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Meta, TikTok and Google offices are just the beginning of tech’s takeover in downtown Austin

Renderings of towers coming to downtown Austin. (Neoscape, Williams New York and TMRW.SE)

In recent weeks, it’s been one downtown tower announcement after another. A 675-foot skyscraper on W. Sixth Street, a 65 story tower on East 2nd Street, and just east of the Frost Bank Tower, a 46-story office building with a sky garden.

While many of the new announcements come with mentions of restaurants or retail that families, students and legislators may enjoy, these buildings in downtown show an Austin that’s trying to keep up with more companies bringing their workers to the capital city.

Tyler Buckler, principal at Cielo Property Group, which is behind the tower with a sky garden, said that the office market in Austin is being driven by big tech. Cielo's tower will come fitted with a public paseo and waterfall spilling into a sunken garden to create an environment beneficial to the future tenant's mental health.

A rendering of the 46-story Perennial office tower planned to open in 2025. (TMRW.SE)

The tower brings the nature incorporated in Silicon Valley's massive big tech campuses with the amenities of being downtown, since Buckler said that is what tenants want.

“They're coming to Austin to go to downtown Austin because it has all the things that everybody knows are so amazing and great about downtown, which is not only live music, and great food and bar scenes,” Buckler said. “But it's also hey, we got a big awesome trail and lake in the middle of downtown, and we have all the things that really make Austin this unique city center for America.”

Brad Stein, president of real estate developer Intracorp building a new tower on Rainey Street, also mentioned tech’s influence and the return to work.

"When you see Facebook taking 600,000 square feet in one building, it tells us there’s still a lot of companies that want to have a presence in Austin,” Stein said.

Intracorp's One Oak groundbreaking (Sandra Dahdah)

He talked to Austonia after the company broke ground on a new development last week. Another they have in the works is what's set to be the second-largest tower that'll include a Hilton Conrad hotel and above that, condos where residents will have access to a fitness studio, pool and spa.

Stein described the workforce living and coming to Austin as “energetic, active and educated.”

“They want an urban lifestyle. They want to live close to downtown or in downtown,” Stein said. “And there’s not—if you look at it from a supply standpoint—there’s not a ton. There are some apartments and some condos, but there’s just not a ton. So we’re under-supplied from a residential standpoint for all the people that are moving and continuing to move to Austin.”

He said it used to be the case that startups and semiconductor companies moved into spaces outside of Austin. But now, he says, workers want easy access to downtown.

From 2010 to 2020, he said the growth in Austin was akin to a hockey stick on a graph, and since 2020, it went straight up.

“It’s exponential because there have been clear winners and losers that have come out of the pandemic in terms of cities, and Austin is a clear winner,” Stein said.

For some Austinites worried about rising rents there’s a question of whether this growth is a win. Developers mentioned feeling the perception that they’re changing Austin from the outside. And though they’re backed by a large North American developer, Stein said he’s lived in Austin for 20 years and pointed to his teammate who grew up in Austin.

“It’s a very local team that’s intentional about the communities we live in and our families live in,” Stein said.


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(Bob Daemmrich)

Embattled incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton beat out Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Tuesday in the Republican primary runoff as Texas GOP voters picked a beleaguered candidate with legal and personal scandals over the last remaining Bush to serve in public office. Decision Desk called the race early for Paxton, about 40 minutes after polls closed.

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(Uvalde ISD)

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