By LESLEE BASSMAN, Four Points News
The former Walmart site near Grandview Hills is now the Preserve at 620 and it’s sporting a pocket park with outdoor seating, a dog run and state-of-the-art fitness center. The site offers tenants much more than just its 225,000-square-feet of office space.
The approximately $46.5 million project that renovates and expands the former superstore at 8201 N. RM 620 is nearing completion. In January, the site developer will welcome its first tenant, the corporate headquarters for automotive supplier Innovative Aftermarket Systems, said Aquila Commercial Senior Vice President Joe Simmons.
Aquila represents the owner of the complex, PacVentures Incorporated, that purchased the 39-acre tract and building in August 2016. Construction on the project began at the beginning of 2018.
“We felt like we had to completely transform the entire exterior of the project and create a much different feel and environment than probably what was there before, which was the Walmart,” Simmons said.
“We felt like it was a better office location than it was a big box retail location, primarily because it doesn’t have much visibility (from RM 620),” he added. “It’s more secluded and serene back there. The lot actually slopes toward the back. When you are on (RM) 620, you can’t even see the building, which is fine for office users because they prefer to have some seclusion and (backing) to greenbelt.”
Innovative Aftermarket Systems will relocate from Pecan Plaza off Highway 183 and RM 620 for the added space the new facility provides, Simmons said. IAS leased about 40,000-square-feet, leaving about 185,000 square feet available.
Simmons said his company is working to finalize another tenant interested in leasing 40,000-50,000-square-feet and a few other possible tenants are in the works for the remainder of the space.
Leasing interest for the complex has stemmed from a variety of companies, including technology businesses, especially those companies who desire more modern, open offices with modular furniture rather than private offices, he said.
The Preserve at 620 lends itself to larger tenants that need 40,000-square-feet or more because these companies value high ceilings and natural light, and this project features more than 100 skylights. Many larger tenants also want to maintain their employees on one floor rather than multiple floors, Simmons said.
Also, many tenants today are looking for numerous amenities. Commercial projects are incorporating more amenities now than they have historically because people want an area where employees can gather and have outlets rather than needing to get into a car to access them, Simmons said
“It’s an area where people can come and they have multiple areas where they can step out of the office and experience something that they may not be able to experience at other (office) locations,” Simmons said.
Originally the project was slated to open in April 2018 however, Simmons said the delay was due to the developers’ desire to upgrade the building to a nicer class of property than what was contemplated initially. He said the demographic, area and location of the project “dictated a higher class of property than a traditional flex building,” such as an industrial park that is “very vanilla” and less expensive to construct.
“We thought the demographic and type of tenant we wanted would be a higher quality tenant,” Simmons said. “It was too good of a location to do something to ‘cheap out.’”
Because the site is so large, a building expansion or the development of a separate additional building can be done but nothing of that nature is currently contemplated, he said.
At least 800 above ground parking spaces are planned and no parking garages, he said.
The project benefits local residents by providing a workspace within the community, cutting down on driving times in a congested area, Simmons said, citing two Brandywine Four Points/River Place office projects that are “quite full.”
“People are getting tired of having to drive into town because the traffic is so bad,” he said. “I think this serves a need. There’s a huge swath of people that are between Lakeway and (Highway) 183. Those people may have to commute all the way to downtown or Westlake or somewhere else and this gives them the opportunity to actually not have to make the commute.”
“The tenants that I’m familiar with in the area that are in Four Points and River Place — they really love it out that way,” Simmons said. “They’d rather be out there in that area than they would fighting the construction in downtown.”
Preserve at 620 complex includes:
- Indoor/outdoor courtyards,
- Sports court,
- Putting green and bocce ball area,
- Fitness center with showers and lockers,
- Open air park,
- Dog run,
- Two-story view deck overlooking the Balcones Canyon.