Former 3M site undergoing massive, expensive renovations, Multi-family, retail and office space to come in phase two

Renovations at Highpoint at 2222 will include the former 3M innovation center which is slated to become a 58,000-square-foot amenity hub with a 75,000-square-foot atrium with outdoor pavilions, courtyards and games.

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

Highpoint at 2222 – the gigantic former 3M site at RM 2222 and River Place Boulevard – is undergoing extensive and costly renovations with a goal to attract a commercial tenant or tenants now, and to add housing, retail and office space in the future.

“We’re planning on spending hundreds of millions of dollars, definitely nine figures, to totally renovate and repurpose this campus.” said Mike McGlashan, Austin-based vice president of acquisitions and development at site owner Karlin Real Estate LLC.

The current renovations are phase one of a multi-phase, mixed-use redevelopment. The site has about 1.1 million square-feet of existing leasable space and sits on a 156-acre campus. 

Phase one is underway with transforming the existing nine buildings into 1.1 million of premium laboratory and office space as well as a tenant amenity hub, according to McGlashan.

“Future phases will incorporate multi-family, retail and office as well as an outdoor activities center and numerous campus amenities,” the Karlin website states, adding the development potential is 2.6 million-square-feet or more than doubling the square footage on site. 

“We’re definitely exploring development options. We realize we have a lot of extra acreage,” McGlashan said. The company is researching uses. “We certainly see the opportunity of future housing options in the area. That’s still in progress.”

“We don’t see it as a super dense setting,” McGlashan said. “We’re bullish on the opportunities out here but thoughtful about what we plan.”

Los Angeles-based Karlin acquired the former 3M site in June 2021. It owns some 4 million-square-feet across 13 properties in the region, according to sources.

Currently in phase one, Karlin is opening up the buildings and adding more windows after 3Ms three decades occupying the space it built and opened in the late 1980s.

“3M was largely a closed down campus. This is the first time that it will be open to the public… we’re opening up the campus,” McGlashan said. 

Karlin’s renovations at Highpoint at 2222 include both interior and exterior demolition and installation of a glass curtain wall system across the buildings.

“We expect to be complete by summer next year,” McGlashan said of the current renovations and repositioning. “Over the next 12 months is our vision.” 

What used to be a 3M innovation center is slated to be transformed into a 58,000-square-foot amenity hub with health, wellness, food and beverage offerings. 

After the building renovations, Karlin will focus on the outdoor amenities.

A 75,000-square-foot atrium with outdoor pavilions, courtyards and games is slated for the middle of the campus.

“We think one of the major advantages is the utility plant and the tunnels that feed the campus,” McGlashan said.

The utility plant located on the campus is expected to be a selling point because it can offer redundant power.

McGlashan shared that it was “in pretty good shape” when Karlin bought the property but they are modernizing and upgrading it and expect to be done by the end of 2022. 

Unique to the campus are underground tunnels that connect the utility plant to the main campus and run about a quarter-mile.

Large users such as semiconductor companies or automobile manufacturers, “we are reaching out to those types of tenants,” McGlashan said. 

A single tenant would be ideal, he said, but the campus can handle multiple tenants with its nine separate buildings. 

CBRE Group Inc., which has represented Karlin for the past decade, is in charge of leasing for the Highpoint at 2222.

CBRE has had “meaningful conversations with Fortune 500 companies,” Mark Emerick, executive vice president at CBRE, shared with Austin Business Journal.

Turner Construction Co. is the general contractor, Page is the architect, Design Workshop is the landscape architect and Blum Engineering is the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer. Walter P. Moore is the structural engineer and Garza EMC is the civil engineer.

“We envision a destination in Austin. Something the community is proud of and that we’re proud of,” he added. “We’re excited about this… We’re hoping to deliver something special.”

Leander ISD was able to run buses through the campus late last semester during drop off and pick up times but that is on pause while construction is underway.