By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Construction is underway at Palo Verde, a new commercial development on 8-acres at Steiner Ranch Boulevard and N. Quinlan Park Road. The first phase is a two-story, 34,000-square-foot retail building which is expected to be open by the end of the year.
“We have two leases signed, one a dental office taking 2,900 square feet and a salon signed for 2,700 square feet,” said Wes Babb, senior vice president with Weitzman and a resident of River Place. He declined to share the names but said they are local, Austin businesses and not national chains.
“It’ll be 12 months before they’re open. They’ll announce when ready,” Babb said.
Babb believes Palo Verde will have no issues filling up despite vacancies in the three other retail centers within Steiner. For example, several storefronts in the Quinlan Crossing shopping center are empty, some have been empty for a long time.
“There’s the vacancies and I don’t have the answer to that. That’s the big question,” Babb said. “We do feel like — and several of us are working this from the development and/or marketing side — we feel like there is a lot of demand for various types of services.”
He said there may be several factors as to why there are vacancies including none of the other retail sites front Quinlan Park Road.
He believes that Palo Verde, 3810 N. Quinlan Park Rd., will have an advantage because it will front Quinlan and the estimated 18,000+ vehicles that pass by each day.
“I just don’t have an answer to why there’s vacancy… visibility issues, rents too high, wrong types of uses (businesses),” Babb said. He cited that maybe some reasons behind some of the vacancies could include that the business was not run well or it was not a concept people wanted.
But he said, “There’s got to be room for more restaurants there in Steiner Ranch given the population.”
The Steiner area is a large community, like a small town, with some 20,000 residents and “there seems to be a lack of services,” Babb added.
Also he said that with Austin growing and adding density and traffic, more people will want to stay closer to home, which he believes will benefit Palo Verde.
Another plus is that the demographics are strong, showing an average annual household income of $185,000 in the Steiner Ranch area.
“That’s a high number of disposable income for various spots in Austin,” Babb said.
The site will have space for some eight retail units including retail on the lower floor and office space on the second level. It will have two restaurant spaces on the second level with covered patios.
Babb has talked with potential tenants including some in fitness, coffee and title work. He thinks it would be a good location for other sectors including insurance, residential real estate, executive suites, tutoring, smoothie and beauty services like waxing and facials.
Retail space in general is facing a shift with online shopping.
The buzz word with retail space these days is experiential, where people can “go in and do something,” he said. “If you can buy it online, we’re not building space for those tenants.”
The site development permit was issued on the Palo Verde land in the spring of 2017 and approved for 55,000-square-feet. Plans include two driveways. Levy Architects is designing the project.
“The total build out will be 55,000-square-feet. We’re working on the largest building now,” Babb said. Two smaller pad sites are expected to be built in the future: one at approximately 10,000 square feet and the other at some 4,800 square feet.
“It’s going to be a really good looking project,” said Babb, of the venture that is named after the palo verde tree which is native to Texas.