Developer Doug Launius said he knew 10 years ago that Southeast Austin was a place to invest: it's close to downtown and the airport; the land is relatively affordable; it is served by three major roadways—SH 71, SH 130 and FM 973; and the rolling hills are beautiful.
"It really is much closer [to Central Austin] than most people think," said Launius, principal of the Southeast Austin-focused development firm Marketplace Real Estate.
Marketplace owns some 900 acres in the area, including the site of a forthcoming 7-million-square-foot mixed-use development called Velocity, which is about a mile away from the site of Tesla's recently announced $1.1 billion Gigafactory.
Launius welcomes its arrival, which a local industry expert said will speed development—and the growth of property value—in the area.
"Tesla opening their factory … is going to accelerate the growth in the area and help us bring the services, the grocery stores, and all the things that we want to do to the area more quickly," he said.
(The above map shows the approximate sites of the Austin Green (north) and Velocity (south) developments. The blue marker is near the entrance to the Tesla site.)
The area southeast of Austin began developing over the last five to seven years for a number of reasons, including rising property costs within the city limits and the construction of SH 130, which improved mobility in the area, said Eldon Rude, principal of the local consulting firm 360 Real Estate Analytics.
"A lot of it has to do with its proximity to Austin, relative to some other suburban areas, and the ability to buy land, develop and build homes that are affordable, if you will, for first-time and first move-up homebuyers," he said.
This growth includes Velocity, which plans to build 2,683 units of multifamily housing, 2.9 million square feet of office space and 42 acres of parks; H-E-B, which bought 16 acres in the development in 2016; and Austin Community College, which owns 124 acres adjacent to the development and plans to build a regional workforce center.
There is also the Austin Green development, from the local development firm GroundWork, which began the process of securing City Council approval for the 2,100-acre project earlier this year. As proposed, it would include 12,000 residential units as well as retail, office, industrial, medical and park space—and now, with Elon Musk's announcement last week, the Tesla factory.
The Tesla effect
Rude expects the factory to further development in the area, as a new workforce—first the construction workers who build the factory and then the employees who work there—drives up demand for housing and other services. Tesla's suppliers may also move to the region, compounding the effect.
This will likely affect the area's affordability, Rude said, and prompt more investment, such as an expansion of DVISD and the arrival of big-box stores.
For Launius, Tesla's arrival is proof of the area's appeal. "We say it's like throwing gas on the fire. The fire was already burning out there pretty strong, and then Tesla comes [and] announces," he said. "I think it's only going to be beneficial for Southeast Austin and Del Valle."
Want to read more stories like this one? Start every day with a quick look at what's happening in Austin. Sign up for Austonia.com's free daily morning email.
- Travis County offers Tesla incentives for Austin Gigafactory - austonia ›
- Del Valle ISD OKs Tesla tax deal for Austin factory - austonia ›
- Work underway on Tesla's Austin Gigafactory site - austonia ›
- Elon Musk says $1.1 billion Tesla factory will be in Austin - austonia ›
- Elon Musk seeks to fast-track $1.1 billion Tesla factory in Austin ... ›
- Tech company Auctane signs lease at new Austin development - austonia ›
- Tesla files site plan for Austin Gigafactory - austonia ›
- scenic austin from sunrise to sunset - austonia ›
- scenic Austin nature and skyline from sunrise to sunset - austonia ›
- Austin rolls out speed limit changes and 14 other projects to slow down motorists - austonia ›
- Tesla files plans to build batteries at Austin Gigafactory - austonia ›
- Austin plans Health South redevelopment as part of inno district - austonia ›
- Tesla to build new showroom in south Austin - austonia ›
As Austin's "icepocalypse" melts into the rearview mirror, though day-to-day life has mostly resumed, the city has a long, arduous recovery process ahead. It seems as though no area was immune to the damage inflicted by the historic winter storm.
- It's snowing! Here's what that looks like in Austin - austonia ›
- Photos: Winter storm brings power outages, snow to Austin - austonia ›
- Snow day: power outages, icy roads and school closures - austonia ›
Austin restaurateurs say supporting Black-owned businesses shouldn't be a 'fad' but a year-round effort
After the devastating blow of the pandemic, Emojis Grilled Cheese Bar owner Hope Green saw a surge in sales last summer. The outpouring of community support for Black-owned businesses came in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. But for Emojis the support has been fleeting.
- Restaurant industry on the brink in Austin and nationally - austonia ›
- Austin restaurants and businesses struggle due to COVID-19 ... ›
- Austin black-owned restaurants see support after protests - austonia ›
Scheduled showers, porta potties and hotel stays: Hundreds of Austin apartment complexes still don't have water
The last night Stephanie Landgraf, 25, spent in her apartment, off of Rundberg Lane, was on Valentine's Day. First, her power went off, only to return shortly after the complex lost water. Since then, she's been staying with friends. "There's no end in sight," she told Austonia. "At this point, I'm just angry."
- As reservoirs begin to refill, two zones regain water supply - austonia ›
- Austin faces 'multi-day' water crisis after winter weather - austonia ›
- Water distribution plan continues as Austin Water works to restore ... ›