since March 2021 and population growth that’s come with company relocations and expansions.

CBRE says this trend has been spearheaded by Apple’s Northwest Austin campus and Tesla’s gigafactory which held its grand opening last week. And it won't slow down anytime soon. The report goes on to mention Oxford Economics data that forecasts a population increase of roughly 243,000 people over the next five years.

“Following two disruptive years, the Austin office market is bouncing back from the COVID-induced slump,” the report says. “As daily COVID cases continued to decline substantially in Austin, there has been an uptick in employees returning to the workplace in early 2022.”

The tech industry has driven a return to the office lately. Kastle Systems’ back to work barometer shows the Austin metro at 63% occupancy, a slight increase from late March. Just this week, Apple joined other tech giants like Meta with easing employees out of remote work.

The tech boom has also contributed to developers’ interest in multi-use skyscrapers downtown and is where many of the new towers under construction are located.

In total, there are 30 projects totaling 5.8 million square feet of office space under construction. But CBRE reports that downtown accounts for 39% of the market’s new office construction. Just below that is East Austin, which accounts for 35% of new office construction.

Other highlights from the report include a drop in vacancy and the sublease market contracting, CBRE says.


Austin's airport consumer satisfaction drops from a year ago, below Texas peers

(Austin-Bergstrom International Airport/Twitter)

Flyers are less satisfied with the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport than a year ago, a new study shows.

Research firm J.D. Power placed ABIA at No. 15 on a list ranking overall customer satisfaction at large airports, a slip from last year’s spot at No. 7. Other Texas airports secured rankings ahead of Austin, with Dallas Love Field at third, Houston Hobby at eight, and San Antonio International Airport at ninth.

Dallas/Ft. Worth ranked eight in the "mega airport" category.

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1923 Lake Austin mansion demolition request pitting preservationists and some neighbors against owner and city preservation office
Austin Monitor

By Jonathan Lee

The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.

The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'

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