Ever since he and his family moved to Austin, commercial real estate developer Joe Llamas had his eye on a small parcel just south of Lady Bird Lake. He said he envisioned transforming the currently nondescript site into an eye-popping property that would help define the future of the community.
Llamas, who is president of Generational Commercial Properties, is seeing his vision turn to reality, after pursuing the property over a four-year span of time. In late June, he anticipates groundbreaking for a new 90,500-square- foot, five-story office building, 801 Barton Springs.
Plans within the development also call for a 1,800-square- foot restaurant on the first floor of the building.
The aptly named development is at 801 Barton Springs Road, near the Palmer Events Center and situated between Congress Avenue and Lamar Boulevard. The property affords unique views of Lady Bird Lake and the Downtown Austin skyline, both of which Llamas said he plans on touting as marketing efforts pick up steam.
“The project is located in the cultural heart and soul of Austin,” Llamas said.
Llamas has not publicly disclosed the purchase price for the 0.8-acre parcel, which was listed by Austin-based AQUILA Commercial. He said the acquisition will be a welcome addition to his company’s portfolio, but in the same breath also said this project is personally gratifying.
“I’m very excited; this is something that means a lot to me,” Llamas said. “Architecturally, I think this is going to be a project a lot of people are going to be proud of. It’s going to be a trophy for the south side of the city.”
With the countdown to actual construction fast approaching, Llamas and his staff have assembled a robust team, including architects Runa Workshop; structural engineering firm Architectural Engineers Collaborative; Bay and Associates; and Halff Associates.
HTZ Investments, of Houston, is providing financial support to bring the project to fruition.
Carl Williams, senior designer with Runa Workshop, said the architectural design process has entailed looking at Austin’s uniqueness and character and taking such philosophies into a forward-thinking mindset.
“The building concept is to allow the dynamic forms and flows indicative of local streams to inform the building architecture,” Williams said. “The architectural language of the project is derived the systems and structures of a Texas stream, overlaid on the building.”
The building design, Williams said, is partially inspired by the natural characteristics of limestone riparian ledges.
While architectural design is taking center stage in 801 Barton Springs, so too is environmental sustainability, by Llamas’ account. The project will have LEED certification, he said, in part because of some of the infrastructure that will be installed during construction.
Between a state-of- the-art HVAC system and a variable refrigeration component to the interior design, Llamas said the features will “bring our environmental costs down dramatically,” when compared to traditional interior infrastructure. Plans also call for leaning heavily on natural lighting once the building is operational.
“We’re going to be using locally sourced materials to build it,” Llamas said. “(Building materials) are going to be coming from nearby quarries, so that’s going to cut down on transportation costs.”
Llamas is marketing 801 Barton Springs as a Class A office building — a nod, in large part, to its location to other commercial and cultural amenities. Even though dirt has yet to be pushed to make way for the project, Llamas said he already has received calls from interested suitors.
Based on the current project timeline, Llamas said the goal is to wrap construction during the second quarter of 2017 and have the first spate of tenants move in by fall of next year.