By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Most of the commercial construction at River Place is moving along at a steady clip — new doctor offices being built, a new Montessori school breaking ground soon and a well-known coffee shop in negotiations. In contrast, the Marriott hotel construction has slowed down considerably.
Four Points, and River Place in particular, is becoming a high-end medical draw, said Edward Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Trube & Associates LLC, a real estate development and commercial brokerage firm. He worked on the Texan Urgent Care building in River Place as well.
“This is a nice neighborhood with medical components to it. It’s about to have all the services you’d want right (in Four Points,)” said Johnson.
“It’s a really nice product out there. All the tenants love the River Place neighborhood and half the doctors seem to live out there,” Johnson said.
In mid-August, Dr. David Harris closed on the new building next to VIK Medical. Harris, of the Center For Healing And Regenerative Medicine, is taking the top floor of the approximate 15,500-square-foot, two story building. The building, which is the mirror image of VIK just flipped, is expected to be ready to move into by the end of the year.
“(Harris) is expanding his successful practice and relocating their headquarters to this building. He wanted to develop a nice building in one of the most prestigious parts of Austin and grow his practice and bring on more doctors,” Johnson said. Harris may be selling, leasing or keeping their current office space.
Johnson is also negotiating terms and conditions with prospective tenants for the bottom floor of this new building while still marketing remaining space.
“We have another practice that is complementary to Dr. Harris’ practice (that is looking at it)… and another practice that is looking at most of the rest (of the space,)” Johnson said.
Another doctor recently closed on a nearby parcel next to the future site of Harris. The doctor, who already has an office in Four Points, wants his own building, said Todd Dailey, commercial broker, co-founder and managing partner of Capella Commercial, which specializes in land and commercial development. Dailey owns the VIK building with Dr. Michael Vik.
The new 10,000-square-foot building is nearing completion of the shell construction. Interior construction will be going on after that. Dailey expects the building to be done by end of the year.
School in the Hills
Near these two buildings, Steiner Ranch-based School in the Hills bought 3.4 acres from Capella earlier this summer to build another school at River Place. The School in the Hills 14,000-square-foot facility is expected to break ground in the months ahead and be open by June 2015.
After starting with a total of 23 acres or so several years ago, now Capella has 5.1 acres left at River Place, which fronts RM 2222. Capella is currently working with a worldwide coffee shop for a portion of that acreage. “It looks promising,” Dailey said.
Then there would be about four acres left for retail and office development. “We’ve had tons of interest… office interest and retail interest,” Dailey said. “We’ll develop it or sell it to a developer.”
All of these new announcements come at the same time an older project — the Marriott hotel — progresses slowly.
The hotel Marriott Residence Inn, owned by California-based Pacifica Host Hotels, has been under construction in River Place for a long time.
“It was going to be a Marriott Courtyard. It’s been hard to get ahold of them. I have no idea what’s going on with (it). It’s dragging on. There are people working (but seems like they are) piddling around,” Dailey said.
Dailey did not broker the deal with the hotel, as it was done before he became involved in the River Place development. He does not know what the issues are with the slow progress of the construction of the hotel.
“If they really worked on it, it could be done by early first quarter or second quarter next year,” he said.
Pacifica confirmed last week that Sergio Sandoval is the project manager of the hotel but he has not returned multiple calls and messages left by Four Points News starting last spring.
Four Points News reported two years ago that sources said that Pacifica Riverplace LP was expected to have the 100-room hotel finished by the first quarter of 2013.
Along with the Marriott brand, Pacifica manages and owns over 30 hotel properties across the U.S. including Hilton, Holiday Inn and Wyndham.