Lab Space and Apartments Coming To ACC Highland Campus

January 28, 2015 by Kate Harrington

New details about the future of the Highland Mall redevelopment emerged last week, revealing that lab space and apartments will be part of the next phase.

The first phase of the Highland Mall project saw about 200,000 square feet of former retail space converted to instructional space for Austin Community College, one of the partners leading the redevelopment. That space, once a JC Penney, is now home to the ACCelerator computer lab.

Now the remaining retailers and restaurants in the former mall are moving out, and the mixed-use campus is moving ahead.

The Austin Business Journal reports that ACC President and CEO Richard Rhodes has said that wet lab space, commercial space geared toward biotech companies, and possibly a “biotech incubator element” could be part of the next phase.

Matt Whelan, a principal with RedLeaf Properties, a partner in the Highland Mall redevelopment, said that dirt will also turn on some multifamily development this year. The site could eventually hold 1,200 residences, the ABJ says.

San Antonio-based Rackspace is also poised to play a large role in the ACC Highland campus. Word came out last fall that Rackspace plans to move its Austin operations to the Highland space, bringing 600 existing employees with a potential for 500 more. That deal is still in negotiations, but expected to move forward.

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Written by Kate Harrington

Kate is a former reporter, most recently for the Austin Business Journal, where she covered real estate, economic development and transportation. Since 2010 she has been running Thumbtack Communications. Thumbtack provides writing, editing and marketing services. Before moving to Austin in 2002 Kate lived in her native New England, which she still visits often to escape the Texas heat.